Recently we started a novel experiment at Hackerspace Phnom Penh to introduce 3D printing technology to kids. We organized a saturday afternoon workshop for the coding club members of local international school. The parents who brought the kids were just as excited about the 3D printing technology.
Photo Credit: Akira
The workshop started with Leo Jofeh walking the kids through the basics of 3D printing technology. The Makerbot Cupcake CNC was used to show various parts of 3D printing machine. The DIY model of the Cupcake CNC 3D printer makes it easy to see all the parts unlike the more recent models of the 3D printers.
Next we brought in the modern Lulzbot Mini 3D printer and did a quick test print of small object from Thingiverse.com to show the whole 3D printing process. The kids were already bubbling with ideas for building model tanks to full scale super hero characters. However we suggested something simpler that doesn't take hours of print time. The code club members were already familiar with the Google Sketchup program. So they quickly started creating drawing of comic characters and creating custom currency coins. With a Sketchup STL export plugin they could export the drawings into a 3D printable STL file.
Leo collected these STL files and added to them the Cura printing software with minor changes. The kids and the parents were totally engrossed all throughout the workshop. Indeed 3D printing unleashes your inner tool maker in everyone.
The workshop was a learning experience for us. Next we are going to expand the program to cover more schools and with few working templates that kids and the parents can work-together.
If you want to help or get involved please get in touch with us at facebook.com/groups/hackerspacepp.