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Making 3D printing in education a reality

In this three-part series, we look at various aspects to consider when adopting 3D printing in the classroom.

Part 1: Safe & secure access to 3D printing  

Many of our customers tell us that they started with do-it-yourself 3D printer kits before purchasing YSoft be3D eDee, which is designed specifically for education. These kits were typically assembled by the school’s computer or tech club members. However, when looking to expand use to a larger group of students, the schools realized these types of printers could not satisfy the need for safety, ease of use/accessibility and security. Let’s look at each of these concerns.

3D Printing - Safety

Safety is an obvious and very important consideration. The printing area of DIY kits and most off-the-shelf 3D printers are exposed. Because 3D printing involves heating elements that can reach 220 degrees centigrade or higher and moving parts, the risk of injury is too high. Choosing a 3D printer with an enclosed print chamber protects students from both heat and moving parts. Further, choosing a 3D printer with an automatic, lockable door means the printer cannot be opened while it is in operation.
To find out more about keeping your students safe while 3D printing read our blog article ‘3D Printing: Giving your students a safe experience’.

3D Printing – ease of use & accessibility

To derive the benefits 3D printing – engaged students, better understanding – 3D printers need to be easy to use and accessible, part of the daily learning experience. Locking them away and surrounding it in processes to manage and police its use is going to seriously hinder its value in the classroom. At the same time, educators cannot constantly oversee students use or be present during the entire printing process – which can take hours. With DIY kits, constant calibration is needed, requiring supervision during the printing in case things go awry. Once again, these concerns drive educators to YSoft be3D eDee.
Any student that can use a computer – and most are doing this at very early ages, can easily learn the three steps to 3D printing with eDee: download an existing 3D model file or easily your own; open the file in DeeControl, our layering software; log into the printer to start printing. Once the printing starts, the student can go on to do other things. The student can receive periodic emails showing a snapshot of the printing’s progress and a final email to notify that the printing is done.
To log into the printer, a student swipes their school ID badge, or alternatively, enters a PIN. In this way, the school can control who has login rights and can monitor what is being printed. This means that the 3D printers can be out in the open in the classroom or in a 3D printing lab so that students can easily access it outside of scheduled class time. Many schools encourage students to use 3D printing on personal projects as part of learning technical skills that will be valuable in their future careers.


3D Printing - security

Making your 3D printers easily accessible to students through a secure login also handles a school’s security concerns. No one is using the 3D printer who shouldn’t be and those who need it can freely access it. The 3D model itself is secure because the door unlocks only for the print job owner.
To find out more about 3D printing security, read our blog article 3D Printing: Managing secure access.
The above concerns are good reasons to think about a 3D printing solution designed specifically for education. Safety, ease-of-use and accessibility with built-in security are concerns in every school.

To learn more about 3D printing in education, read our eBook 3D printing in your school.
To find out more about YSoft Be3D eDee hear from 2 teachers in the video below, download our brochure or explore our website.

In part two of this series, we look ways to encourage 3D printing use in your school. Finally, in part three, we will explore the costs of 3D printing and ways to recoup costs or use grants to help fund the use of 3D technology in your school.

Do you have a 3D printer in your classroom? Share your experiences, comments or questions you may have about 3D printing.  

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