I am now the proud owner of a 3D printer in my nerd cave at my house. (I have one in my classroom too!) I have a Polar 3D printer (polar3D.com). Advantages to this printer are:
- you can print wirelessly
- it has the slicer software in the printer so you can directly send .stl files
- it has a webcam so others can watch it print
- controls are web based so it works on a Chromebook
- and it is designed for collaboration!
Going to http://cloud.polar3d.com/ allows you to set up an account, join a print club and work with others on printing. By joining a printer club, friends who do not have a printer can print to your printer. Since the printer is connected to WiFi, the person printing does not need to be anywhere near the printer to print.
Setting up the Polar 3D printer is a snap. Simply take it out of the box and plug it in. There is a tray on the bottom that you pull out so you can set the glass print bed onto the printer. A spindle in the back pops out so you can place your spool of filament (plastic) on it. Thread the filament through the handle and into the hole on top of the extruder. Lightly spray the print bed with hair spray. Good to go!
I upload my models as a .stl file into the cloud.polar3d.com and push print from my browser.
It is so amazing that the Polar 3D printer has a webcam in it so others can watch the prints. If you’re having a hard time getting your admin to get you a printer (educational pricing on the Polar 3D is only $600), tell him/her that you will use it everyday and they can watch from their office! I love the idea of curious student faces peering into the 3D printer so that parents and other teachers/admin can see.
“I made this” instead of “I filled this out.”
Using a 3D printer turns your students into makers. They have a physical representation of their learning. Even a kindergartener can draw a circle in Tinkercad, have it printed, invite the parent to watch it be printed, and take it home to show off that they learned about circles!
My first attempt at printing was not a total success.. but I printed something! That is a start and it feels awesome! For a lot of reasons your prints might not print correctly, this is to be expected. When you finally get it working though, it feels super awesome. Failure helps success feel that much sweeter. I love the idea by @mkrclub to keep a box of failures. My first print of my logo (designed by @mkrclub using Google Draw) did not fully print, this one goes into my box of failures 🙂