By Coach Michelle | The team is using 3D printing as an element of their STEM project, and this morning a few of them met their technology teacher, Mr. Schmitz, in the lab at school to fire off prints of some models they made in TinkerCAD.
If you’ve wondered about 3D printing and have access to a printer, TinkerCAD is a simple and intuitive way to create models that can be printed on a wide range of common 3D printers. A few of the controls take some fiddling to understand, but there are great “how to” videos available to decrease the learning curve. Three of our team members have created models in TinkerCAD, and were ready to see what they’d look like as printed objects.
Printing a 3D object on the school’s MOD-t printers, made by New Matter, ended up being almost as easy as printing on my laserjet at home. New Matter’s print engine verifies that your model is printable, and that it fits on the printer’s base plate. If there’s a problem like an oversized object, the software tells you right away and offers some solutions.
At the “balanced” setting, which shoots for a happy compromise between print time and print quality, most of the team’s models took less than an hour each to print. The final products matched their visions, for the most part, but a few of their models will require some minor modifications back in TinkerCAD before they try printing again.
We’re lucky to have a well-equipped technology lab at the school that’s available for student use, and a knowledgeable and helpful teacher to work with the kids!