5 Student Designs That Prove 3D Printing is Reshaping Education

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When MakerBot Thingiverse passed the one million uploads mark this past October, it became clear that professional engineers and designers aren’t the only ones skilled in 3D design. In fact, thanks to the many modeling programs available, 3D design is getting so easy that some of the most innovative uploads are coming from K-12 students. Just like a 12-year-old Mark Zuckerberg went from writing a private messaging application to creating Facebook, any one of these student 3D designers now has the skill to design tomorrow’s game-changing innovation. Here are five incredible examples of student designs available now on Thingiverse:

1. Medication Bottle Opener by sauer


Matt, a 17-year-old student, designed a medication bottle opener for persons with disabilities. Realizing his father, who suffers from MS, was unable to open traditional pill bottles, Matt set about designing an inexpensive and user-friendly pill bottle opener. He has been contacted by several sales representatives who now want to commercialize his design.

2. Miniature Colosseum by utechlab


This model of the Colosseum is part of a 3D design workshop in Greece. Teams of students, ages 13 to 17, create famous European landmarks. The workshop, hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Athens, teaches students how to 3D model, and then 3D prints all of their designs. Other designs include Big Ben, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Eiffel Tower. Each design is added to a 3D printed map of Europe.

3. 3D Printed Fork for Parkinson’s Sufferers by Ideas-Illuminated

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Brian, a 16-year-old who aspires to become an engineer specializing in additive manufacturing, wants to improve the lives of others through 3D printing. Taking inspiration from his grandfather, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, Brian designed and printed a fork that can be used by people of any hand strength. Seeing that many utensils for persons with disabilities were poorly designed and overly expensive, Brian used his modeling skills to iterate and improve upon an existing design.

4.  3D Printed Music Box by zZcube


Yuval, a 15-year-old from Israel, modeled and printed a working music box. Yuval became interested in 3D design a year ago, and has now began studying it in school two years ahead of other students in the curriculum. The music box is designed to play a specific tune, and, amazingly, produces sound from its plastic body.

5. Educational Model of A Bacteriophage by Aidan

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13 -year-old Aidan is self-taught 3D designer and credits having access to a 3D printer as the spark that made learning design easy. An active member of Thingiverse, Aidan designs have been widely downloaded by the community. In one instance, a teacher printed his model of a bacteriophage to help blind students understand the concept of bacteria.

With MakerBot 3D Printers in more than 5,000 schools throughout the U.S., the MakerBot 3D Ecosystem provides a range of resources for educators which can be found on the MakerBot Education Resource Center. MakerBot in the Classroom, for example, is a handbook with a wide variety of ideas, activities and projects to get started with 3D printing.