3-12, Art, Creative Thinking, Education, Student Products

3Doodler Start

It’s always fun to see the progress of Kickstarter projects you’ve backed.  I got one of the first batch of 3Doodlers way back when, and things have really changed: new filament colors, tons of project ideas, a 2.0 version, and accessories.

3Doodler is a 3D printing pen that requires no programming – just patience and imagination. I’ve had students who have loved using my original, and some who have given up quickly in frustration.  After using it for awhile, I developed a wish list of features that would be ideal for a 3D printing pen – and it’s quite possible that my wishes have been granted.

The 3Doodler Start is designed with younger kids in mind.  It’s wireless (HUGE plus – fully charged 3Doodler Starts can supposedly last up to 60 minutes), completely safe with no hot parts, eco-friendly plastic, and suitable for children 8 years and up.

You can pre-order a 3Doodler Start to be delivered in May.  They are offering it at a slightly lower price than intended retail for 13 more days.  Currently, it is $39.99 for one 3Doodler Start, and $79.99 for a starter pack that includes 8 packs of filament and 8 “starter blocks.”  (You need to look at the web site to see what “starter blocks” are.)  One warning: you will not be able to use current 3Doodler plastic or accessories with the 3Doodler Start.

I’m probably going to order one. Because that’s my not-so-secret vice, ordering things that are fun and aren’t available anywhere else 🙂  When they start offering class packs, I could definitely see this being utilized in a Maker Space, art room, or any other place that creativity is encouraged!

original 3Doodler
original 3Doodler
3Doodler 2.0
3Doodler 2.0
3Doodler Start
3Doodler Start
Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Education, Problem Solving, Student Products

The Star Trek Replicator Challenge

I mentioned two invention challenges for students last week, and I am thrilled to add another opportunity to the list.  The Star Trek Replicator Challenge is being offered by NASA and The ASME Foundation.  The launch video is a great introduction to the challenge, which invites students to “design a non-edible, food related product for astronauts to 3d print in the year 2050.”  The contest opened on 2/16/16, and will close on 5/1/16.  You can find rules and specific guidelines (which are a bit intimidating) on the official challenge website.

3-5, 5-8, Art, Careers, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Education, Research, Student Products, Teaching Tools

How about a Game of Foolsball?

The following pics are of creations that students made using our new Makerbot 3D printer.  Mrs. Lackey, our librarian, guided a small “pilot” group of 5th graders through the City X curriculum.  In this curriculum, a story is weaved about a fictional city on another planet that has problems that need to be solved.  The students go through the design process to generate ideas, making prototypes, and printing their creations on the 3D printer.

The first student chose to help develop a new sport that could be played.  He designed, printed, and painted a stadium where “Foolsball” could be played.

PicCollage (2)

In the second example, the student was tasked with developing a way for the city’s animals to stay healthy and receive medical attention if needed. He created a collar that dogs could wear that would monitor the dogs vitals and dispense medicine when needed.

PicCollage (1)

PicCollageThe third student genetically engineered a new animal that has the characteristics of several Earth species. The animal will help to protect the city with its many combined strengths.

Mrs. Lackey and I have been so impressed with the quality of this free curriculum that we plan to expand the program to many more students next school year.

To learn more about 3D Printing in Elementary School, check out this post I recently wrote for Free Tech for Teachers.

3-12, Art, Creative Thinking, Education, Parenting, Student Products

#WhatWillYouCreate?

For today’s entry into this year’s Gifts for the Gifted series (every Friday in November and December) I am recommending the 3Doodler.  This 3D printing pen has come a long way since I first received the Kickstarter version around a year ago.

gifts

If you know a child who loves to create, then this could be a fabulous gift.  At $99 you can currently get a great deal – the pen plus 50 strands of plastic.  Although $99 may sound like a lot, it is significantly cheaper than a 3D Printer.  Also, a computer is not required in order to start making your designs.

image from http://www.jebiga.com/3doodler-3d-doodler/
image from http://www.jebiga.com/3doodler-3d-doodler/

The 3Doodler works somewhat like a glue gun.  You stick the plastic in one end, and it heats up.  As you squeeze the button, the melted plastic comes out and you can direct it into the shape you like.  The plastic cools relatively quickly, but I wouldn’t recommend touching it with bare fingers for about 30 seconds.

Because of the heat involved, the 3Doodler is not suitable for young children.  I had students as young as 9 using it in my classroom last year with supervision, but would not suggest it for anyone younger. My daughter, who was 11 when we received it, used it with dexterity, but we both accidentally touched the hot part a couple of times. Using it also requires some perseverance and self-control that come with maturity, as it takes some practice to develop the techniques that will allow you to form the designs you imagine.

Since its Kickstarter campaign, 3Doodler has added a few more accessories, which include a stand, a pedal option that allows you to control the pen with your feet, and a set of different nozzles.  It is also available in many more retail stores.  In addition to purchasing it online, you can find it at Michael’s and Best Buy plus 10 other stores in the United States.

I would suggest that beginners start with some of the stencils provided on the 3Doodler site.  The community offers many ideas, but don’t get too caught up in making what is already posted.  Be creative!

For more ideas for creative gifts for children, you may want to visit my Pinterest Board or check out my previous posts from this year: Osmo, Circuit Stickers, and Shell Game.

Art, Computer Science, Creative Thinking, Education, K-12, Student Products, Teaching Tools

TurtleArt Tiles

Yesterday, I featured a great series of images and video taken during a Maker Space event at a public library in Westport, Connecticut.  The man behind the event, Josh Burker, also has a great blog sharing other ideas for making.  The most recent entry caught my eye because it involves using “TurtleArt” and a 3D printer – two things with which I have little experience, but would like to know better.

Josh details an activity in which students use TurtleArt (similar to Logo programming) to create designs on the computer.  These designs are then used to make stamps with the 3D printer.  After practicing using the stamps on Play-Doh, the students stamp clay tiles and paint them to make amazing works of art.

The step-by-step process can be found on the post by Josh.  There are lots of photographs, and it seems fairly straightforward – even for a layperson like me.

I love this intersection of logic and creativity!

TurtleArt image from Josh Burker
TurtleArt image from Josh Burker
Final Clay Tile image from Josh Burker
Final Clay Tile image from Josh Burker
Art, Creative Thinking, Education, Fun Friday, K-12, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Videos

3 Doodler Remote Control Plane

Remote Control 3Doodler Plane image from: Makezine.com
Remote Control 3Doodler Plane image from: Makezine.com

In January, I posted about my acquisition of the 3Doodler from a Kickstarter project.  My students used it with varying degrees of success in our Makerspace (B.O.S.S. HQ) this year.  Some were frustrated immediately, and some went to that center any time they had the chance.  I’m trying to encourage them to expand their thinking about what they can accomplish with it.  The other day, I ran across a post on Makezine.com that featured a remote control plane that someone built using a 3Doodler Pen!  What I particularly like about the story is that it shows the process of building it and testing it – and gives reasons for its somewhat shaky flight.  This is a great little video to show students T.M.I. (Think, Make, Improve – recommended by Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez in Invent to Learn).