3D Printing enhances Education – A Case Study
Dave White has been teaching Design and Technology for 27 years. He has always been keen to ensure his students have access to the latest technologies but until recently 3D printing was something his budget would not stretch to. Then Bits From Bytes came along.
“The BFB machines are invaluable tools in the classroom. Using the RapMan and now the BFB 3000 allows me to demonstrate the principles of 3D printing but even more importantly it allows the students to experiment with their own designs and ideas using these machines.”
“Until now the cost of 3D printing has been prohibitive for schools but it is vital that students are able to learn about the processes used in modern industry. We have always tried to ensure students are kept up-to-date with modern production techniques but in the past this was entirely theoretical. At last it is possible for schools to use the latest CAM machines as well as CAD.”
In class, Dave’s students from age 11 to 18 have designed and made everything from mp3 players to electrical plugs for people with disabilities, to fittings for flat-pack movable kitchen units. “The great thing about the BFB machines is that they are truly affordable, the material costs are low so students can afford to go through the iterative process of design, printing and then refining their ideas”
“It is fantastic that BFB have taken on-board the need for students to be able to access their machines. Their open designs allow students to understand exactly how they work; too many similar products are enclosed in a steel cabinet which prevents the student from seeing the mechanisms involved. Understanding that modern technologies are not ‘magic’ processes is vital for the next generation of engineers.”
Dave has also been keen to share his ideas with others. He has established an Education thread on the BFB forum and has put together resources that stretch across the curriculum from Geography to Science and from Architecture to Mathematics. These resources are freely available for download from the BFB Wiki pages. To keep track of Dave's activities with BFB 3D Printers, you may also visit his (unofficial) blog at rapman-education.posterous.com