This chapter provides an overview of varied practical applications for 3D printing in the K-16 environment. These applications intertwine with and extend to teacher education in the university setting, impacting pre-service teachers and in-service teachers across disciplines. The concepts, successes, and failures also expand into the surrounding communities and regions to influence perceptions and initiatives. The activities and applications open minds and doors for career and education pathways that are enhanced by the endless creative possibilities and implementation of the process. Throughout the chapter, each concrete example will be followed by a broader impact and specific implementation that surpasses the lower levels of engagement often seen through simplified 3D printing activities. The information and resources are valuable to educators of all levels.
This work puts a spotlight on utilizing 3D printing technologies in mechanical engineering education. Starting from elementary courses such as geometric modeling to the more advanced courses such as Fluid Mechanics and Mechanics of Materials.
The authors of this work have extensive experience in 3D printing technologies which allowed them to implement it in many aspects of their daily education process. The process starts from geometric modeling courses by teaching students the procedures needed to develop the 3D model(s) of the prototypes and successfully transfer them from the computer screen into real part(s). The same course also introduces the students to many types of technologies, applications, and hands-on experience in 3D printing equipment.
Advanced courses such as Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics allowed students to 3D print their prototypes and test it in the wind tunnel making use of the similarity approach where it mimics a real-world situation. Such models included basic shapes such as a disk or a sphere and more advanced models such as car models, truck models, aerofoils and wings.
It has been noticed, from experience and continuous practice, that students become more excited and enthusiastic when allowed to use 3D printing technologies freely in their course work. The process itself is novel and innovative, and many students are thrilled for being involved in this area. It is expected that in the near future, a dedicated course will be assigned for 3D printing and scanning technologies, especially in mechanical engineering education.
This chapter offers vignettes and examples of Makerspace activities to illuminate the considerations and decisions inherent in the integration of 3D printing into very early childhood classrooms. The benefits of STEM tasks such as 3D printing for even very young students are evident in the areas of intellectual growth (reasoning, hypothesizing, predicting, generation and reflection upon ideas), social skills (leadership, sharing), and play. However, as is the case with most cutting-edge technologies, teachers are being encouraged to use the tools before research-based lessons are widely available. Research-based lessons should specifically link the activities to positive instruction techniques. This chapter provides practical ideas, as well as an explanation linking the lessons to research supporting a whole-child, integrated approach to early childhood learning and development.
3D prints have been increasingly used as substitutes for human tissue within medical and educational settings. Several studies demonstrated that anatomical structures could be 3D printed with the accuracy needed in anatomical education. These studies, however, focused mainly on the shape and did not take into account finer features such as texture and colour. This study aimed to investigate students’ test performance on real bones, commercial anatomical models and 3D prints produced on a desktop printer. A total of 211 students (divided into three groups) in a musculoskeletal anatomy course were asked to complete a practical test on vertebral anatomy. In the test, at each of the nine stations, a vertebra (real, model or 3D printed) was presented and students were asked to identify which vertebral region it belonged to, and a specific anatomical structure. The sequence of real, model and 3D printed bones presented along the stations was different for each group, to control for possible order effects. There were no significant differences in identifying vertebral regions or larger structures, such as transverse and spinous processes, across the three types of bones. However, significant difference was found in the identification of smaller structures, such as epiphyseal rim (p < 0.0005) and demifacets of thoracic vertebra (p < 0.05), with the highest percentage of correct answers for real bones, followed by 3D prints. The results suggest that students recognise anatomical structures equally well on real, model or 3D printed bones and that 3D prints are better than models for identifying smaller structures. This supports the view that some anatomical structures can be 3D printed with the accuracy required in anatomy education, even if produced on desktop printers.
3D printing technologies based on an open source model offer a tool for distributed manufacturing and individual customization of printed goods, diminishing the environmental externalities associated with the global transport of goods, the production of goods based on raw material extraction, and production waste. They also make it possible to address issues of sustainable development and the environmental impacts of industrial development simultaneously via innovative STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education, offering appropriate technologies for use in non-industrial locales. This chapter reports on a university course where students built their own 3D printers, used them to print items, learned about how 3D printers can help minimize the environmental externalities of production and address issues of environmental sustainability, and were introduced to social issues related to inequality of access to material goods. Students were asked to participate in a survey and a follow-up interview about their experience in the class. Results suggest that this course encouraged students to think about the environmental benefits of distributed manufacturing as well as about the human dimensions of sustainability-related to global inequalities of access to manufactured goods. The course also helped students feel like they could work to address environmental problems and social issues in their future engineering careers. Using 3D printing technologies in an active learning STEM education environment can engage engineering students with both the environmental and social issues that will shape the challenges they face as future industrial designers and manufacturers.
Research findings reveal that teachers lack adequate preparation to integrate 3D printing technology into their classrooms. The primary objective of this study is to investigate the perception of the instructors and Emirati pre-service teachers on the integration of 3D printing into teaching and learning. The study also aims to identify issues and challenges faced during the implementation process, and proposing some fundamental recommendations to overcome these issues and challenges. This study implemented a pedagogical model in preparing the Emirati pre-service teachers through the merging of 3D printing in an integrated unit plan. The participants of the study were four Emirati pre-service teachers and two instructors who were involved in the integration of 3D printing process. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect the data. The results revealed that the Emirati pre-service teachers enjoyed the experience and they appreciated the pedagogy used to integrate 3D printing into teaching and learning. The findings, on the other hand, indicated that the pre-service teachers learned various knowledge and skills and they showed a strong intention to integrate 3D printing in their classrooms in the future. In addition, Emirati pre-service teachers and their instructors faced some challenges during the integration process such as time, lack of technical knowledge and skills, and inadequate training. The participants strongly recommended the integration of 3D printing in preparing future teachers and suggested different approaches to achieving this integration.
In this chapter, we present a background for the 21st-century skills needed to prepare an innovative workforce to face the challenges of the future. We also present a rationale for integrating science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the classroom, as well as examples of applying three-dimensional (3D) printers and computer-aided design (CAD) in a STEM-integrated project. These examples represent the work of STEM educators, who are proving that 3D printing and CAD design are indispensable tools in STEM education. The examples involved (a) motivating learners to become innovating agents of change by using 3D printing and CAD design through e-NABLE, an altruistic project, and (b) motivating students to develop global awareness through global collaboration using 3D printing and CAD technologies through the development of a RC car and quadcopter student-lead-project. The chapter includes a Design-Thinking general model to consider how STEM integration may include global collaboration, 3D printers, and CAD.
Lepidodendron, a Carboniferous fossil plant 300–250 million years old, is the inspiration for a transdisciplinary team research project focused on the worldwide origins of dragon folklore. The fossil plant exhibits the reptilian scale pattern and specimen size that help explain consistencies in outward, anatomical dragon descriptions across cultures. The research team 3D scanned and printed Lepidodendron fossils in order to examine their hypotheses on the axis growth and development, folklore-natural history connections, and to foster the pedagogical development of exhibits for sight-impaired museum visitors. In addition, the same scans have inspired numerous art installations. A 30-foot dragon, designed using 3D printing technology and containing 3D printed media, is in development to showcase an ancient dragon’s description as it correlates to Lepidodendron. The resultant products are part of a research collection that reaches numerous diverse audiences, people who have been brought into contact with science through the creative use of 3D printing technology.
The earliest inventions informing additive manufacturing development were in the 1960s, with its first commercialisation as stereolithography in 1987. However, it was the expiry of the fused deposition modelling patent that led to a rapid expansion in use of the technology in education in the last decade, as low-cost desktop 3D printers flooded the market. Whilst advocates for the democratisation of making have expounded the virtues of the newly accessible technology, popularly known as 3D printing, and made claims for its use across a myriad of applications, there has been a lack of clarity between what can be produced on a desktop printer as opposed to within an industrial additive manufacturing facility. In addition, the skills required to produce quality outcomes on desktop or industrial equipment tend to be downplayed. As a result, there has been a degree of disillusionment in education, with 3D printing relegated to the role of additional workshop tool, useful for prototyping, rather than fulfilling any expectations for facilitating industry 4.0 and distributed manufacturing. This chapter considers this situation a decade on from the initial launch of desktop printers and provides a position for asserting the importance of high-end additive manufacturing in learning and exploration of service bureaus to support learning by making in higher education.
Five years ago, three-dimensional (3D) printing technology captured the attention of the education sector as an emerging technology with the potential to facilitate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education through learning by doing. However, adoption rates are low, and the technology’s visible effects on teaching and learning are minor. Despite the slow uptake of 3D printing technologies in schools, meaningful observations of the benefits and challenges involved in integrating these technologies into curricula could provide suggestions for further opportunities. Focusing on issues identified in Korean schools’ implementation of 3D printing education, therefore, this chapter evaluates the implementation of digital fabrication education initiatives, including whether they have revolutionized teaching and learning in the K–12 context, and provides ideas for future development.