One of the places I go for inspiration for 3D printing projects is the dollar store! I look for ideas of small items for which our students could create new design elements. In December the middle school multimedia class used Tinkercad to design their own custom night light cover for printing with our Dremel Idea Builder 3D40 printer.
After students had viewed a few tutorials for Tinkercad and had some “playground” time just to explore, they began the design process. The first challenge was to design a base the would perfectly slide onto the night light. This involved a lot of real world measurement and evaluative thinking (which I love).
Each student ended up printing several iterations of their base design before they designed one that fit perfectly. The bases were pretty quick to print, so we wanted to make sure they were right before continuing. Since these students had already done several projects using the our Dremel Idea Builder 3D40 printer, I was able to let them take charge of getting their files downloaded and ready to print, loading the filament, leveling the build plate, and starting the printing process. The onscreen directions on the control pad are easy enough for middle school students to follow on their own after being instructed on the process!
Next step was designing a front for the night light. One design was a Minecraft style face with holes for the eyes, nose, and mouth. The student used the tools available in Tinkercad to create shapes and holes.
Another design used a reindeer .svg icon that was downloaded from the Flaticon website. This file was imported into Tinkercad and was used to cut out a shape into the front of the night light. One challenge in this design was trying to figure out a way to keep the nose and eyes connected to the cutout. (Unfortunately, my photo of the finished project is a bit blurry, but you get the idea.)
The third design was a mermaid. This student could not find a .svg icon that she liked, so she decided to create her own. She used sharpie markers to draw her mermaid, photographed it with her iPad, and then downloaded it to her computer. She used an online converter to change the .jpg file to .svg which could then be imported into Tinkercad. Her design looked amazing when done! This student ended up taking her .stl file home to continue working on it in Tinkercad over vacation to get it to fit the night light better. She is fortunate that her dad has access to a 3D printer! I’m looking forward to seeing the revised design.
Teacher Notes: Tinkercad does not let you to create drawings or upload .jpg files, but it will upload .svg files. We used the following website to search for .svg files to use for this project. Black and white solid icon images work best. You will have to choose to download the file in .svg format.
If you want to create your own drawing or have a .jpg file that you wish to use, you can convert the file to .svg format. Here is the website that we used:
Disclosure: I am delighted to have been named one of 10 Dremel 3D Idea Builder Ambassadors for the 2016/17 school year. Our school will have use of a Dremel Idea Builder 3D40 printer and will be developing and sharing lesson ideas.
As a part of the Dremel 3D Idea Builder Ambassadors program, our school is receiving the use of the 3D printer for one year.
If you are interested in learning more about the Dremel Idea Builder 3D40 printer, you may contact https://3dprinter.dremel.com/education-request. I’d appreciate it if you noted Karen Bosch/this blog post as a referral in the comments/questions section at the bottom of the form. Thanks!