Sunday, March 15, 2015

Personalizing the Design Process with 3-D Printers

“Today you are YOU, that is TRUER than true. There is no one alive, that is YOUER than you.” (Dr. Seuss)
When Dr. Seuss wrote this statement, he was speaking about the uniqueness of each individual and encourages us to be our own person.  This quest for individualism and personalization has grown even deeper in North American society since Dr. Seuss wrote this statement many years ago.  Thanks to Apple, we now have watches that track our individual heart rate, fitness levels and health.  The movie streaming company Netflix allows us to personalize our movie viewing experience and the Starbucks App can know what kind of coffee or latte we prefer before we walk in the door.  Technological advances are making it easier and easier to live our lives the way we want it to be.  With the growing popularity of the 3-D printer, student designers will be able to learn how to make products that cater to an every growing demand by individuals to make things personal.

Our school just recently purchased three 3-D printers for our Middle School Design Classes.  I have been planning out how I will introduce this emerging technology into my Design Classes for next year.  As is the case with any unit of study in design, it is necessary for students have the technical skills in order to use the design cycle to create a quality product.  We cannot assume students will be able to acquire these skills as they are working on the project.  So, before I embark on an Inquiry project or Design Challenge, I spend several weeks UPSKILLING.  For example, before we work with the Lego Mindstorm Robots on an open-ended design challenge, I work with students on how to use the motor block, the touch sensor, the light sensor and the ultrasonic sensor.  In the case of the 3-D printer, I plan on teaching students how to use the CAD programs Google Sketchup and TinkerCad.  Furthermore, I want to give them ample practice printing off objects and trouble shooting before we embark on a Real-Life design challenge. 

Here are some ways that I plan to introduce the use of 3-D printing into my Middle School Design Classes and give them the UPSKILLS necessary to feel successful on a more complicated design challenge (which is listed at the end).  *Please note that I do not plan to do each and every activity listed below before we start a specfic design challenge. 

Sample Introductory Skills

1.       Downloading a file from Thingiverse and adapt it in TinkerCAD or Google Sketchup

a.       Example 1, phone case that is then personalized with their name on it.

2.       Create your own simple/basic geometric object in Google Sketchup or TinkerCAD,and then print it off using the 3-D printer examples:

a.       Keychain

b.      Luggage tag

c.       A New Canadian $5 Coin

d.      A bubble Blower

e.      A Trophy for the Winners of:   Middle School Dodgeball or Soccer Tournament

f.        Die or Cube with words on each side

g.       New type of Lego Brick

h.      K’nex parts

3.       Design a puzzle in Google Sketchup or TinkerCad and then print off ex. Tangram or Picture Puzzle

4.       Design a Spinning Top in Google Sketchup or TinkerCad and print it off to see which will spin the longest

5.       Design a Hover Craft on Google Sketchup or TinkerCad and print it off (powered by a balloon) and see how far it will float on air

6.       Create a Custom Picture frame using Google Sketchup or TinkerCad and print it off

Sample Developing Skills

7.       Create a mold in Google Sketchup or TinkerCad and then print it off so that can then be filled with a material:

a.       Food mold

b.      Spray foam insulation mold

c.       Silicone mold

8.       Scan an object using the Matter and Form Scanner or 123D Catch, edit and clean up (maybe modify) and then print

This is a 3-D scan of my head created using 123D Catch
a.       Example- a statue, sculpture, animal, action figure, head of a person

b.      Toy improvement Project (My toy is Brocken, fix it)

9.       Create a Functional Object that might serve a need or purpose to solve a problem

a.       Ex. Children’s toy of a 1-2 year old?

b.      Ex. Toy for the Physically Challenged

c.       Ex. An Athletic support ex. Brace,

Sample Advanced Skills

10.   Create an object that contains more than one piece or part that must then be assembled

a.       Example:  create a simple car complete with axles, wheels that can be assembled

11.   Create a more Organic/curvy shaped object using Sculptris (3-D sculpting program) and then print off

a.       Ex. Superhero/Action figure

b.      An organism adapted for a certain environment Ex. Mars
Once students have developed the necessary technical skills and have practiced using the 3-D modelling programs (Google Sketchup and TinkerCad) and the 3-D printer, it is time to introduce a more open-ended Inquiry Project.

Inquiry Project- The Child Friendly Syringe - An inquiry into how we change children's feelings toward needles

One such inquiry project could be to have students focus on improving the health and wellness of children by using the Design cycle to investigate the issue of how to get children to passively receive needles by designing a Child Friendly Syringe. 

Big Ideas;  Personal and Cultural Expression: the way we express our feelings, Communication, (adaptation and Form)
Goal:  The adapted form of a product can change the way we express our feelings. 
Role:  You are a Medical Design Expert
Audience:   Your product will be evaluated by Nurses, Mothers/Fathers and small children under the age of 3 years old.
Situation:  The Canadian Nurses Association claims that one of the most difficult parts of their job is dealing with small children who have a fear of needles.  Although the association has some tips and tricks like putting numbing cream to partially freeze the surface of the skin before injecting medicine, sometimes the anxiety levels of small children are so high that it is difficult to get them to hold still.  If only there was an easier way to administer medicine within the syringe.
Product:  You will use Google Sketchup or TinkerCad to design and then 3-D print a working prototype of a more Child Friendly Syringe that might help small children overcome their fear of needles. 

Possible Resources

1. CAD Programs


Google Sketchup-

123D Catch-

NetFab- 3-D modelling program used to detect errors in 3-D objects and clean them up before printing,

Meshmixer-3-D modelling program used to detect errors in 3-D objects and clean them up before printing,

Sculptris- 3-D program to make more organic shapes,

2. Warehouse of Sample 3-D Designs that can be Printed

Makerbots Thingiverse-

3-D Downloadable and printable Materials-

3-D Lessons Plans, Project Ideas-

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I would like to recommend a 3D model search engine called Yobi3D. You can search with simple keywords and see the results in 3D. It's a useful tool for people who are looking for 3D files to print.