PrintrBot in Action

The kids have finally worked out most of the kinks and have the PrintrBot working!

The final challenge was levelling the z-axis, which was loosely attached with zip ties on the initial install. With a bunch of test prints the kids caught their mistakes though and quickly took apart and reassembled the z-axis (the video was made before they fixed it so you may notice that the print isn’t level). I have been impressed with the amount of learning that has taken place in the whole process of building this device. It is super labor-intensive, but a great, hands-on project with the tangible reward of a working 3D printer to show for all of the work.

In my next post I’ll describe how we are going to manage the printers at NWS. I worked closely with the students to devise a system that was fair and manageable, but I’m certain that there will be certain bumps in the road as we roll it out. Stay tuned!

3D Printers in the Haüs

I’m so excited! This week we received our first two 3D printers. We went with two different models:

1. MakerBot Replicator

2. PrintrBot Maker Simple (Kit)

I’m excited about both models. The MakerBot was so simple to use that we were able to make our first print within 45 minutes of opening the box. Although printing was fun, the PrintrBot kit has been far more rewarding. When it came in I told our interest group, and within the first few hours I had a crowd of students at my desk. They had me print out the assembly instructions, then started searching around campus for the tools they were going to need. Later that day they started assembling the machine in shifts. It is an ongoing process, but I feel like it is far more meaningful than our experience with the MakerBot so far. Although the prints will eventually be smaller, and the machine is only made from laser-cut wood, it is giving them the ability to understand how the machine actually works. They are working in a team and building the printer by following a complex set of instructions. These are skills that they will need in the future, and they are developing them by pursuing their own interests.

It seems like our printers are going to be in high demand. In our next EdTech Committee meeting we’ll need to discuss:

  • How we will monitor and support the use of the printers
  • Our overall capacity for printing – how many printers do we need?
  • The cost – monthly/yearly
  • The environmental impact of all the printing
  • How this will impact course offerings

MakerBot Display PrintrBot Assembly

Happy Thought: I love it when people are willing to try new things!

Happy Thoughts are shorter blog entries that convey things the make me happy for one reason or another!

Nothing is more awesome as an educator than working with a faculty that is willing to try new things! Ever since I arrived at NWS my colleagues have been open-minded and excited to learn about all of the new features and challenges that we’ll face with our transition to Office 365. One big highlight from today was that two teams of teachers, the 6th and 9th grades, offered to pilot using Sharepoint sites to centralize their documents and calendars. It is early, but the results are promising so far!