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3D Printing! Make Practically Anything the New-Fashioned Way

Summary (TL;DR)

3D printing is an amazing tool, in general and for education.  Learn about the 3D printing proces, how Maine educators are using it, and resources for 3D printing by checking out the resources below.

The Resources


Some things just change everything, and 3D printing is one of those things.  While human beings have always had a fantastic capacity to imagine and create, the combination of low-cost CAD (computer-assisted design) and 3D printing has created a world in which almost anyone can create almost anything with only two tools: a computer and a 3D printer.

For those who are unfamiliar with the 3D printing process, it is actually quite simple and can be broken down into four steps.

  • Step 1 – Imagine or identify an object (Design).
  • Step 2 – Use a computer to create a 3D model of your object (Computer-assisted Design).
  • Step 3 – Prepare your 3D model for 3D printing (Slicing).
  • Step 4 – Print your object (Print).

Using these four steps, if you can imagine it, you can (almost always) make it.

Due to its flexibility, 3D printing can be used to teach or extend almost any learning standard or project at any grade level, especially those in the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  Furthermore, the process of designing and printing 3D objects provides students with the opportunity to develop and showcase their skills as empowered learners, computational thinkers and innovative designers, skills that ISTE and others have identified as necessary for future workplace success.

With a State motto like “Dirigo” and a well-earned reputation for innovation and independence, it is not surprising that many Mainers and Maine educators have embraced 3D printing.  The ingenuity of Maine educators was on full display at Thomas College’s Center for Innovation in Education’s 3D Printing Expo on April 26, 2018. This event featured twelve presentations featuring projects and best practices for 3D printing from around the state showcasing the full spectrum of STEAM learning from bubble wands to bugs to prosthetics to printmaking and beyond.

If you are interested in learning more about the possibilities that 3D printing presents for education, Thomas College’s 3D Printing Expo webpage is a great place to start. On this page, you can access the slide decks of the Expo’s presenters showcasing their projects, tips, and tricks.

Additionally, you can learn more about specific tools for CAD and 3D printing by following the links below.

Finally, if you are interested in or already working with 3D printing, please connect with me via email or Twitter.  I’d love to hear about your work and support and learn from your experiences.  You can find my contact information in the footer below