Rapid prototyping is all the rage as 3D printers pop up in companies and schools everywhere, but teaching about it has been a go-it-alone journey. Until now.
3D printing, which creates three-dimensional objects by laying down successive layers of material, is becoming widespread in engineering and manufacturing for rapid prototyping and production. Considering this, giving students an opportunity to understand the technology is important for the future of industry. So Afinia, a supplier of desktop 3D printers, teamed with Pitsco Education, a provider of STEM learning solutions, to deliver a unique offering: an affordable 3D printer combined with curriculum and activity materials.
"We've talked for years about having something in our catalog that involves 3D printing," said Pitsco R&D Manager Paul Uttley. "We talked about producing a machine, but it simply wasn't realistic. This opportunity with Afinia gave us a jumping-in point."
With its reasonable price tag, desktop size, industry-leading one-year warranty, telephone support, and ease of setup and use, Afinia's H-Series is an award-winning 3D printer for education. It won Make magazine's 2012 Ultimate Guide To 3D Printing contest categories of Easiest Setup, Easiest To Use, and Best Overall Experience, and it is compatible with both Macs and PCs. It arrives classroom-ready with all of the software, tools, and supplies needed to "get printing" in about 30 minutes.
John Westrum, Afinia's Vice President and Education Group Leader remarked, "Successfully delivering STEM curricula is one of the most important things that an educator can do. Having a 3D printer in a classroom is only part of the solution. Integrating one with first-class STEM curriculum really gets the students engaged and fuels their innovative spirit."
Pitsco's 3D Printing: Designing and Prototyping Curriculum provides three weeks of hands-on lessons with a strong focus on engineering processes and the Next Generation Science Standards. These products, as well as activity materials, create the foundation of several 3D printing packages offered by Pitsco.
Pitsco R&D Engineer Jason Hill, who created the CAD models for the curriculum, said that though teachers can find CAD designs for their students to print, this doesn't teach any concepts. And lesson plans for this technology are difficult to find.
"We looked for curriculum just to see what was out there, but we didn't really see much at all," Hill said. "With our package, they are able to clearly demonstrate the reasons for using a 3D printer. The iterative design process really comes to life with this curriculum. This gives them a very good resource for really teaching about 3D printing and not just printing parts."
To learn more about the 3D Printing: Designing and Prototyping packages, visit www.pitsco.com.
Afinia, a division of Microboards Technology LLC, is a leader in specialized printing solutions. Their 20-year history includes leadership in disc duplication and labeling and, most recently, 3D Printing. More information can be found at www.afinia.com, Facebook, Twitter, or by phone at 1-888-215-3966.
Pitsco Education is the leading provider of age-appropriate, student-centered K-12 STEM learning solutions. Our standards-based curriculum, products, equipment, and materials promote student success through positive and challenging learning experiences, and our hands-on solutions teach core concepts and career skills in science, technology, engineering, and math.