3D Printer STEM – Using your 3D Printer for STEM Projects

3D Printer STEM – STEM Projects Improved With A 3D Printer

3D Printer STEM3D Printer STEM projects are all the rage in our house (Science Technology and Engineering and Maths projects). With an engineer and teacher in our house, our girls aren’t going to get away from the fun of problem solving and building. In our house, its a whole family activity that is made easier with our 3D printer!

What I didn’t realise ,when we bought our first 3D printer 18 months ago, was how useful it was going to  be in creating rich learning environments for our girls. 3D Printer STEM has taken what would have been an average to good STEM project into projects that really work well and turned the projects in toys our kids want to play with.

The best bit is – if you don’t have the parts for the project you like, you just make them!

It’s a perfect tool to stretch upper primary+ kids or make it a family activity by getting mum or dad involved in critical parts.

I’ve been browsing STEM projects for a while when I stumbled onto Left Brain Craft Brain. They have a brilliant STEAM bored jar which has a list of 50 projects. My trouble was that I was missing critical items. That’s where our STEM projects became 3D Printer STEM!

A home schooling dad recently bought one of our DIY 3D printer kits because he wanted to try out 3D printers with his kids without paying a fortune. We told him that he wouldn’t be sorry. There are so many projects out there that can be adapted or extended with a 3D printer. They are perfect for budding little scientists and engineers to develop their problem solving and design abilities!

Feel free to check out our kits at 3D Printers Plus. We made a model that anyone with average DIY skills can put together.

Here’s some of our projects we’ve done recently.

3D Printer STEM Project 1 – The Water Wheel 

3D Printer STEMI knew the principles of STEM were working in our house when our 3 year was watching Play School and saw them making a water wheel. She turned around and asked if we could make one too. I smiled! 

We didn’t have Play School’s materials but we did have a bbq wheel, plastic shot glasses, cable ties and tape. Unfortunately though, our rod didn’t quite fit the hole in wheel. It was a STEM project that definately worked but it slopped around a bit. 10mins later, Craig came back with a little bushing he quickly printed up on our 3D printer. Our little girl’s fingers where soon putting the wheel back on the rod with the 3D printed bushing and we were back into testing mode! The wheel ran cleaning and the project was a great success! The best bit is she now sits in a big bucket and gets the wheel running with water to spray all over herself on a hot day.

3D Printer STEM Project 2 – The Indoor Pulley

3D Printer STEM3D Printer STEM

The indoor pulley was another winner with our 3 year old. We used the 3D printer to house a couple of little bearings we had lying around the house.  The challenge was then for our little one to to create a basket system to carry marbles. She told me what we could use to put holes in the styrofoam tray and then helped in cutting and threading the string. When we were done, she got her counting finger out to work out that she could take 28 marbles in the lift to the roof.

Of course, it was too good a project to leave for just transporting marbles. We had to build some sky scrapers. We counted out the 53 blocks for each “floor” and then put stickers on the floor for places where the lego people could get off. Floor 22 was a favourite where she set up the ice cream shop and had people going up and down the “lift” to get their snacks.

3D Printer STEM Project 3 – The Balloon Car and Sailing Car

Our 3D printer has drastically reduced our family’s DIY project bill. As I write, my husband is off t

I had wanted to experiment with making some cars with Ashley for a while and I knew the Balloon Powered Car was going to be a good place to start. I asked Craig if he had any dowel or something we could use for wheels. Everything we found in the garage was going to be just too heavy. An hour later he came back with 3 sets of light weight, multi sized plastic wheels for us to experiment with. Ashley weighed a couple of different bases I had lying around and decided that the pool noodle was the lightest and probably going to be the best. I love the reasoning!

I think my favourite part of this project was watching the delight in our little girl AND the husband as the car did burn outs on the kitchen tiles (one of the axles wasn’t 100% straight.)


There was wind gusting outside that afternoon so we figured it was worth making a sail car with the other set of wheels. The car came to life and took off all over our back area. With just a random stick, cellophane and the straws to reduce friction on the axle, we were off in no time.

What We Learnt

  1. Nothing is too tricky (something Ashley has been saying for a little while) because tricky is just a great chance to solve a problem.
  2. You don’t need to go shopping for some of the best STEM projects. Use a 3D printer to make whatever you are missing. Winner!

Check out our website 3D Printers Plus for more blogs on 3D printers and home schooling and to find out more about the 3D printers we have for sale.

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Montessori Fraction Circles – Frac Stac – The Fraction Circle Game

Montessori Fraction Circles – 3D Printers for Mathematics

Montessori Fraction Circles

Montessori Fraction Circles

Frac Stac – The Complete Set of Fraction Circles 

3D Printer Design Files Finally Available on Teachers Pay Teachers

I’ve posted a number of blogs on ideas we have come up with using our 3d printer. It’s been really encouraging the response and encouragement we’ve had but always the question – would you consider selling it? We’ve finally found a way to make our designs available to people on the otherside of the world where postage is prohibitive.

Well here it is. 3D Printers Plus now has a presence on Teachers Pay Teachers and we are finally ready to let go of our IP and let people print our designs for themselves.

What is Frac Stac?

Frac Stac is inspired by the Montessori range of self-correcting toys that lay the foundation for learning through play.

They can be used as a tangible aid in Maths when doing any manner of fraction work or as a game. Game ideas are included below.

What Design Files are included in the Montessori Fraction Circles

Montessori Fraction Circles

x1 Container (not necessary to print though)

x1 ring

x1 Whole circle

x1 circle of ½’s

x1 circle of 1/3’s

x1 circle of 1/5’s

x1 circle of 1/6’sMontessori Fraction Circles

x1 circle of 1/8’s

x1 circle of 1/10’s


How Frac Stac – The Montessori Fraction Circle game can be Played

For Younger Children
Frac Stac Puzzle

Create circles made with matching colours or mix them up to see what pieces of the pie will fit in the pie ring.

For Older Children

Frac Trade

Place the ring in the middle of 2-3 players. Place a half piece in the centre of the ring.

Make 1 to 2 rows of all the remaining pieces to the side of the ring to make the “pack”


The person who can remove the most amount of pie by matching pieces with the equivalent fraction wins.

 To Play

Each person starts with 1 piece of the pie from the pack.

Each player collects a new piece from the pack at the end of each turn.

When a player can match an equivalent fraction with any piece in the middle of ring, then they may remove and replace the piece in the ring. The removed piece is kept until the end for scoring purposes. i.e. If someone has x2 ¼ pieces they may remove the ½ piece from the middle. Then in someone has x2 1/8 pieces they may remove a ¼ piece of pie.

Play continues until all the pieces in the pack are gone.

To Win

Everybody constructs as many whole circles as possible with their pieces removed from the middle. The person with the highest whole number and fraction wins.

Fraction Multiplier

To Play

Place all the tenths, eighths, sixths and quarters into a container.

Each player select 7 pieces.

Place in the middle a 1/2, a 1/3 and a 1/5

Each player rolls a dice. The first die is rolled until either a 2, 3 or 5 is shown. This indicates which fraction piece they will be multiplying (1/2, a 1/3 and a 1/5)

The second roll is the multiplier. For example, if the first roll is a 2, then they are multiplying the ½ fraction. If the second roll is a 3, they need to multiply ½ by 1/3 = 1/6. If the player has a 1/6 piece they may discard it.

To Win

The first person to get rid of all their pieces wins.

This game and 3D design files are  © by 3D Printers Plus www.3dprintersplus.com.au

Click to get your 3D Printer Design files for Frac Stac

3D Printers for Mathematics – 1-20 Counting Game with Padlocks

3D Printers for Mathematics – Our Latest Offering for the 3-6 Year Old

Padlock Pandemonium – the 1 – 20 Counting and Matching Game

I’ve posted a number of blogs on ideas we have come up with using our 3d printer. It’s been really encouraging the response and encouragement we’ve had but always the question – would you consider selling it? We’ve finally found a way to make our designs available to people on the otherside of the world where postage is prohibitive.

Well here it is. 3D Printers Plus now has a presence on Teachers Pay Teachers and we are finally ready to let go of our IP and let people print our designs for themselves.

padlock 5 small

What is it?

Padlock Pandemonium is a counting game for young counters and perfect to add to the collection of classroom or Home-School Maths Games.

Count the holes on the key… match the number on the padlock – release the toy.

It is also a wonderful busy activity for parents of pre-schoolers to Year 2 children for restaurants and other places where quiet play for active fingers is useful!

How it is Played

Children count the number of holes on the key tags and then find the matching padlock. All manner of items can be clipped into the padlock for students to unlock and release from their captivity (These items are not included) However, they can include aliens or geometrical solids… or whatever. Feel free to check out some of the items we have available to supplement this game if you don’t have toys or counters lying around the classroom that could be co-opted into playing Padlock Pandemonium. Padlock Pandemonium can be played individually or in groups up to 4. It can also be played as a race to see who can liberate the most toys or just as a happy play time.

padlocks all small


This game is wonderful for fine motor skills in manipulating the keys and padlocks as well as counting up to 20. Design Features The key tags have been designed with holes large enough for even 2-3 year old counting fingers to easily distinguish the one hole from the next.

How can I get it? Click to visit our Teachers Pay Teachers Site

 What’s Included

This full version of the game contains the 3D Printer design files for THE KEY TAGS 1-20. What’s Not Included – 20mm Padlocks: These can be purchased from Bunnings or if you are happy to wait 2-3 weeks, they can be purchased cheaply from overseas ebay suppliers for around $1.50AUS or $1.14US
– Key Rings: You can find these cheaply on ebay www.banggood.com is a reputable and reliable supplier of just about anything. – Toys to lock up and release.

3D Printer Requirements The gcode file provided is for a printer with a 0.4mm nozzled 3D Printer, using standard PLA plastic. It has been created to use a 50% infill.

Note: If your printer doesn’t have a standard 0.4mm nozzle, we have also included the STL file which can be used to generate the gcode for your printer. (The IT guy at school will know exactly what’s required 😉 if you are new to 3D printing or anyone that has done any 3D printing before.) There is also no reason why you can’t still use the gcode provided though and if its not optimized for your machine, then look at creating gcode specific to your printer.
This design is copywrited by 3D Printers Plus www.3dprintersplus.com.au