Hamburg 3000

Portfolio Categories: Age group 9-13.

Converting handcrafted 3D models to 3D computer models

Subject: Art

Aim: Students are able to transform a 3D model made of styrofoam into a printable file.

Outcome: 3D printed objects

Age group: 9-13 years (group size 10 -15 students)

Estimated time: 5 lessons or more

Resources: 3D printer, Sketchup, Styrofoam, cutter, glue, drawing paper, pencils, board

Instructions: The technology of 3D printing creates a new approach to teaching art. One important aspect of art lessons is the field of design. Designing in this project means to get from an idea to a model which is the previous step of the prototype in a classical design process. The project is also about how to create a story around an object and how to make sure that the story is readable in the model.


Introduction – Teachers and students find a project idea, in this example the topic is “Hamburg in the year 3000”. Collect ideas of the students in a mindmap.
Main part – Students organize each other in groups of 2 – 3 people. Each group develops an idea for one part of the city. First they draw a draft of their idea on paper. These sketches can include buildings, bridges, means of transport, etc.
Evaluation – Students present their posters to the other groups. Discussion about the realization of the different group ideas and advising each other.


Introduction – Teacher explains how a 3D printer builds up its objects and presents the styrofoam material the students are going to work with.
Main part – Each group builds an object in the layering technique. The students cut out styrofoam layers which are glued together and build up layer by layer their objects (could be a house, furniture, car etc.). This technique enables them to understand the way the 3D printer works.
Evaluation – Students present their styrofoam models to their classmates and report about problems they had. Discussion about possible problems that might occur when their models will be printed out.


Introduction – Teacher introduces and shows the basic tools of “Sketchup” on the digital projector.
Main part – Students convert their styrofoam models into a Sketchup file by using the introduced tools of Sketchup. Teacher prints out examples of the students´work.
Evaluation – Students report on their experiences and problems. Discussion about possible solutions.


Introduction – Teacher presents the printer and explains how to save a Sketchup file in order to print it out.
Main part – Students transform their project ideas which include buildings and means of transport into a Sketchup file and print them out if possible. Teacher supports students.
Evaluation – Students report on their experiences and problems. Discussion about possible solutions.


Introduction – Students present their results and work together on a sketch of the “Hamburg 3000 map”.
Main part – Students draw the Hamburg map on a big wooden board. Students paint and decorate it and stick their objects on the board.
Evaluation – Students and teachers exhibit the final product in a public show case and give a feedback on the project work. Do´s and don´ts

Do… Don´t…
Let the students find their own project idea, so they are motivated. Don´t tell them what to print out.
Give them enough time to get familiar with the software. Don´t be impatient.
Keep them busy while the printer is working. Don´t give them too much unoccupied time.
Prepare them for possible failures. /
Present the theory in small units. Don´t bore your students with long theory lessons.

Keywords/tags: – 3D printing, Art, Sketchup, 3D models, objects, architecture, 3D thinking, layering technique


from Bente Rickmers, Alexander Joly, D