3D Printing for Education Grows in Europe, Latvian School Opens First MakerBot Lab in Baltics

Rainis Secondary School No.6, a high school in Liepāja, Latvia just launched the most advanced 3D printing, scanning, and modeling lab geared towards education in the Baltic states. Their space features nine MakerBot 3D printers, two haptic devices for CAD, and two 3D scanners.

“By offering 3D printers in our school, we expect to increase student interest in the sciences and technical drawing. We’ll be able to offer training that starts with digital modeling and ends with a physical object,’’ Says school director Kārlis Strautiņš.

Valentin Storz, General Manager of MakerBot Europe, told students and faculty at the lab’s opening ceremony that education must keep up with technological development. He emphasized this is especially important at a time when the world’s leading economists predict that 65% of today’s students will work in jobs that don’t currently exist.

Local MakerBot reseller and the largest Latvian 3D printing company, Baltic3D, attended the launch as well. Baltic3D representative Didzis Dejus predicts that “within five years, most of the world’s schools will have a 3D printer – but in that five years, some schools will emerge as being especially good at integrating the technology into the educational process and curriculum.”

Implementing the sort of next generation design and manufacturing processes (i.e. smart factories) that Europe has come to refer to as “Industry 4.0” won’t be a matter of country size or wealth, it will be a matter of speed. MakerBot is excited to see that Liepāja and Latvia as a whole are moving fast, setting an inspiring pace and example for the region.