Diving deeper into the issues faced getting 3D Printers in schools, we have found that 3D Print education discounts are rarely publicly disclosed on 3D Printer manufacturer web sites. Because the large CAD software companies have programs that are easy to buy from and use straight over their web sites, as parents, we have gotten used to just being able to buy for our kids by emailing proper documentation like school ID’s. 3D Printing requires a little more digging to find the hidden discounts that can make it possible to bring 3D printing in schools and onto our students desks.
3D Print Education – CAD Software Discounts
In the 3D printing industry, there are a lot of free online software resources like Autodesk’s 123D and Tinkercad. This makes 3D Printing for kids very economical. Every professional grade CAD program we checked has a free trial offer and comprehensive educational discount programs, including Rhino, which is what Tom uses everyday.
Schools developing a high school or middle school STEM curriculum and integrating 3D Design and 3D CAD in addition to 3D Printing have more complex software needs. CAD programs that allow for more robust and advanced exploration and application to 3D Printing are much more applicable. However, you may not want to purchase a large number of software seats on this before you know the number of students.
The future of 3D printing in education is getting in early with the youth and starting with a free program from the same company that offers you some of the advanced versions as well is smart. Typically they all have similar menu styling and terminology making learning the more advanced version easier to tackle.
Going to 3D Printing School
3D Printing schools, teaching both CAD and Design for 3D Printing for adult or professional education, are not easy to find. However there are some trade schools and community colleges offering a 3D Print design degree usually in the form of a certificate program in conjunction with design for manufacturing programs. Large art schools and their continuing education departments, like our alma mater, Rhode Island School of Design typically integrate 3D Printing into a lab and make it accessible across disciplines or integrate into a foundation 101-style course to teach all design students.
Every manufacturer should have a 3D Print educational discount, but you might need to dig a little to find it. When we checked into this late last year, we only found one company actually published their program – Polar3D. But since CES 2016, we have seen the shift in focus from so many companies like Makerbot and XYZ Printing. Every printer company wants to expand their base of 3D Printing schools. Just ask your dealer or the manufacturer directly. If they don’t have one, move on to another resource.
Whatever 3D printer or CAD program you start with, getting a good foundation in the principles of design is essential. 3D Print education has been slow to incorporate this aspect because it is so difficult to teach or find a teacher with both product design experience and 3D Printing. For us, it took us 24 years to be product design experts but only 6 months to learn how to 3D Print. Design and figuring how to create in CAD what you want to print is harder than learning a software package and learning to run a printer. Spend your money on the right educator and the curriculum and use the plentiful discounts for CAD software and 3D Printers.