5 Benefits for 3D Printing in Education

Tips for Choosing 3D Modeling and Slicing Software BIQU 3D Printing

5 Benefits for 3D Printing in Education

1. Extensive usages

3D printing has a number of applications in education area, including primary and secondary schools, universities, libraries, technical colleges, and other educational settings.

For one thing, students can learn abstract and obscure knowledge from physical prototypes. For example, students can't figure out solid geometry. If you print a cube or a cone and put it in front of the students. They may feel and understand the solids better and grasp the complicated concept.Every teaching scenery could use this concept.

For another, 3D printing could be used in many subjects, such as math, geography, history, biology, chemistry, environmental science, polymer studies, architecture, mechanical engineering, design, and renewable energies. You can print traditional architecture to appreciate its beautiful structures and amazing inspiration.

Moreover, you can also print a volcano to study the volcanic structure and theory. 3D printing could help you roam around interesting textbooks, and make the dull and distant descriptions become visual and touchable objects. 

2. Financial friendly

Usually, the entry-level 3D printer and the hobbyist 3D printer are adequate. Above all, the machine size is about 3-6 inches, easy to be displayed, and stored in the classroom. The build volume are sufficient for general use. Additionally, the operation of desktop 3D printers are easier than industrial 3D printers. Maintenance of desktop is also more convenient and inexpensive.

The entry-level 3D printer's price range is from $100 to $400. And the hobbyist 3D printer price range is from $400 to $1,500. While the Industrial 3D printer usually costs more than $10,000. Let's take the FDM 3D printer as an example, if you usually use print 3 times a week, you may at least cost $2722 in the first year. This charge includes the machine, materials, replacements, etc. In the second year and beyond, you may cost around $2466 using an FDM 3D printer, including the replacement parts and upgraded kits. From the second year, you don't need to pay for the 3D printer machine again, unless you want to change it. While the Industrial 3D printer usually costs more than $10,000, around $150 for water and electric charge, and $100 to $3,000 for professional maintenance or technician guidance. 

Hence, the entry-level 3D printer and the hobbyist 3D printer are better choices for most students. However, mechanical engineering-related majors may need several industrial 3D printers for teaching. According to statistics, the students spend between $628 and $1,471 for books and supplies as of the 2021-2022 academic year. The paper books are only used for one student at a time and may be updated with some details annually. While the 3D models can be observed and studied by all class students at the same time and could be inherited grade by grade. In a way, these models have a higher utilization rate. Once the utilization rate has improved, the running expense of machines would be decreased. More than that, the learning approaches for students will add one.

3. Stimulate students' interest 

People who first see the 3D printer may feel curious and excited. This fresh feeling will stimulate students' learning and exploring. Practice can help your brain acquire more prolonged attention and concentration. When the students get in touch the 3D printing, they may be immersed in the creating world, and enjoy the fun of making everything hands-on. Students can use 3D models to verify and improve their assumption, such as a new physical concept, an equation, and a design drawing.

4. Enable innovation

One generation has one generation's advanced thought. Students are not stopping with purchasing goods, but also attempt to create objects. Plus, 3D printing can cultivating students' analytical thinking, and improve students' ability to solving problems. In Idaho, elk usually damage the crop, which cause a huge amount of economic loss. 

A team of students in Idaho attempt to fix the tough nut. They decide to use a 3D printer to create a solar-powered motion-sensing alarm to keep deer and elk fields out. First they visit the farm and know the situation of elk damaging the crop from rancher and farmer. Then they put forward an assumption to create a solar-powered motion-sensing alarm to keep deer and elk out of fields. In the process, they meet with the screws and latches placement, box combination, camera installation, model size, material chosen, etc. problems. Now this project is still ongoing. Students discover the problems and settle down the problems step by step, which subtly improve students' ability of solving matter.

5. Promote ecological sustainability

Above all, 3D printing could reduce plastic waste. Unlike traditional manufacturing, automatic additive manufacturing can deplete nearly 90% materials costs and cut a half of manufacturing energy. Thus, less plastic consumption means less garbage is discarded. 

Secondly, 3D printing use biodegradable materials. Filament in 3D printing are usually a sort of biodegradable material, which is made from corn, wood, soy, seaweed, or algae. And this material can apply to various industries, such as housewares, construction industry, auto industry, aerospace industry, etc. People can extremely give play to material. 

Thirdly, 3D printing also can recycle plastic to print. One way is to recycle the discarded plastic or reuse plastic scrap from factories. Another way is to make new polymer filaments, which are even stronger than the original. This process can utilize material many times and promote a circular economy.

Lastly, 3D printing help to reduce carbon emissions. Usually, products need to be shipped to other places for reprocessing or packaging. If manufacturers can complete a whole production process in one plant, it can reduces the exhaust emissions and the carbon footprint during the transportation.

"Students want to be 'doing' things. They spend all day reading, writing and answering questions with a lack of hands on experience. Students come alive when they get to physically 'play' and you see the fire ignite in them- this can only be a motivation for everything else they do."-- John Grimshaw, Fab Lab Warrington (UK)

"Using 3D Printing to bring designs to life often leads to young people recognising their own abilities in terms of innovation, design and manufacturing. This can inspire them to think beyond what they believed to be the limit of their own capabilities and find new career paths previously not considered."-- Michelle Chatterley, CREATE Education (UK)

"The ability to easily make an idea physical using 3D printing really excites students, and it sparks their creativity and promotes innovative thinking. They can then go on to iterate their ideas once they see the benefit that having a physical model in their hands for further evaluation provides."-- Steve Cox, AMFORi (UK)

5 Tips for 3D printing in the Classroom

A. Pay attention to the printing speed

In general, printing objects costs several hours, some complicated or huge stuffs even spend a few days. It’s okay to take a long time to print at home for individual, but in school, all the students wait to learn the 3D printing. A few 3D printers are not enough to distribute to the whole class of students. Therefore, it's necessary to improve the printing speed. Here are some suggestions for improving the printing efficiency. First, use 0.8mm nozzle to replace 0.4mm or 0.2mm. Second, increase the layer height, add it from 0.1mm to 0.2mm, etc. Third, improve the printing speed, it will help a lot. If you doesn't care about precision so much, suggest set 60 mm/s print speed, instead of 45mm/s. Fourth, the infill is also one of the critical factors. If the model don’t need to be structurally tough, 20% infill density is enough, than 50% or 100% solid infill.    

B. Keep learning, no matter the teachers or students

Everything seems difficult in the beginning. 3D printing knowledge may be dull and complex at the outset, yet it’s easy to go further study once you've mastered. No matter teachers and students, all should keep learning. From operational approaches of different types of 3D printers, such as FDM 3D printer, LCD 3D printer and SLA 3D printer, to various function boards to collaborate with printers, and to the methods of improving the printing accuracy. There are extensive knowledge base, waiting for people to mine. Learning never ends. Sometimes the user manuals are one of the most fundamental and the best learning materials. If you have any problems about BIQU products, please check the Support Center. If you have printing problem, suggest check the Knowledge base

C. Let your students fail

Failure is the mother of success. Sometimes students could learn more from the unsuccessful printouts than the successful ones. Because failures make people keep in mind. 

Eg.1: We all know that the retraction speed and retraction distance values should be different in Bowden extruder and direct extruder. In Bowden extruder, the retraction distance should be 3mm-7mm, and the retraction speed should be 45mm/s - 70mm/s. However, only if we make a mistake that we indeed realize the retraction peed is very important. Here is the model picture of wrong setting for retraction distance and speed, the model has been terribly stringing and oozing. 

Wrong retraction settings make string and oozing BIQU 3D Printing
Wrong retraction settings make string and oozing BIQU 3D Printing

Eg.2: Set the right printing temperature and build plate temperature. These temperatures must be inline with the filament demands. Usually, in PLA filament, the printing temperature is about 200℃ and build plate temperature is around 60℃, while in ABS filament, the printing temperature is about 260℃ and build plate temperature is around 100℃. If the temperature is too low, the filament may fail to stick tightly on the plate. And if the temperature is too high, the filament may severely string. Please look at the pictures below.

Too low temperature BIQU 3D printing

Too low temperature

Too high temperature BIQU 3D printing

Too high temperature

Sometimes words are pale, only practice can yield true knowledge. Please make a permission to make a flaw for your students, they will gain more from the failure experience. And some failure print pieces could be preserved to learn. 

D. Help them learn from the defeat

Mistakes can wake people up. However, if you find your students falling down the same place several times, you should help them fix the problem. Write some printing notes from those failure print pieces. Besides, you could also save more time and resource for printing is a long procedure, your students don't need to restart over and over again. There are two main factors that make modeling successful. One is bed leveling. Another is slicing settings, including printing temperature, print speed, retraction and support, etc. Suitable assistance could make people gain more progress. 

E. Provide periodic maintenance for the machine

Any machine needs care and maintenance, which makes it has a long service life. Here list some general caring tips you could take a reference.

First, regularly check the parts that are easy to be worn or damaged, such as spring steel plates, and repair or replace them in time. Second, makes the belts tensioning, and keep the moving part, axis, lubricated. Third, timely clean up the filament debris in the extruder, averting effecting the printing. Fourth, sort out the filament residues on the nozzle or the stains. 

The Future of 3D Printing in Education

3D printing not only could help people learn the subjects through visualized and touchable models, but also inspire people the innovation spirit and invention and creation. On one side, 3D printing could be utilized in every education phase, such as Primary School, Junior High School, Senior High school, Technical School, University, etc. On the other side, 3D printing could be applied on a number of subjects, such as Math, Physics, Biology, Circumstance, Medicine, etc. It has a broad prospect of development. The door to 3D printing is always open for everyone.

Where Can I Get more Information?

3D printers are hot selling around the world. Here are the BIQU Support Center, Community, and Download Center, where you can search about 3D printers' news or problems solution. If you have any questions, welcome to submit a request to our official website, we will soon settle your problem.

Support Center https://support.biqu3d.com

Community & Free 3D Model Files https://biqu3d.com/pages/community

Download the Firmware File https://biqu3d.com/pages/download

Submit a Request https://biqu3d.com/pages/submit-a-ticket

Now there are some general tips for you!

1) You could ask for some advice from a person whom you know, with a fund of professional 3D printer knowledge.

2) If you want to purchase BIQU products, welcome to view BIQU Store!

3) There are some labs, workshops, and maker spaces, where 3D printers are available for trial.

4) You should choose the fittest 3D printer on your own eventually. Considering your demands, work environments, and finances.

5) Whichever company or products you would like to select, please remember to know their sales service and technology support, and even the quality of the accessories and filaments, for they may be an expensive payment. 

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