After welcoming our Dutch colleagues and loading up on caffeine, we spent half an hour connecting, downloading and registering all the necessary computer programs. We learnt about Doodle3d, went through the setup and worked with it. My first impression was: an easy-to-use program, even small children will be able to draw their ideas. The possibilities seem limited, but – as I said before – this is only a first impression.
We continued with a little seminar about Tinkercad. Merel van der Wees, from Studio Bleep, showed us how to move objects around, scale, combine and shape them. We learnt how to make holes in them, group and ungroup objects and a lot more. I consider this a wonderful program, which is incredibly easy and intuitive to use. I’d put my money on this one! In my opinion our pupils will be able to work with this in minutes, whereas the possibilities are virtually endless, only limited by lack of imagination.
After this Merel gave us a brief introduction to Blender; a professional program, meant to create professional projects. Unfortunately, it has a very steep learning curve, due to its countless options and possibilities. I am afraid, if we start with this, our pupils might get lost following us (drifting) teachers through the enormous maze.
In the afternoon we were brought up to speed on the status quo of 3D-printers, sales figures, some estimates and possible developmental directions for the future. Currently the 3D-printers are mainly used for rapid-prototyping and rapid-manufacturing. This will change in the near future. As far as prices are concerned, in the upcoming years a number of patents will expire; that will boost the competition on the market and lower the prices.
We ended the theoretical part of the meeting with an oversight of the different techniques used to print. Let’s just remember that the Ultimaker uses extrusion-techniques. We learnt about filaments, temperatures and spare parts, the tools you need to use the Ultimaker and why there’s tape on the ‘bed’,
We then spent the last hour drawing, creating and printing, using the different programs mentioned before. Very useful were the introductions to Tinkercad and Blender Studio Bleep had added to their website. I would have included the links to the introductions, but unfortunately they are no longer available. Maybe if we ask them politely??
By: VMBO- De Krijtenburg Vlieland. The Netherlands