Here at Me3D we have always shared our opinion on the importance of bringing 3d printers to schools around Australia and now with thanks to the national curriculum’s emphasis on design thinking, the number of 3d printers in Australian schools is rapidly increasing.
As a kid I loved getting hands on with different projects as most other kids do. Kids are typically enthusiastic about getting involved and trying new things, they like to venture into the unknown and let their imaginations run free. 3D printing allows teachers to let students get hands on and explore the technology and experiment with their learning.
3D printing is a great way of getting kids involved in STEM education as they are encouraged to use the technology to solves the problems of tomorrow. Students are using their imaginations to reach new levels.
The following article from The Australian Financial Review discusses the success of startups like Maker’s Empire and ourselves in relation to providing the best 3d printers and on-going support to schools.
Check out the original article below…
Featured in the Australian Financial Review
Michael Bailey | July 12 2017
The number of Australian households with 3D printers remains tiny, but they are booming in primary schools thanks to the national curriculum emphasis on design thinking, and two start-ups are fundraising to capitalise.
Me3D, a Wollongong-based maker of 3D printers and subscription software enabling kids as young as six to use them, finalised a $500,000 raise on Friday led by Sydney Angels. It will use the cash to expand its salesforce after selling 200 all-in-one printer packages to primary schools in 2016-17, turning over just above $300,000.
Meanwhile Maker’s Empire, an Adelaide-based maker of another subscription software for 3D printers, raised $800,000 in December (including a $400,000 Accelerating Commercialisation grant from the federal government), has just completed a rollout to 80 South Australian schools to take its paying total to 300 worldwide and is in due diligence for further investment from a US manufacturer of 3D printers.
This activity comes despite just 3 per cent of Australian households, or 300,000, owning a 3D printer in 2016 according to Telsyte, a research firm.
Telsyte puts consumer awareness of 3D printers at 75 per cent, but the low conversion of awareness to purchase can be explained by 3D printers still not being very useful for most households, according to Maker’s Empire co-founder Jon Soong.
“Most adults look at what comes out of a standard 3D printer today and aren’t that impressed, they’ll still prefer buying a vase at IKEA to printing one out, but for a kid all the utility is in the process rather than the print itself,” he said.
“They are blown away that they have conceived and made this thing by themselves.”
Mr Soong credited many of Maker’s Empire’s Australian sales to the continued rollout of the national curriculum, which mandates the teaching of systems thinking and design thinking.
“Nobody knows what the jobs of the next 10 or 20 years will be, and our kids will have careers that include several of them. 3D printing brings alive concepts that help them solve problems and adapt to change,” he said.
3D printers also made it easier to teach computational skills, another national curriculum requirement, claimed Me3D co-founder Matt Connelly.
Sydney Angels’ Alex McKillop said most schools were ill-equipped to teach 3D printing, and Me3D provided an all-in-one, ongoing solution.
Mr Connelly said Me3D was able to supply 3D printers priced competitively against Chinese-made competitors thanks to the relatively low overheads of its base at the University of Wollongong, south of Sydney, and its manufacturing partnership with a nearby disabilities enterprise, Greenacres Industries.
“Convincing them to give us the space and train up their workers for what is still low-volume manufacturing was a breakthrough for us,” said Mr Connelly.
“I couldn’t imagine it happening in a place with higher rents like Sydney.”