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The Franklin Institute is innovating a brand new model for museums and science learning institutes.

The Franklin Institute, an iconic museum and science learning mainstay in Philadelphia, has teamed up with MakerBot to deliver the cutting edge technology of 3D printing to the city.

Not only does the Franklin Institute use its MakerBot 3D printers to develop engaging exhibits, like its current exhibition showing a wide range of uses for 3D printing, but it also offers training for teachers on how to introduce the technology to their classrooms, and make-a-thons for students to get a head start on 3D design and STEM skills.

Exhibit: 3D Printing the Future

With examples from a wide range of 3D printing applications (aerospace, fashion, medical) and hundreds of individual models across the exhibit, The Franklin Institute offers a crash course in the technology and its benefits.

To help support the exhibit, MakerBot donated a number of sample 3D printed quadcopter drones to test the use of 3D printers in a consumer electronics and industrial design setting.

3D Printed Quadcopter Propellers



> Printer: MakerBot Replicator+
> Layer height: .2mm
> Infill percentage: 3%
> Print mode: balanced
> Material type: PLA
> Print time: 2h55m
> Material usage: 23.26g

Makeathon: Students raced to 3D model and 3D print the fastest balloon-powered cars.

Attending students tested their STEM skills in a hands-on challenge, designing and 3D printing balloon-powered cars to be judged by speed and creativity. Participants worked in Tinkercad (K-12 education’s most popular CAD design tool) then learned the basics of 3D printing before applying everything in real time. Project-based STEM learning is quickly becoming the norm in modern curriculum and museum programming, and makeathons like this are an excellent way to combine several learning objectives in a structured, hands-on environment.

Sample Balloon-Car Bodies



> Printer: MakerBot Replicator+
> Layer height: .2mm
> Infill percentage: 3%
> Print mode: balanced
> Material type: PLA
> Print time: 1h59m
> Material usage: 34.41g

Training: Teachers and administrators need hands on 3D printing experience to confidently implement it, MakerBot and the Franklin Institute have them covered.

Local learning institutes like the Franklin Institute are offering growing sets of training and development programs aimed at empowering local school districts. For this training, 30+ teachers got a hands on session in basic 3D printing, then tested and evaluated one of the many 3D printing lesson plans on Thingiverse Education, the largest collection of 3D printing curriculum.

“This partnership at the core of MakerBot’s mission in education: bringing 21st century STEAM learning opportunities to students and educators through one of the country’s most iconic science education centers” explained MakerBot’s Education Manager, Mair DeMarco.

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