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3D printing is, without a doubt, interesting, especially for children. The process of materializing an idea right in front of your eyes is fascinating. Today, Tom and Tracy Hazzard talk to Chad McAllister, the host of The Everyday Innovator. He has created a 3D print club for kids to learn about bridging the digital and physical worlds through 3D printing. As a father himself, he saw how his kids were amazed after buying their printer at home. This led him to decide to open a 3D print club for kids. Know more about Chad’s 3D Print Club as he shares to us what happened during the first session, choosing the right printers, communicating with the members, future meetings, and so much exciting stuff.
Listen to the podcast here:
3D Print Club for Everyday Innovation
Chad McAllister has created a 3D print club for kids to learn about bridging the digital and physical worlds through 3D printing. He has his own podcast, the Everyday Innovator that Tracy was a guest on awhile back. He talks about product innovation and how to be an innovative product manager. He takes product managers and turns them into product masters. I love that term, that is a great term. In addition to being the host of his podcast, he is the author of Turning Ideas into Market Winning Products. He has an engineering background, but has been a big podcaster, blogger, and management trainer.
You are talking about a very high level of company that has product managers. There tends to be a lot of product managers who are in P&G, that company where you have Clorox. You have a combination between product manager and brand manager. It is a different world than the world we are normally used to, which is the startup world.
What is great is that he is going to share to us today is more of a local project and education experience with kids in 3D printing. It is like a 3D print club. You will hear the genesis of it and how it has evolved for him.
Hi Chad! I’m so excited to talk to you again, this time about your 3D print club.
I’m so glad to be here! It’s good to be here in your podcast with you.
I was on your podcast, I had a lot of fun talking to you about innovation and process. We started chatting at the end about 3D printing. You’ve been working on some fun programs. Let’s talk a little bit about that first. Then, let’s get back in your history.
The topic here is how 3D printing can open the world of learning for kids. We put together this little 3D print club of kids who were 9 to 12 year-olds involved in 3D printing. Let me share how that went.
That’s great! It’s wonderful! Thank you.
I have a side story that starts with, I think the listeners should bear with me, the punchline is worth it. What I do in my life is I train product managers. I help product managers become product masters. There’s this really cool loft area in the building I work out of, you can see from the outside, it stick up above the rest of the building. It has a glass on three sides. It looks like this will be a cool design space.
One day, I was curious. I went up there and knocked on the door just to find out who is up there, what do they do. It turned to be a guy that designs golf training equipment. He has a business making putting and driving systems to become a better golfer. What he does is he follows the PGA players around, learns what they need. He designs tools to help them get better, then the general golfing market will want to buy them also.
He’s an interesting guy. He asked what I do and we talked about my training product managers, talking about innovation. He said “Oh! I got a problem that you’ve got to help me with.” I went over to his office, he has these two pieces of plastic lying on the floor. I realized, basically, like a desktop ruler. It is two-feet long and an inch wide piece of plastic forming at the shape of a cross. This was meant to be a putting tool for golf.
The idea was that when you putt, you should always have the ball be exactly at the same place relatively to your feet. He has noticed even the pros, they changed their foot position, and the ball is not at the same place. This is really getting back to 3D Printing – trust me. He tells me, “The problem I have is I need to find a way to couple these two pieces of plastic together that’s easy, because they need to slide back and forth because everyone needs to have their feet in different places and tailored to them. You want the two pieces of plastic to slide together.
He says, “I’m trying to figure out the coupler for this, do you think you could help me with this?” So I have to tell him that, “Well, I train product managers with the products but I’m not really involved in developing physical products. I have an access to a team of designers. We can spend an hour to this if you want, and give you some ideas.” He let’s me know, “That would be great.”
We met with my team of designers the next week. There were seven available, they’re a group of eight. I broke them up in to teams of two pairs working together, and then there was a group of three working together. I gave them the problem. I brought the little two plastic strips with me. I told them what we had to do. They came up four with prototypes together. We have a 3D printer. We printed up all the prototypes. Afterwards, we took them back to Sam over at Eyeline Golf where he is the CEO there.
I showed him the prototypes, and they each have their own pros and cons. One was very good for manufacturing with an extruding process. We thought he would like that one because I thought he’d try an extruding it in metal and like it that way. The other ones were more square-shaped. It would be really difficult to make through any kind of traditional molding process extruding anything. There’s one he really liked. He said, “That’s a nice design, would it be possible to just refine this a little bit? We’ll just keep printing them and we’ll just use a 3D printed version.” I told him that I think that could probably work, but I’m not expert to any of this. You’ve got some prototypes. We’ll figure out from here.
Then I showed them a picture of the design team which was my group of 8 to 12-year olds. They were in this class with my wife and I and a friend. They were learning about this world of digital design, printing, and some other things too. What matters is it’s a great fun.
I bet he was like “Wow! That’s now even cooler!”
He did think this was a great idea. The best thing was it was such a great experience for the kids. I’ll take you some of the 3D print club class but this point of the class we met for exactly once a week and spend a few hours together. This is about week six or seven. It’s near the end. It was a great for them to have this experience of a real world, hands-on project. The 3D print club ended up creating their own product that went into the marketplace.
One of the prototypes got chosen, and with a little of my help, the kid refined it and made it work right. She can add on her resume that she has a product that she has designed and sold it in the marketplace. It’s pretty cool at the time since she was a twelve year old.
I love that! She’s a girl designer too. That’s fantastic! The company, are they printing it on their own now to sell, or do they have someone printing it for them?
I wish they were. The short answer is we are still printing them for them. I have made suggestions on which printer to get on which we could set it up for you, just give us a week. I’ll go do it for you. You could take this over, and it’d be great. My two kids were in this 3D print club also. They’re continuing to print for them and they get paid by the
company to print for them.
What printer are you using?
We’re using a Flashforge. I think this is the dual-headed one. It is called the Creator Pro.
Let’s step back a little bit and talk about why you started the 3D print club.
This is not my world. This is the way that we got into this; so my kids are 11 and 14, my daughter is older than my son. I have this great friend named Landon, he’s a bright engineer. He’s brilliant at program at circuit design on electronics.
Landon has this “Landon’s Lair” as he calls it, a little design studio. He had the CNC router, laser cutter, engraver, cool electronics lab, and a 3D printer. This was the first time any of us had seen a 3D printer. He gave us a little field trip when my family went over, and we saw them there. This was way over 3 years ago. We got to see how a 3D printer actually works, we were, “Oh! That’s so simple. It in what it actually does.” Your basic part is the extruder.
From that time on, we wanted our own 3D printers. Couple of years go by, we make it to a MakerFaire. We visited a tech shop first in San Francisco on a trip, then we went to a MakerFaire in our local area where we lived. There was this whole row of 3D printers doing cool things. There was someone there doing a sale along with the 3D printers and we thought that maybe, this is the right time.
We ended up not buying a printer at the show but I bought a couple of weeks later. We just started playing with this and had a little fun. We thought, “Well, while we have this, we should put together a group of other kids to learn together.”
That’s a great idea! It’s like a 3D print club.
I thought my kids would get more out of it just because of the interaction with the other kids. I didn’t know it will work out. You try, and you find out.
What did you find the most challenging part about realizing that, you’re starting this 3D print club, what you are going to start with? How did you think that through?
We had an overriding theme, we want to help kids have an experience going from the digital world into the physical world. The general philosophy that I have with my engineering background is that generation of kids were 9 to 12 years old, they all need to grow up some technological background even if they become farmers, which my daughter thinks she wants to do all the time. I said, “You know what, you still going to have opportunities where you probably want to do some simple programming.”
If you have a farm, there are going to be some pieces of equipment that monitoring something, like rainfall for example. You’re going to want to automate it and connect together. This is just going to be the way of the world.
You are going to want to buy them and you should, at least know something about it so you can evaluate them.
There are some basic skills and programming, even if you don’t want to program, there are some basic skills and designs, even if you don’t plan on designing, to just get used to that digital world. It’s fun for kids to see it in the physical world.
It was an overriding theme. We had three components to that. We had a robotics piece because when we thought of it, we wanted to get them to do the programming. They could do some simple programming and see the robot carry out the actions they told them to do. For that, we were using the Lego Mindstorms also called EV3. Frankly, that would be the hit of the class.
The other piece was the 3D design. We wanted to have this experience, and that’s kind of what started the class in the first place since we had bought the 3D printer. Let’s teach kids to do some basic design and get to see it printed out.
There was a third piece we added which was just communications. We brought a friend who’s really good at teaching the kids about communications and being a good presenter; like a public speaker and also being a good writer. In our three hours together each week, we took typically spent the first two hours on playing robotics or the printer part. The last hour was done on communications. The communications element was that you need to be competent sharing the things that you are learning in the setting.
I’m so glad you said that. I can’t tell you how many days on our business Mondays and things that we talk about on this podcast, that we are really trying to get people who have gotten all the way into their businesses and adulthood that they’re still having trouble explaining their ideas. Being able to do that is so critically important.
It’s wonderful to have an amazing mind that can come up with these fabulous inventions, designs, and innovations. But not being able to explain them is the worst thing that could happen. It keeps it in, what we call here all the time, permanent potential.
A lot of it is just dropping seeds. I’ll give you an aside here, the kids did great on communications piece. They had exercises that the instructor would give them. One exercise was they were to give her instructions for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She had on the table the ingredients; two slices of bread, a knife, a can of peanut butter and jelly. They were all talking at the same time. Eventually, they got her putting peanut butter on her face and other things. They finally got a peanut butter jelly sandwich. It was a fun communication exercise.
Communication is like a team too.
Yes, right because they had to figure out how to talk together and not talk over each other.
We invited the parents on the last night. Each child was asked to give a presentation on some aspect of something they learned during our time together in the 3D print club.
The interesting thing here on planting seeds, my son, when I started the 3D print club he was the only 9-year old in the group, for his age, he’s really gifted at programming and thinking about the robotics and the design part. He knew more about the design tools we were using than I did, but he couldn’t do the presentation. That’s not his thing. He just couldn’t get over the fear of sharing in front of other parents and doing the presentation.
I was planting seeds along that way. I was blown away because in the last week, he has decided that he’s going to start doing Youtube videos on sharing what he’s doing – programming and modifying in Minecraft. He’s got into learning programming through that. It was a complete and total change.
It is! In two years, it’s going from can’t stand up in front of anybody to doing essentially a broadcast.
We have another friend who I’ve liked her son’s Youtube channel. He has a disorder, and yet he is able to give these Minecraft directions that are amazing. He builds these little things and shows them off. He’s willing to put himself out there and show what he’s presented. He has, all of a sudden, opened up. Before, he was all clammed up, he shut down in front of people. But on camera, he’s the shiny kid that she sees at home. It’s very cool to watch.
I’ve just been fascinated watching the things that he makes. I was like, “I would never think to make that. It’s so cool!”
We all want to see the best for our kids. It’s great to see them have these experiences, bringing out their best. We went through the class in our 3D print club, at the end, I asked everyone what their favorite part was. I was surprised that 7 out of 8 in the 3D print club said about the 3D design printing. I thought they the robotics will be super cool, and they said it was okay. But the design and printing was just new to all of them. The robotics was new to everyone but they’ve seen that more. This was a whole new experience.
The way we constructed that part of it is this, and I’m an engineer by background but that doesn’t mean a lot in this case, my wife took on the robotic piece. We found a really good resource for that. I took on the design piece, the 3D printing.
I was looking around for some resources. I came across with a few things. There’s no curriculum that I thought was really particularly helpful. My son had found Tinkercad online. We decided to use Tinkercad as our modelling environment. Our 3D print club liked a few things about it, it’s all web-based, it’s free, everyone can have their own account, they can work on this at home.
Session 1 of 3D Print Club
Our first session together was to create everyone an account, everyone logged onto Tinkercad. We have kids that were brand new to laptops, we had to deal with that, but everyone got through just fine. We just walked them through Tinkercad, showed them what the environment is. We’re in the room together, so we had one big monitor where I was so I could show them, “This is what you do next.”
The first tutorial was on something like creating a name tag. I remember lining letters up just next to each other. Everyone in 3D print club made their own name tag. They had the best time. I was amazed how quickly they took to that. They lay out the 3D model. It was no problem at all.
Chad, you were saying that you were surprised the robotics wasn’t as popular as the 3D printing in your 3D print club. That’s the key right there, that I found from our experience working with some of the kids and working with our own daughter.
There’s a much more gratifying sense of accomplishment when it’s customized; when it’s not just a thing that’s from a book or a thing in a course. When it looks personal, a little bit you, yours is different from the next persons, there’s a little bit of gratification there that reinforces it in a way that it gets their attention. Our daughter would say, “Ooh! What’s the next thing?” They get more excited and passionate about it. It’s that personal-ness that helps.
That is a good point. I just had some affinity for the robots before my kids had played with them. They’re doing all the control of customizing what the robot does. They had to build one to start with and all of that. This was different because it’s going from absolutely nothing, “Let’s make something from scratch.” It’s just an idea. I think you’re right. That was a driving factor for them.
We recently interviewed a company in Santa Barabara – EduCraft, that does this camp in summer. It’s a summer camp for 3D printing. They have had really good experiences. They tried different software before that was a little more basic, they tried Sketchup and didn’t like it. They had more issues with Sketchup because of its output and file errors. You chose the right one. It’s the one that’s a little easier. It helps you make more successful with that age group. That was a good choice.
I’m interested to hear a little bit about more about… so you didn’t find any curriculum that was good out there. What kind of criteria would have made the curriculum better?
I don’t recall the names of the ones I came across. There was a 3D printing company that has a curriculum for classes that I came across, it was okay. That category seemed to be a little bit more involved than we need it, was something super easy to get into.
My goal in the first session was to expose them to that Tinkercad, get running on everyone’s browser where everyone uses it on a laptop. By the end of our two hours together, we had a design that has been made in Tinkercad that we used Makerbot software to slice it and filed it on a card so that I could print for them. The next time the 3D print club came together, we would have it.
The things that I stumbled across on the web was just a little bit too involved. Following Tinkercad’s tutorial was great. We built upon this. The next time, the kids wanted to do more designs. They were doing a key chain. Some of them chose to put their names on a plate, making a key chain type of thing.
An interesting thing happened in the next lession when you’re on Tinkercad, one of the options there. You can download your 3D file. You can send it to Thingiverse. They were like, “What’s Thingiverse?” Literally, by the time I’m done talking about it, one of the kids was like “I got a group set up for us.”
They’re online doing it already. I love it!
I totally ran with this. They would find models that were interesting on Thingiverse and bring those back to print or modify them. They made a group on Thingiverse for this class. They started sharing their own stuff. That point on, I was not in control of the group anymore. They were just exploring their own learning. They’re having good time thinking about this virtual design world where you see on the screen, then you could actually see it take shape in reality. It’s connecting the dots in their brain that were brand new to them. It was to me too, as an adult, when I first saw 3D printing and thought, “That’s just cool.”
Now that you have taken the 3D print club from the very beginning all the way through to giving them a real world problems to solve. All of a sudden, that kind of bookends that whole learning session, it really gives them a little bit of taste of everything that they could do with it along the way.
That’s really the point of what you were saying before about wanting to give basic skills and design programming, and communications, and really trying to get kids to decide what they’re most excited about, passionate about. In this 3D print club, you’ve given them a basic understanding of it so that they could take it further on the areas that they want to. That’s a really great program that you developed, it’s a great 3D print club program.
The other element we added in there was at times, we would find 3D printing news and videos that were out on Youtube or something in the channel. We thought that was interesting. In China, there’s a place that in one day, they printed 10 houses. We’re just amazed by it in our 3D print club. “Wow! You can do that? What else can you do” We talked a little bit about the different kinds of printing technologies. It’s just to help expand thinking some more.
You’re in Colorado Springs, have you checked out Titan 3D with your 3D print club? They’ve got a gigantic printer. They’ve been printing up in Woodland Park there’s a dinosaur museum. The dinosaur museum is huge. They’re using one of these printers to print their fossils for the examples that they use in the museum so that they can be touched. If they need to be fixed again, they can reprint one. They’ve been using Titan Robotics. It’s huge. You can stand on them. They’re a super precise FFF printer with servomotors. They even have things that are huge like 4ft. x 8ft. beds that they’re creating for industrial and commercial applications.
For the next 3D print club, the next time you do it again, you got a field trip. You’ve got to work it in.
It’s interesting that you mentioned that, because we did a field trip later with some of the kids up to Sphero, which is a company in Boulder, CO. Sphero makes these little round things which look like baseballs that you can control with your iPhone. They make BB8 droid. You want to go buy your own Star Wars BB8. You can do that.
The connection here, you need to see the space, but there’s a robot that they’ve added a program into it. You can now program what you want you’re little ball to do. We were thinking if we go to the next level, we continued another 3D print club, which I’d love to do, but the time is a challenge here. All the kids really want to do the 3D print club again and keep doing something. We thought the next thing to do, which would be great, is to combine the two and do 3D printing with a purpose to customize your robot or maybe give it a new tool that your robot can use.
I love that idea. I remember as a kid having some toys, this was the beginning of a lot of personal electronics for toys especially in the 70’s or 80’s, we have this something called a big track. It’s a big monster truck. You could program it. This was not robotics like you’re talking about. This is programming a certain kind of movement and action. It was teaching you about programming actions and follow-through, seeing what it actually did. I think I would have loved building my own robot. I want to be able to take robotics to the next level with 3D printing, customizing, and designing them would be fantastic.
There are so many options nowadays. I’d love your opinion on this, there is a lot of news about Mattel coming out with their 3D printer. At this stage, it’s not using their most popular licensed items like Barbie. You can’t make Barbie parts for it or anything like that right now. The idea of that, that kids will be able to customize toys. What do you think about that?
I saw that announcement too. It’s interesting. It’s smart for a toy to experiment with. Sometimes, we have products like this on Amazon. Instead of waiting for it show up for two days, I can just download them to your printer. I can have this thing printed out for me.
It’s wise for Mattel to experiment in this space where kids enjoy the side of adapting their own. I wonder, and Tracy, you hit on an important point, that was back to why the kids in and outside of 3D print club like the 3D design more than the robotics, because there is something about starting from scratch, just using all their imagination entirely. I don’t know if Mattel will hit that sweet spot properly or not. We’ll have to see. See if it’s going to be too restrictive, more of just, “Here’s our collection of things. You can download them to add to your existing toys.”
I think there’s a place for that. There’s a place for that sort of more restrictive and downloaded, even on Amazon product download. For those that are needing that immediate gratification, wanting to see something right away, but not having the capability of doing that with your imagination. I agree with you. I think it ends up limiting the product.
This is what they opened up and how much flexibility they provide.
Let’s touch back on that, you have such a tremendous history and product management. I love your phrase: “product managers to product masters”. We’re really struggling with the transition of getting 3D printing more mainstream into a product management environment and that mindset of being a buyer or a product manager at a retail level.
Starting to think of the idea of on demand products vs inventory products, is a real challenge right now still. They really can’t imagine it. They can’t get over that cost-basis change idea of having a zero inventory. You have a zero carrying cost. You have all of these things. It is okay to cost a little bit more for 3D printed than it does to buying it in Asia. The mindset shift is difficult. What do you think it’s going to help to shift that mindset?
At the end, we need to have parody in terms of what we can get from products that we bought from the store. As a consumer, I tend not to accept going backwards very much. I’ll take incomplete or lesser experience for some brand new technology. Like one of the early adopters said, “Hey! That’s something new.”
One time, 3D printing was something new. Our early adopters wanted to try it out. Now, any category of products grows in the marketplace, and gets more mature. We have expectations built around that. If you test a motor vehicle, none of us would be interested on an electric vehicle if it didn’t at least meet what we’re used to in our car. Tesla is doing well because it’s a high-performing automobile whereas some others that have much shorter range. They go around in town but they may not be on a highway. They just don’t perform as well. We aren’t as eager to try those out.
I think, until 3D printing gets to the stage where it can do more, we can work with mixed materials, and we can end up with products that are similar to what we see on shelves now. We need to get there. The manufacturing probably has to become a good deal more robust before it’ll really be embraced. Until then, you just look for the niches where it does fit.
There are a lot of applications where there can be a parody of materials, maybe not entirely in final, finished surface quality – it’s coming. It’s getting a lot better. From a functional perspective, among other things, even some aesthetics and colors, different kinds of materials whether they’re flexible or not, there are definitely steps in the right directions. I can see that there are niches where they could completely do it today.
If people expect that they can be able to get on demand-printed some product that has multiple materials, it’s not practical today.
It’s like I were to go get an office chair customized for me, you guys obviously know a lot about office furniture, that would make sense to me. I want to have my body stay and have it fitted for me and have this perfect ergonomically correct office chair. We could probably print one with a reasonable sized office chair that would probably be good. We get to things that are similar to what we’re used to now.
I think you’re right that there’s a parody problem but there are areas and niches within it which it does work. We’ve been exploring those on our own design time as well. We’ve been noticing that there isn’t still the product management side of things that’s why it’s difficult. The idea how to integrate what is standard product that we’re comfortable with digital on demand, mixing that in, even having what we call hybrid products where you have a piece, but then, you have customized portion. Maybe, it’s not an entirely customized office chair. Most of the parts are standard but one piece is done separately.
The idea of how to manage and handle that is if they won’t start thinking about it now, they’re going to be playing so much catch up. This is where they could get disrupted by a company that can come in and do that better. That’s really the product manager side of it. I want them to start thinking about that because that’s a scary place when they end up their whole system disrupted.
If you’re in that design workplace, it’s the natural pull-through, that if you aren’t doing prototyping today with the 3D printer and if you are getting to the point where you go, “These prototypes are good enough for consumers.” You should be making that step for yourself, and asking, “Why aren’t we working with our distributors? Why aren’t we working our whole value chain to make that as an offering?” If you’re getting to a point where you say, “Why are we still manufacturing in a traditional sense? As opposed to just train our prototypes to be a real product.” You should think of that whole pull-through to the customer and how that can be part of their experience.
Part of the problem is there are not enough designers and developers in the process anymore for the majority of the products in the market. High-tech is different. There are certain areas that are but so much of it is just sourced. It’s already coming from a manufacturing place. It means it’s just bought from a factory or from another country. The way that the system has gotten, many sectors of the market have no designer in the process at all anymore. It’s completely a buyer says, “I want this”. The factory says, “Oh! We have that!”
That’s shifting the balance as well because they lost that loop that they used to have. Those companies that are still doing their design and development in house or still using consultants are going to be ahead of the game in the future. That’s a good place for them to be right now. It’s a good way to be competitive. It’s a good place for all these kids learning 3D printing to get educated and grow out to be meeting new challenges.
I want Renaissance children. I want the kids to have this understanding about art and design as a standard part of their education. It’s missing in so many communities right now. I want them to have technical skills and engineering exposure. It’s all of these things where they’re building things.
Makerspaces and 3D print club, the thing you’re doing, have really helped put that back into our education system. It’s badly needed. It’s great to see. I love it. Schools cut budgets and they cut industrial arts out of the curriculum. There is this pull for it from parents and students demanding it, seeking it out. Schools are now late to the party but realize that, “Alright! We’ve got to do this!”
I’m curious Chad, did you charge any of the kids’ family for materials or any kind of basic charge to help you in off setting cost of the 3D print club?
We did. I couldn’t tell you off hand what it actually was.
Parents are more than willing to do it. They’re like, “Great! It’s a place for my kid to go learn this. I’ll help to off-set the cost.”
That helped a little bit with the cost of the printer and other things. It was a money-loser for us. But, we were going to do this 3D print club with our kids regardless. Frankly, if you don’t charge for it, it’s not valued. We want the kids to feel committed. We want them to have an incentive so they show up. We want them to get their head in the game.
We look at it as, they are spending simply 3 hours a week with us. If you’re going to, any kind of activity, that’s on the order of $20-$30. I don’t know how we charge overall. I think it was $100 for the 8 sessions. It was a good deal. That was just the nature of the game. We just wanted to make sure they show up.
That’s great and really smart. It is music to my ears that I hear too often that organizations and Makerspaces, are really not charging enough for classes like that. It’s not that your kids are in it. It’s could be a profit-making venture. The expectation was not everybody can do this for zero cost. That actually helps the whole effort. It values everything.
We brought enough money to pay for the printer. That was good. People are thinking about doing this, I want to leave a few tips to explore; if you don’t have a printer yet, find an inexpensive one. The way I choose Flashforge was I quickly got overwhelmed with all the possible choices. I was on a trip when I talked to someone in California that had a commercial 3D printing space where they print for customers. He said, “You know, we like open source. We use Flashforge as our primary printer. We buy 40 at a time. We run them for a couple of thousands of hours. We use them because they just work.” That was enough for me. There’s lot of good choices and prices are coming down all the time.
Tinkercad is a great place to get started. There is a tutorial. For us, we are thinking of having another 3D print club. We want to explore the union of robotics and 3D design printing. I think that actually makes a really interesting and enriching course for the kids. Ideally, I thought it would be great if they had their own to take with them. That’s why we looked at Sphero.
I thought that was an interesting option. They’ve got a simple robot. They can do a few things. You can program it. It’s $99. Another one that came up on our radar was Edison. They look really impressive. It’s $49. It’s a programmable robot. You can add Legos to it. If someone wanted to do 3D design printing with kids that’s a good one for it. It makes some good tools to assemble.
Thank you so much for sharing that. It’s very helpful. You got to keep us posted when you do your next 3D print club, let us know how it goes
Alright! Thank you so much!
3D Print Club – Final Thoughts
I think it is so smart to have this 3D print club idea. We got a little side tracked and busy because it is not scheduled, so we haven’t been really consistent in helping Lannea learn 3D printing. If you discipline yourself to learn something, you will really be helpful to other. It forces you to be progressive about it and it makes you sure that you are continually doing that. Having a project and having a goal in mind is going to help you do it. 3D printing became a solution for things. I like these projects that Chad is working on. He integrates different disciplines in that.
This is a great way for you to do it with kids or do it for yourself. Think on the lines of a book club. A book club, as an adult, forces you to be on task because other people are holding you to be part of the discussion. It is a self disciplinary process. Some of us need that to get going. This is something where it is nice to have the skill, but if we are really going to make it happen and take it to the next level; we need to discipline ourselves to make it happen.
When he first got started two years ago, he mentioned he didn’t find any curriculum, but we know in the last year that there have been some curriculums created by others, you can use these and riff off them for some other club. I like the idea of the modern lemonade stand for a kid entrepreneur, not selling lemonade for ten times its real cost, but instead being more creative and create these license plates that are more customized and more fun than you can buy from the store.
I have this friend from high school and her daughter Marissa has a bath bomb. These are round compressed balls of bath fizz. They get compressed into a ball and you put it into your bath tub and give you all the fun things that you normally would get. She makes them custom and sells them on a Facebook page. It is accessible to you. You could even sell it completely on Instagram or Etsy. If you just want it to get it low, this is a great way to do it.
This could be a part of a club project. An entrepreneurial kid could just go door to door and show up and say that you make custom license plates. You want it to be whatever is fun for your club for your group to build together. If everyone has an interest on it, go with it.
There is so much capability to be personal in 3D printing. There are so many things to create as a project for a club. If it is an adult club, that kayak project is something that we had a bunch of comments on it. A project like that could be done where everybody contributes in making a piece of it. You can make it a lot faster. There are wonderful collaborative projects to be explored and done in a club situation like that. I keep saying that it would be a time constraint for me to learn CAD, but if I did it in a 3D print club situation where I was doing it with Lannea, then it would be highly possible for me to do that.
I am afraid once you start with Tinkercad, you are going to figure it out quick and you will hunger for more. If you start doing your own CAD work, it’s going to be like, “Watch out!”. It is going to make me more dangerous when you do stuff because I am more knowledgeable now. It does bring up a pretty good point where if you are a parent who would like to be able to have a 3D printer in your own home and you may want to have something that is expensive, that is just normal. If you think there is enough interested kids in the neighborhood, you could use that money to justify in buying a 3D printer. Sharing the cost of the 3D printer or having others to get the cost in buying that 3D printer, it would surely be a good way in doing it. It is really a brilliant way to get into it. It is a great way to do it. The service of how many kids that gets into 3D printing is really rewarding too. It is wonderful.
- The Everyday Innovator
- Turning Ideas into Market-Winning Products
- Chad’s 3D Print Club
- Eyeline Golf Slide Guide
- Flashforge 3D printers
- Lego Mindstorms EV3
- China 3D prints 10 homes in one day
- Mixel Mike on YouTube
- Meet Edison
- Skyflux Store on Facebook – Bath Bombs
About Chad McAllister
Chad McAllister is the host of The Everyday Innovator podcast, author of Turning Ideas into Market-Winning Products, and founder of Product Innovation Educators. He has been recognized as a Top 40 Product Management Influencer and a Top 10 Innovation Blogger. Chad loves helping product managers become product masters and has had the pleasure of training and coaching product managers at Microsoft, Kind Snacks, Level 3, Kohler, John Deer, J.D. Power, GHX, FedEx, Cummins, Compassion, Clorox, Cisco, Mastercard, SAIC, Thomson Reuters, Xerox, and many other companies.
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