3D printer for Middle School education, which one?

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Robert C
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3D printer for Middle School education, which one?

Post by Robert C » November 29th, 2018, 1:04 pm

I teach Computer Applications and Robotics at a low-income middle school. My principal sent a request for grant ideas out to the teachers and I responded with this:
As you know, I have recently experimented with 3d printing in my classroom. The engagement level has been very high and the lessons have improved the students understanding of graphics in 3d spaces. This fits into my curriculum in the design and graphics area that also contains Photoshop.

As an experiment, with one group of students I directly from Introduction to Photoshop into the selecting and manipulating objects in Photoshop chapter, as has been done in the past. This is the group you observed yesterday. With the other group, I placed a 3D design lesson between those two lessons. The second group has shown a significantly greater ability and understanding in the selecting and manipulating objects in Photoshop chapter.

The 3D printer we are using is my personal printer. It was brought in to test the student interest and engagement before requesting a school purchase. A 3D printer grant would allow greater access to a printer for student projects. This would address the students biggest point of disappointment, in that not every student can print their work. A school printer and supplies would go a long way toward ensuring that every student can leave the class with a printed work.

A school 3D printer would also contribute toward ensuring that this engaging portion of the class remains a portion of the class, and not just one of my, curiosity motivated, experiments.

To be clear, the experiment was a success. I believe that having a 3D printer would increase student engagement and understanding.
The principal's response was to ask me which printer.

I am currently using a Creality CR-10 mini. Things that I think should be improved: Firstly, auto levelling would be great. As it is, whenever I remove the glass bed, for cleaning, it seems that I need to re-level it. The other thing is a cabinet. That isn't a great issue, I just think it should have one. At the present I have it positioned behind my desk and I have explained to the students why they shouldn't touch it while it is working.

Ideally, I would like to produce: some small jewellery (pandering or not, it connects with the girls), scale model houses, lego-like bricks, and there is interest in building a small scale model of the school (this would probably be done in several sections so that several classes can be involved).

I have looked at this site and the recommendations seem to be the Afinia H400 / Up Mini 2, and the FlashForge Inventor IIS. This site has several recommendations and, from its list, I would probably recommend the Dremel Digilab 3D45 Idea Builder, mostly due to name familiarity.

Can anyone else recommend a 3D printer that would be appropriate for a middle school?



I do realize that this is an odd first post; Hi everyone, I'm Robert.

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LePaul
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Re: 3D printer for Middle School education, which one?

Post by LePaul » November 29th, 2018, 1:19 pm

I'd go with an Ultimaker 2+ You could see if there are any educational discounts available by inquiring with either Ultimaker or Fabrc8 (USA manufacturing facility for Ultimaker).

reibuehl
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Re: 3D printer for Middle School education, which one?

Post by reibuehl » November 29th, 2018, 1:30 pm

Ultimaker 2+ is a good recommendation I would say due to their reliability. You have fairly low operating cost since you can use any 2.85mm filament and get replacement parts fairly easy. I would maybe add a acrylic door to it, there is a number of designs for such doors on Thingiverse and Youmagine.

The Dremmel locks you in into their eco-system as far as I know and you need to use their filament. The Ultimaker 3 and 5 are in my opinion not worth the extra high price compared to the UM2+.
Reiner.

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LePaul
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Re: 3D printer for Middle School education, which one?

Post by LePaul » November 30th, 2018, 9:50 am

Exactly why I suggested it...let the kids see how to print instead of dealing with making those cheaper ones print reliably!

I love my CR-10S and the other China printers have their pros and cons....but for a student's first taste into 3D printing, I'd opt to introduce them into something built to print great out of the box

Robert C
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Re: 3D printer for Middle School education, which one?

Post by Robert C » November 30th, 2018, 7:33 pm

Thanks, I realize that you have already provided a solid recommendation. However, the MakerBot Replicator + has been mentioned to me. My biggest concern is if Generic (low cost) PLA will work in it. We are working on a grant for the printer, but the supplies will be on us.

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LePaul
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Re: 3D printer for Middle School education, which one?

Post by LePaul » November 30th, 2018, 11:59 pm

Filament for use in the Ultimaker/2.85 printers isn't expensive. Hey I bought 3 rolls for IC3D 2.85 filament for under $45

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