Advantages of 3D

3D-thinking is everywhere

The items you hold in your hand, you sit on or you put something into are all 3Dimensional. When you walk around or you sit down some where you always have items surrounding you, below you, in front of you, behind you and sometimes even on top of you.
Your mind is continuously calculating distance between you and the object, if there is sufficient room for you to pass, how much strength you might need to lift it and how high it is, to bend to pick it up or to sit on.
Everybody knows the feeling to lift something that looks heavy, but is far more lighter than expected and you almost throw it. Or you want to sit down and the seat is lower than average and you fall down… oops.. painful!

If you want to create an object, a method, a solution to a problem or a real tangible object, you need to think of many issues that are not a straight line from A to B.
This is what we call 3D thinking!

Why 3D-technology

Since the second half of the last century design has become more and more a discipline that influences all parts of life. From nail design up to urban design the word design is overused today. But the process of an idea becoming a product does still happen mostly behind the locked doors of huge companies. The rise of computer aided manufacturing has enlarged the distance between people an production.

The 3D-printer as an affordable desktop machine is a great opportunity to get people reconnected to design and production processes. It makes it easy to experience the functionality of a machine, that is moved over various axes. The use of this tool  for education can activate the pupils interest for computer aided manufacturing an enables them to develop a responsible handling with industrial production.

But even so 3D printing is a very young technique. As in the sixties nobody could imagine, what effect the computers will have to our life we are now at a point where it is hard to predict the future of computer aided manufacturing. Will it change the world or is it just another tool that is useful for some special processes? Let’ s find it out!

(How can we activate this way of thinking and making it into fun also?

= > Create a 3 dimensional playground!
The best way to do so is to use a 3D-printer as one of the tools that the student can use for the tasks for school.
They can work by themselves or in groups to make an object or an environment.)


3D-printers are getting cheaper each year so no big investments needed if you compare it to e-boards.
Children are quick in learning software on the computer and know quickly how to use it to prepare a print.
On the internet you can find a lot of information on what you can do with 3D-printing technology so you know quickly what you can do.


No more plastic!
The last few years we are aware of the damage of plastic. The seas are full of small fragments of plastic, fish and sea birds have them in their bellies. Plastic bags, plastic bottles lay around everywhere.
Why do we still need plastic?

Most plastic is made out of oil. Oil is a fossil product. A material that has taken more than 1000 of years to become oil. If the whole world will use this material the next 10 years, we will be out of oil soon. So we need to find better materials that are renewable. Like bioplastics for instance is a plastic that can be made out of waste materials from agri-business like corn or potatoes.
This bioplastic still needs synthetics to become ‘plastic’ and therefore we need to think of more materials that we can print with.
We can also print with clay and even chocolate!

Another sustainable feature of 3D-printing is that you can make your own toys or objects you would like to have. You can create it yourself and print it out yourself. No shops or distribution is needed, no exhaust fumes from lorries and ships.

Wouldn’t it be a great idea that when you are fed up with the toy you made, you can melt your toy and make new filament again to print something else? This will be the next step!

3D-printing and art

The new technology of 3D printing creates a new approach to teaching art. One
important aspect of art lessons is the field of design. While designing was
limited to either 2-dimensional sketches or handcrafted objects now the 3D
printer offers a new method of realizing designed objects.
Working with 3D software and hardware improves the students´ ability of
3-dimensional thinking, which is also needed for compulsory artistic fields like
sculptures, architecture, objects and prints. First they have to transform their
ideas into a 2-dimensional software image, as a result they can print out their
design and get an immediate feedback.
The knowledge of new media opens the students´minds for new technologies and
therefore for a range of future perspectives. 3D printing at schools might
motivate students to use their skills for their future work life.
3D printable art can be shared with other schools in the country or even
internationally. This form of communication can lead to a pool of creativity
because it encourages cooperation between students from different areas with
different social and cultural backgrounds.

Eileen Blackmore, Bente Rickmers, Alexander Joly