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Why institutions should adopt 3D printing

With digital development, new technological tools are introduced in our lives every day, changing the way people interact and work. Considering the education sector, technologies have been beneficial for both students and lecturers in different ways; in this post, we focus on a particular technology, 3D printing, and analyse how it is having a positive impact in education.

3D printing is an innovative tool offering individuals the possibility to create physical objects from digital models. This technological tool was launched in the 1980s and, over the years, it has been improved, offering people amazing results and allowing them to design and create objects of different shapes. The realisation of objects can be processed using different methodologies. However, 3D printing usually consists of six steps:

  • Development of the file
    To create a 3D object, individuals need to originate its virtual design. This can be done by using a Computer Aided Design (CAD) programme that allows users to set the object dimensions and see how it will look like.

  • File conversion
    Once the file is created, people should convert it into a specific file format depending on the type of printer they are going to use.
  • File manipulation
    Before printing the object, users need to set the orientation and size of the object.
  • Preparing the printer
    Once the file is ready, individuals need to make sure the 3D printer is set up correctly; in this context, it’s crucial the polymers, binders and materials are ready to produce a successful object.
  • Print
    Once individuals have launched the printing process, they have to wait to see their results as the object is composed of different layers.
  • Final object
    When the printing process is finished, it’s important the objects are managed carefully in order to avoid to damage them.

 

According to research, 3D printing is having a positive impact on both students and lecturers within the classroom. By using 3D printing, teachers are able to engage more with students, creating more fun activities and not relating only on textbooks. In addition, by using 3D printing students enhance their creativity, having the possibility to create their own objects by using different materials; this way they solve problems in a more creative way and better retain concepts. Also, this technology has helped educators to boost their collaboration, flexibility and confidence along with having more engaging relationships with learners. Furthermore, students are able to actively interact during their class, having the possibility to actively engage with the object. Finally, 3D printing permits students to learn about new technologies; this is a fundamental aspect as digital devices are influencing our society on a daily basis and technical skills will be required in almost every job in the future.

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