Here is summary of the report on 3d printing:
Known in industrial circles as rapid prototyping, 3D printing refers to technologies that construct
physical objects from three-dimensional (3D) digital content such as 3D modeling software, computer-aided design (CAD) tools, computer aided tomography (CAT), and X-ray crystallography.
A 3D printer builds a tangible model or prototype from the electronic file, one layer at a time, through an extrusion-like process using plastics and other flexible materials, or an inkjet-like process to spray a bonding agent onto a very thin layer of fixable powder. The deposits created by the machine can be applied very accurately to build an object from the bottom up, layer by layer, with resolutions that, even in the least expensive machines, are more than sufficient to express a large amount of detail. The process even accommodates moving parts within the object. Using different materials and bonding agents, color can be applied, and objects can be rendered in plastic, resin, metal, or even biological materials, such as tissue. The technology is commonly used in design and engineering labs to build prototypes of almost any object that can be rendered in three dimensions.
Relevance for Teaching and Learning in STEM+ Education
- 3D printing allows for more authentic exploration of objects that may not be readily available to education institutions, including animal anatomies and toxic materials.
- The exploration of 3D printing, from design to production, as well as demonstrations and participatory access, can open up new possibilities for learning activities.
- Typically, students are not allowed to handle fragile objects like fossils and artifacts; 3D printing shows promise as a rapid prototyping and production tool, providing users with the ability to touch, hold, and even take home an accurate model.
It is a must-read for any educator.