Uses for a 3D Printer around the Home

Part 1 – Uses for a 3D Printer –Curing The Chronic DIY-er’s Bank Account

The uses for a 3D Printer around the home are simply ENDLESS! DIY is all the rage, from home decorating, making your children’s toys, or projects in the yard. We have found that 3D printers are brilliant for reducing the cost for MANY projects.

Uses for a 3D Printer – helping the Chronic DIYer save money.

Since being married to my husband, I don’t think we have gone more than a few days without a project on the go and as all wives know, projects cost MONEY. I am always supportive of the latest project because I can’t bear having a husband with no creative focus. Our 3D printers have fuelled my husband’s need to create for over 12 months now, with minimal financial outlay to try out his latest venture.

Other uses for a 3D Printer – providing the parts for the next DIY project – whatever it is.

Our 3D printer has drastically reduced our family’s DIY project bill. As I write, my husband is off to visit the neighbour to learn more about how to build an Aquaponics system to aquaponicsgrow vegetables. Already he has the Grow Pots printing away on our Prusa i3. All it took was a quick search on Thingiverse to find that someone else had done the hard work for him.  Check out these Hydroponics items – 3D Printed Hydroponics Grow pot3D Printed Hydroponics Pump Connector3D Printed Hydroponics Venturi My husband is inspired by 3DPonics, a group of keen 3D Printers who printing creating Hydroponics parts. I no longer worry about what he is interested in and how much it will cost. Our 3D Printer lets my chronic DIYer keep himself entertained and creative while taking the whole family on the journey with him.

More uses for a 3D Printer – repairing broken items and sIMG_7051aving money on replacements.

Just this week, my husband printed up the $60 coffee plunger handle that broke when it
hit the floor. Rather than buying a new one, it took 15 minutes for him to design a new cap and I love it! I thought 3D printers were a gimmick when he first suggested the idea but they have very much become part of our life – from the fun stuff to the practical. We regularly say amongst ourselves that we can’t remember life without our 3D printer. It really has left its mark on the Lennard family.

Still more uses for a 3D printers –replacing costly or difficult to find items.

Just this Christmas, my brother in-law brought with him his favourite, but ancient fishing rod with a busted part. I was excited to see him catching on – 3D Printers can be used to fix things that cost a fortune otherwise! Fishing rods, drones, helicopters, remote control cars…

What I love most about our 3D Printer is that my Chronic DIY husband is able to spend time on his hobbies without neglecting the family.

Other DIY projects have seen him lost in his garage for weeks on end or inside with us but me knowing he really wants to be outside working on his latest design. Our 3D printer sits in our office where our 2 year old happily sits on his lap watching the 3D printer or sorting nuts and washers on daddy’s table. He does his designs in a room where the family hangs out. I LOVE the creative outlet that our 3D printer has given our family.
Our 3D Printer has cured my husband’s battle to balance family and hobby time. It’s provided an all weather creative outlet to solve everyday problems around the Lennard’s home.

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3D Printers in Schools or Homes?

kids3dShould there be 3D printers in schools or is there a better way to pass on the educational benefits of 3D printing?

I believe that having 3D printers in schools is a no-brainer but question whether the students are getting much out of them?

A Year 10 student stood at our stall at the Newcastle Computer Fair last week while his Dad marvelled at our 3D printer. He young guy excitedly started telling his dad how he did some design at school for the 3d printer at school. When Craig asked him how he it turned out his response didn’t surprise me. “Oh.. there wasn’t time to print it.”

Time… you need lots of it with 3D printing. As a teacher myself (Mel), I have been thinking about 3D printers in schools. Having taught Graphics Technology, I have seen what 14 year olds can design with something as simple as Google Sketch Up – I KNOW that having the capacity to actually print what you have designed is a major educational advantage! It is the whole NSW Design and Technology course in a nutshell. Design, test, redesign, test, design, build.  What better tool to use than a 3D Printer. The Reprap 3D Printers were created exactly for the purpose – to rapidly test prototypes.

The issue is time.

When a print can take half an hour plus, what options does the teacher have? In a 50 minute period, does 1 or 2 students get to watch their design be printed? You can’t just buy a super fast 3D printer because they don’t exist.

Does the poor teacher get to baby sit the printer while printing 30 students 30 minute prints? I shudder at the thought and am glad that I don’t teach Design and Technology.

What’s the options?

Will 3d printers only be used for demonstration purposes?

Will the students lose the educational benefits of experiencing  the process of design, print, redesign, print, redesign… until finally they have an amazing working 3D model!

I sincerely hope not.

I see a few solutions for 3D printers in schools.

  1. Purchase multiple 3D printers. It’s sure to help with the behaviour management for the kids who are hanging around waiting for their turn.
  2. Purchase a DIY 3D printer kit between 2 and have Year 10+ students assemble them as part of their Design and Technology course. Give the students the option to purchase them at the end. Imagine putting that on the school’s glossy brochure to attract students. “Build a 3D Printer!”

Or are we left with

  1. Buy the 3D Printer for the home. If the school isn’t able to really expose students to all the benefits of 3d printing, then get a kit for the family. Make it a family hobby where your teenager’s time is spent designing and printing rather than gaming


How much money does your school have to throw at science and technology?

I saw the face of our Design and Technology teacher fall as we spoke about 3D printers in schools. He was struggling with his budget to adequately teach the rest of his course. I seemed to be presenting his dream class but he knew that the finances weren’t going to be available.

That’s just a few of my thoughts on 3D printers in schools and 3D printers at home. I’m convinced of their usefulness and am grateful for the schools who are already using them, even if it is only for demonstration.

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