3D Printed Marble Display Stand, Designed by a 10-Year-Old

I had a terrific experience today. Yesterday evening, my 10-year-old son came to me with a drawing of a display stand he wanted to make for his favorite marbles (yes, it’s okay to laugh at that). The marbles were of different diameters, and he wanted the stand to have a square base with cylindrical towers to hold each marble. He had very specific instructions on how tall he wanted each tower to be.

So, he went off to bed, and I started to learn some 3D modeling (which I have never done before, so please don’t laugh at my almost non-existent modeling skills).

Here’s what he gave me (I added in marble measurements so I’d know how to size each tower):

Initial Sketch of Marble Display Stand
Initial Sketch of Marble Display Stand

And here’s what I modeled:

3D Model of Marble Display Stand
3D Model of Marble Display Stand

So, I started it printing and went to bed myself. When we woke up in the morning, this was waiting for us:

3D Printed  Marble Display Stand
3D Printed Marble Display Stand

Zachary (my son) arranged his marbles and found that everything fit perfectly!

 

3D Printed Marble Display Stand, with Marbles
3D Printed Marble Display Stand, with Marbles

The look on his face when he saw this was priceless! I could tell that this made a huge impact on him. He had an idea, sketched it out, and then we brought that idea into physical form – from his head to the real world in just a few hours.

My wife and I homeschool Zachary, and it’s clear that 3D printing is going to be an important part of his education. It’s no wonder that schools and libraries across the country are installing 3D printers. Much like kids in my generation grew up with computers, Zachary’s generation is going to grow up with 3D printing. The thought of having a new idea for an object and then printing out a physical model of it may seem somewhat magical to us, but it will seem very normal to our children. Over time, this will help us as a society to become co-creators, rather than mere consumers.

 

A time-lapse video of the print can be found here: http://youtu.be/x_CIL2l2pcs

And if for some strange reason, you want to print one of these for yourself, you can download the model here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:206589 (model credit: Zachary S.)

 

3 thoughts on “3D Printed Marble Display Stand, Designed by a 10-Year-Old”

  1. Hey I love the story. I hope to see 3d printers in my daughters’ schooling. What program did you use to model the marble stand?

  2. I love this idea. I’m homeschooling my 10 year old for the first time this year & looking for ideas to challenge his interest in tech & engineering. I’m going to present a “marble stand” as a design challenge & see what he comes up with. We can have it printed at the local library. Thanks!

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