Best STEM Education Resources for Digital Fabrication in 2022

In order to ensure that students have access to the best STEM education resources for digital fabrication in 2022, it is important for educators to keep up with the latest trends in education. Additionally, it is important for educators to be aware of the different types of resources that are available so that they can be sure to provide their students with the best possible learning environment and opportunities to expand their knowledge.

As digital fabrication technology continues to evolve, it’s becoming more and more important for students to be familiar with the basics. By teaching students about digital fabrication technology, we can give them a leg up in the workforce and help them become more comfortable with using tools like 3D printers, laser cutters, and vacuum formers that they may encounter in future STEM-based careers.

Oftentimes, younger students have no idea they are even interested in STEM subjects until they are presented with an opportunity to use digital fabrication tools of some kind that unlock those “ah-ha” moments and help them to realize what they are capable of.

There are a variety of ways to go about teaching students about digital fabrication technology. One way is to introduce them to the basic concepts and principles behind the technology. Once they have a firm understanding of how it works, you can then move on to more hands-on activities.

Another way to approach this is to start with some simple projects that they can complete using digital fabrication technology. This will give them a chance to get familiar with the tools and see how they can be used to create real-world objects.

No matter which approach you take, it’s important to remember that many students are kinesthetic or tactile learners (they learn best by touching and doing things vs. listening to lectures or reading about them), and putting new tools and technology into their hands is often an eye-opening experience for student and teacher alike.

Below, we have listed a variety of great STEM Education Resources in the classroom for those who currently have, or are looking to put, 3D printers, laser cutters, and vacuum formers into their learning environments.

Human-Centered Design with the e-NABLE Project

a 3D printed e-NABLE hand

Get your students inspired to learn how to use 3D printing technology to make a difference in the lives of others by joining the e-NABLE Community along with thousands of other schools in over 100 countries worldwide. The e-NABLE community has become one of the most impactful and moving open-source STEM Education Resources available to teachers and students over the past 10 years.

e-NABLE is a global open-source community of volunteers, including students in K-12 and Universities who work together to create, share and improve open-source 3D printable hand and arm assistive devices and donate them to recipients for free. This project began in 2012 with one stranger helping another who was half a world away and has grown into a network of thousands who continue to grow this project in their homes, classrooms, maker spaces, libraries, and medical facilities.

With the e-NABLE project, your students will not only learn how to create assistive devices for those in need but they will learn about empathy, human-centered design, collaboration, open-source communities, and the power of using their imaginations and ideas for the greater good!

Check out our blog post with the history and videos focused on e-NABLE in STEM
Learn more about e-NABLE on their website
Visit the e-NABLE Hub Education Page
Check out the e-NABLE Education Space
Join the e-NABLE Educators Alliance Facebook Group

e-NABLE 3d printed hands and assembly kits from 3D Universe

If you are interested in creating a device with your students and are in need of the assembling kits (3D printed parts are not included) please visit our shop page and let us know that your purchase is for education to get an educator’s discount.

This assembly materials kit includes all of the materials needed to assemble any of the following four Phoenix Hand designs, created by the e-NABLE volunteer community:

e-NABLE Phoenix Hand v3
Phoenix v2
Unlimbited Phoenix
Phoenix Reborn

This kit also includes sufficient materials for producing the Unlimbited Arm, except that additional velcro straps will be needed.

e-NABLE volunteer John Diamond has prepared an assembly manual for the Phoenix v2, which is available here. You can also find an assembly tutorial video below.

If you have any questions about e-NABLE assembly kits, please email us at for more information!

Online Courses Focused on e-NABLE and Human-Centered Design

Bitspace Human Centered Design for Stem Education Resources projects

Our friends at BitSpace have put together two fantastic e-NABLE-based STEM Education Resources and projects for your classroom.

Prototyping with Purpose: Human-Centered Engineering Design Challenges (with e-NABLE)

This online course features a series of seven challenges that engage students in the positive power of engineering and human-centered design. Lessons are designed to make it easy for grade 4-8 teachers to deliver remotely and include instruction and videos that can be assigned directly to students.

Centered on the work e-NABLE has done to bring 3D printed prosthetics to people all around the world, students will learn about the Engineering Design Process, how makers and engineers are using that process in the face of COVID-19, the power of empathy in design, anatomy, and simple machines. The culminating challenge gives students the opportunity to create an initial prototype of an upper limb prosthetic.

3D printed e-nable hands being assembled but students for STEM learning

3D Printing Prosthetics to Teach Engineering, Anatomy, and Empathy
(in Collaboration with e-NABLE)

In this course, we will cover how you can integrate digital humanitarianism, tech, biology, and social, and emotional learning into your classroom through e-NABLE’s empowering 3D printing prosthetics program. We will share lessons on activating student empathy to enhance understanding, connecting this work to your human anatomy and biology studies, as well as ways to integrate the language arts through opportunities to compare and contrast and create a personalized note with your completed prosthesis.

Educational Project Kits from BitSpace

Bitspace Educational project kits

Some of our favorite STEM Education Resources come from our friends at BitSpace Chicago who have put together some wonderful “Make it” kits that are sure to delight students and teachers alike. Students will be learning how to use shop tools, discover design thinking skills, explore coding, make electronics, and much more with these kits that are now available at 3D Universe.

A marble game

Make It, Play It Kit

The BitSpace Make It, Play It! kit allows for true iteration as students create a series of physical rough drafts and build on techniques to gain an understanding of the scope of what they can create. Each week students learn new skills and tools that they immediately apply.

Students will learn to design, build and test their very own game in this hands-on learning project that introduces design thinking, woodshop tools & techniques, and a launching point for making.

Learn more about what is included in this kit for students and teachers by clicking the button below.

Racecars created from a kit for STEM Educational resources from Bitspace

Make It, Race It!

Feats of strength, speed, and beauty abound in the BitSpace Make It, Race It! course. Students have the opportunity to design, build and test their very own racing vehicle in this hands-on learning project that introduces students to design thinking, and woodshop tools and techniques.

Learn more about what is included in this kit for students and teachers by clicking the button below.

Kids making wearable Electronics from a kit from Bitspace

Make It, Wearable Electronics!

This Make It, Wearable Electronics course will introduce students aged 10-14 to circuits as they use various electronic components combined with textiles to assist in the creation/modification of smart clothes.

Students will be able to express themselves through a combination of engineering and art while learning many new skills; from sewing and making to electronics.

This course will give students a basic understanding of soft circuits through a project. Students can then carry that understanding into the creation of additional projects and activities.

Learn more about what is included in this kit for students and teachers by clicking the button below.

STEM Education Resources for Laser Cutting in the Classroom

A collection of beginner laser cut lesson designs from Full Spectrum Laser

Beginner Lesson: With this great set of STEM Education Resources from Full Spectrum Laser, your students can learn the basics of laser cutter technology in these fantastic beginner lessons! They will learn how to Rasterize images and engrave them, cut using vector lines, and mark using vector graphics.

Complete this course by finishing lesson #3 by combining the steps below to create a Jigsaw Puzzle.

Lesson 1: Photorealistic Engravings
Lesson 2: Vector Cutting
Lesson 3: Jigsaw Puzzle

A collection of intermediate laser cut lesson designs from Full Spectrum Laser

Intermediate Lessons: With this set of advanced laser cutting lessons from Full Spectrum Laser, your students will learn and experiment with rastering techniques to create photo-realistic engravings using JPEG image. This set of lessons will help them to understand the concept of 3D stacking and kerf bending as well as use alignment to add personalized images.

Lesson 4: Stacked Vase
Lesson 5: Wooden Dice Set
Lesson 6: Kerf Bent Notebook

A collection of advanced laser cut lesson designs from Full Spectrum Laser

Advanced Lessons: With the advanced laser cutting lessons from Full Spectrum Laser, your students will learn by making. Students now have the freedom to pick any project and can understand the terminology and techniques required to complete them.

Lesson 7: Accessory Box
Lesson 8: Mandala Box
Lesson 9: Sunglass Storage

Vacuum Forming and STEM Education Resources for the Classroom

A teacher and student using the Mayku FormBox vacuum former

Vacuum forming is becoming quite a fantastic and popular method for creating prototypes, molds, and models from a variety of materials. It is frequently used in the classroom to give students a more hands-on learning experience.

The vacuum forming process begins with a sheet of material, which is heated until it is soft and pliable. The sheet is then placed over a mold, and a vacuum is applied to the underside of the sheet. The vacuum pulls the sheet down into the mold, and as the sheet cools, it takes on the shape of the mold.

Once the thermoformed sheet has cooled and hardened, it can be removed from the mold. The finished product can then be trimmed, painted, or otherwise customized as needed.

Vacuum Forming STEM Education Resources and Project Ideas

Children showing their vacuum formed spout covers they created with the Mayku FormBox

There are a lot of wonderful and easy STEM project ideas for students to create with a vacuum former that can be combined with various forms designed with 3D Printed, Laser cut, clay, cardboard, and found or food object shapes…like a potato to make a fun gemstone shaped soap!

Whether you turn your mold into a plaster planter, a fun soap design, a candle, a terrarium, a water conservation spout, yummy-shaped chocolates, sweet treats, and much more! The possibilities are endless for your students.

Vacuum forming also opens up the door to teaching students about creating prototypes, packaging, and finished products. It also allows you to create forms for as little as $1 each.

The Mayku FormBox Vacuum Former being used with Laser cut designs in a classroom

Desktop vacuum formers like the Mayku FormBox are roughly the size of a microwave, meaning it doesn’t require much tabletop space, and can be easily stored.

Perhaps best of all, forms can be created easily by the students themselves in seconds, meaning the whole class feels involved and gets to take away something physical from the lessons and projects they are working on.

STEM Education Resources with Mayku Teach Curriculum and Lesson Plans

Mayku Teach has incredible STEM Education Resources for vacuum forming in the classroom. It is comprised of a community of educators who are united by a belief in the power of learning through making and providing students with access to new tools they can use themselves in the classroom.

With an extensive variety of options for creative challenges as well as fantastic blog posts that encourage design thinking and collaboration, Mayku Teach brings you multiple free lessons that you can use with the Mayku FormBox vacuum former for students in K-12 to university levels as well as libraries, maker spaces and community centers.

Email us at for more information.

3D Printing STEM Education Resources

Free MakerBot Educators Guidebook image for 2022

MakerBot’s 2022 Educators Guidebook

The latest installment of the MakerBot Educators Guidebook, the 3rd edition of MakerBot’s definitive guide to 3D printing in the classroom with over 150 pages is available to you for free!

This guidebook Covers a crash course in 3D printing and how to begin integrating it into the classroom. It contains multiple projects spanning Robotics, Engineering, Mathematics, and Science as well as projects for Art, History, and Music. The MakerBot Educators Guidebook also shares a collection of techniques and tricks developed by educators already experienced with 3D printing and is one of our best STEM Education Resources.

FREE MakerBot Educators Guidebook for Higher Ed

Free 3D printing in higher education guide image from MakerBot

Get an in-depth look at the state of additive manufacturing within Higher Education, Career Technical Education, and Research and a how-to on leveraging 3D printing to unlock new frontiers in research, academic, and manufacturing settings.

Featured Topics:
• Overview of 3D Printing in Higher Education
• Looking at the Data: How 3D Printing is Growing in Higher Education
• How It’s Used: Most Common Uses for 3D Printing (e.g. Research Purposes, Academic Courses, CTE, and more)
• The Best 3D Printing Features to Look For in a 3D Printer
Download the 30+ page guide today and see how you or your students can start using 3D printing.

FREE 3D Printing Curriculum with Thingiverse Education

Kids learning about 3D printing with MakerBot education and Thingiverse

Check out the variety of open-source 3D printing educational designs from MakerBot’s Thingiverse education collection. You will find projects focused on STEM and art as well as history, language, and geography as well as projects focused on special education for both K-12 and university students alike.

You can filter by subject as well as grade level for easy access to numerous projects that are sure to get your students excited about 3D printing and a variety of other subjects.

FREE Grant Guide from MakerBot

Free Makerbot 2022 Grant Guide

Lock in Funding for 3D Printing. With over 45 grants in the new 2022 MakerBot Grant Guide you can find the grant that works for you — get the funding needed to start 3D printing in your school, classroom or lab with countless grants available year-round.

Grants in the 2022 Grant Guide include funding applicable for:

• MakerBot 3D Printers
• 3D Printing Materials like filament, extruders and more
• Professional Development for 3D printer training
• Academic Research & Undergraduate Studies

Make sure you check the free grand guide out to see if your classroom and school may qualify for some extra funding to put towards STEM learning opportunities for your students!

Intro to 3D Printing Course from HoneyPoint 3D

Intro to 3D printing from 3D Universe and HoneyPoint 3D

HoneyPoint 3D’s Intro to 3D Printing Course

Learn from the experts about 3D printing and 3D design, no experience is needed!

In this high-quality instructor-led video training, you’ll learn about 3D printing terminology, the software and hardware involved in the 3D printing workflow, and more.

3D Printing Design and Slicing STEM Education Resources

Ultimaker Cura slicing software screenshot

There are numerous 3D printing design, CAD and slicing software options out there to choose from but lucky for you, we have compiled a nice list of great STEM education resources for you to choose from based on your and your student’s needs.

Check out the links and videos below!

Ultimaker Cura Slicing Software Tutorials

Ultimaker Cura is the most popular 3D printer slicing software available. It’s free, open-source, and it is regularly updated with new features. If you haven’t used Cura in a long time, it may be worth revisiting to see if it now meets your needs.

In this video, 3D Universe founder, Jeremy Simon, shows some of the advanced tools available within Ultimaker Cura for getting complete control over how each part of your object is printed.

Tools and techniques covered include:

  • How nozzle size affects printing results
  • Using “Adaptive layers” to improve print speed without sacrificing quality
  • Adjusting print speeds for overhanging walls and small features
  • Optimizing bridging performance
  • Customizing print settings in specific regions of a print

Make sure you check out our other Ultimaker Cura videos from Jeremy on our Youtube Channel by clicking the button below to take you to our complete playlist!

Fusion 360 Design Software Courses and Tutorials

HoneyPoint 3D Fusion 360 full course image

HoneyPoint 3D’s Fusion 360 Full Course

Autodesk Fusion360 is a “solid modeling” tool and offers tremendous capabilities to those who know how to use it. It can be used to model the next great gadget, sculpt beautiful artwork, and generally help you in your modeling life. This online, self-paced course has over 15 hours of instruction, including a thorough reference section that gives short videos on every feature of Fusion 360.

Getting Started with Fusion 360 and Design Jams with Kevin Smith at BitSpace

In this video session above, Kevin Smith, Creative Director at BitSpace, provides an introduction and overview of Autodesk Fusion360. This is a powerful “solid modeling” tool and offers tremendous capabilities to those who know how to use it.

Fusion 360 “Design Jam”

In this video above, Kevin Smith, Creative Director of Bit Space, and Andy Halvorsen, STEAM Integration Specialist of Bit Space, introduce a “Design Jam” design thinking game followed by rapid prototyping of a couple of ideas in Autodesk Fusion 360.

Meshmixer Educational Course from HoneyPoint 3D

Honeypoint 3d Meshmixer from Autodesk

HoneyPoint 3D’s Meshmixer Full Course

Meshmixer is an easy, FREE software program from Autodesk that is a design tool based on high-resolution dynamic triangular meshes. It is powerful, yet quick to learn if you have the right tutorials. Meshmixer focuses on improving the 3D printing ecosystem like no other tool. If you are an inventor, student of any age, hobbyist, maker, artist, 3D modeler, or entrepreneur, Meshmixer can help you to quickly create physical representations of YOUR ideas.

STEM Education and 3D Universe

STEM Education Resources from 3D Universe showing kids assembling a 3D printed e-NABLE hand

We here at 3D Universe are very passionate about getting STEM learning into schools and introducing the next generation of change-makers to new technology and showing them what they are capable of.

We look forward to learning more about the projects your students work on this year, so please make sure to share with us! We love seeing STEM learning happening in classrooms and we also love to share your stories whether that is here on our blog or by having you and your students as guests on our 3D Universe Untethered podcast and web series!

Have a fantastic, creative, imaginative, mind-blowing school year!