The majority of schools and school boards who contact Javelin are new to 3D printing technology and are looking for our experience to help them get started. Our guidance, industry experience and technical support is something you cannot get from a big box outlet or by simply ordering a 3D printer over the web. It’s easy to get a quote from these sources but you likely will not receive the advice you may need to make a successful decision.
When I’m advising educators on what 3D printer they should implement, it is most important to first understand their goals and visions of integrating 3D printing technology into their student’s curriculum.
Planning Ahead for Best Results
To best help our clients succeed with their new 3D printing technology it is important for Javelin to understand the following:
- What are your goals for 3D printing?
- What are you looking to improve in your program(s)?
- Is this for elementary school or high school?
- Is the 3D printer for a specific technology, arts course or for a high-skills majors program?
- Will the printer be used for after-school programs – like First Robotics or a new 3D Printing Club?
- Does the teacher have experience with 3D printers and/or 3D CAD software?
In some instances, board staff would like to have a printer in every school but they have a limited budget so they may decide to run a 3D printer at the board level as a service bureau. For this purpose, a commercial grade printer like our Stratasys uPrint SE or SE Plus would be beneficial. Alternatively, if they are looking to easily rotate printers to various schools for 4-6 week periods, our MakerBot Mini or Replicator Fifth Generation printers are best suited for this application.
Instead of purchasing a printer for every school, create a plan so that every student has access to a 3D printer. This saves the school board money while still giving students access to 3D printing technology.
Choosing the Right 3D Printer
The more we know about your education goals, the better we are able to recommend a printer best suited to meet (or exceed!) your school’s expectations. Javelin offers many 3D printer options, including MakerBots & Stratasys 3D printers. Stratasys offers a powerful range of 3D printing materials, including clear, rubberlike and biocompatible photopolymers, and tough high-performance thermoplastics. This material variety lets you maximize the benefits of 3D printing in your school.
3D printing allows students to “fail early & fail often” – students can test their design, experiment and try again if their results were not satisfactory. This is a great learning experience that encourages persistence and teaches students to think outside the box. However, like most products, you get what you pay for – make sure your printer doesn’t “fail early & fail often” – check out our safe, reliable and robust MakerBot & Stratasys 3D printers.
Our next education blog post will focus on health & safety concerns and where to install your 3D printer. Stay tuned!
For more information please contact us or call Paul Sesto — 3D Printing Education Specialist at (905) 815-1906 ext.259.
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