Should you use 3D printing for your kid’s science project? Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard have some serious misgivings about this seemingly brilliant idea of using this technology for homework. Why? Because they, too, have a kid, and they have tried (and failed) to do so. Listen and learn about some of the repercussions you have to seriously consider before jumping into it.
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My Kid Has A Science Project, Should We Use 3D Printing?
This is the WTFFF?! 3D Printing podcast Ask Us Anything segment.
I like this question. It’s a good one.
We had the same issue. The question is, my child has a science project.
Is there enough time to do it using 3D printing?
From personal experience, no.
You’re setting yourself up for disappointment. If you’re starting from scratch and your child has a project with a certain deadline and then you’re going to try to get it done with 3D printing, that timeframe is going to be tough to keep to and do maybe the best job possible on a project. Not knowing exactly what the project is.
Lannea had a project and we thought it would be fun, but it took us long to teach her how to make a simple little crown 3D printed. We never got to make any of the items that were in there. If your child is farther along, if they already have CAD experience or if they already know how to use the 3D printer, perfect project. Go for it.
If you’re wanting to either buy a 3D printer to use it for this purpose or going to use one at a service bureau or some other location, where you have access to one like in makerspace and it’s the first thing you’re doing, I would not recommend adding that pressure and having a grade on a project on the line.
Don’t let your grade depend on it. This brings flashbacks of our nephew, Ryan’s spaghetti project.
You have these physics projects where you got to build a bridge out of spaghetti and glue that spans a certain distance and has to hold a certain weight. Anything that gets into that range, it wouldn’t be my first project. Would it be down the road? Sure. If you’ve got a high school student who’s got some experience with it or even younger that has some experience is key, so they know a bit what they’re getting into and you know what they’re getting into from a little experience of watching them.
This is the thing unless you have tapped in for your child to have help and you are capable, there are a lot of issues and questions. That’s the last burden you need on a graded project.
The other thing they’re going to do is if they are enjoying it and they’re into it, they’re going to be spending so much time on this. You’re going to see the homework assignments for other classes suffer at the same time. As parents, we need to be structured with our kids about the amount of time they can spend on it and make sure that they’re not cheating time away from other assignments.If you are planning to use 3D printing for your kid’s science project, you’re most likely setting yourself up for disappointment. Click To Tweet
You’ll find that they’re making little figurines and they’re out there downloading things off the internet and printing them. You’ll find that they get distracted quickly and it’s a lot of fun. That’s not most conducive to graded projects.
That brings up another small good point though, Tracy. With kids, we’re giving them access to computers and the internet. I don’t know, you parents out there, how many of you have your internet locked down so your kids can’t search on certain things or get at certain things. We learned that the hard way with our oldest daughter. We had to get security software and lock her down. I wonder if that presents a challenge for kids going out and downloading things off some of the libraries that are out there.
I’m not fond of that part of Tinkercad. Once you’re in the system, your projects are live, you can post stuff up, share them, and things like that. I’m not fond of that. I want to lock it down. You have to think about that.
It’s a cautionary note for your parents out there. We advocate and embrace the idea of getting your kids into CAD and trying experimenting with 3D printing, but you want to be a little cautious. Make sure you have real oversight over their use of the internet. Tinkercad is an online program so they have to be on the internet to use that.
There’s the sharing aspect of it. I forget whose design library I was on, but I was going through my usual where I check through the design library to look for anything fun and new to let you know about on Instagram. I’m looking for holiday projects, anything good for the holidays. I’m out there looking for it and there’s also no screening on some of these design libraries where they post up what the most popular prints are and it was not for our children to be seeing.
Did you find something not appropriate?
Yeah, right on the front page of this website. They’re not screening that as well because it’s an algorithm. If it gets downloaded a lot, it ends up at the front of the queue. You have to think about that. You don’t know. There are a lot of things that I wouldn’t want my six-year-old to see, for sure. I’m not sure I want my twelve-year-old to see it if I had a twelve-year-old.
I didn’t mean for this to go off on a long tangent, but it’s a good point. Maybe this requires a longer podcast with an industry expert.
We’ll talk to somebody about that.
It’s an important issue, especially as we know a lot of our readers are interested in education involving 3D printing.
Some libraries with some safety precautions. Some hidden areas would be nice.
I wonder if some of the people who are focused on that market like Polar3D for instance, who are focused on the student market and they have a cloud and all that. I wonder if they’ve put measures in place to protect.
We’ll have to ask around.
We’ll check that out.
Thanks for that question. We hope that it was a helpful discussion for you.
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