Tinkercad Explorations

Recently, I was lucky enough to borrow a 3D printer from Catholic Education SA for a few weeks, and explore the big, wide world of 3D design and printing.  I used the Tinkercad free online website – https://www.tinkercad.com/

It’s easy to use and kid-friendly.  I did a few lessons in my own time, and then my learners signed up, and we got creating.  One thing about kids and technology – they have no fear.  Within a couple of lessons, they were creating weird and wonderful designs, and wanting me to print them all!

We agreed on a project, and the printer started printing.  Then, I got a little over-excited, and expanded the program to include the rest of the school!  That’s right, all 186 students had a go on the Tinkercad software, and at least half ended up with a small printing to take home.

What was the verdict?  It was fantastic!  The printer – slow as it was – became an instant drawcard during recess and lunch eating times. Students would take it in turns to sit in the chairs in front of the printer (not stepping a toe over the masking tape line on the floor!) and watching layer after layer print out.

The printings – while small – were a source of pride and a wonder to behold.  We learnt so much about 3D shapes, measurement, ICT and manipulations.  I can definitely recommend it, and a 3D printer has been added to my school technology wish-list!

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  1. The Tinkercad article is great. We are using the same program to design circuit cars which we will then create as part of our STEM curriculum this year. Just wondering how easy it is to print their models to the 3D printer?

    • Hi Brooke,
      Thanks for your feedback. I’d love to see the circuit cars that your learners are designing! Printing is straightforward, but quite time consuming. The printer is quite slow, and unlike a paper printer, the first item has to be removed before a second item can be sent to print. (I forgot once, and it wasn’t pretty!) This means that I ended up taking the printer home during the holidays in order to catch up. It was well worth it though. Good luck!

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