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):
And here’s what I modeled:
So, I started it printing and went to bed myself. When we woke up in the morning, this was waiting for us:
Zachary (my son) arranged his marbles and found that everything fit perfectly!
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.)