Recently, the Middle School multimedia class worked through a 5 Step Design Process to create a custom 3D Container. Here is the process they have been working through over the past few weeks.
We began the process by brainstorming ideas about containers that could meet a specific need for a specific audience.
Students researched online to clarify their ideas by looking at other ways people may have designed a solution.
Next students developed a prototype for their idea. They began by building a life sized model using file folder cardboard. Students had to keep the size within 90 mm wide, long, and tall (to limit the amount of filament and time their design would require to print.) This step was trickier than it appeared at first because measurements needed to be precise. Sometimes it was hard to translate the ideas they had in their head into an actual model. Most of these models were fairly simple variations of a box.
Before moving into Tinkercad to begin their design in 3D, each student had to write a blog post explaining their idea. Classmates used comments to give feedback and to ask thoughtful questions that helped to clarify ideas. (You can view student blog posts here – search using “3D” to find the posts that relate to this project.)
Then students then built their prototypes using the online Tinkercad website. We printed the beta version of their designs using our Dremel 3D40 and 3D20 Ideabuilder printers. Some designs failed to print successfully or were printed only part way when size or other issues appeared. Other designs needed revisions to better fit the objects they were supposed to contain or to address flaws in the designs. We held a class focus group for each printed design to help students evaluate and think about ways to improve their containers. Students wrote a second blog post documenting and evaluating their prototype.
It really helped for students to be able to hold their design in their hand as they evaluated on their first version. Then students went back into Tinkercad and reworked their design to address flaws and difficulties. The second or third iteration of their designs showed thoughtful improvements. Students were also challenged to add a visual element to further customize their container. Many students used flaticon.com website to search for .svg files which could be uploaded into Tinkercad and added to their design. Here are a few examples of how student designs evolved:
The last step in our Design Process was for students to write a final blog post to show their project, explain their revisions, and reflect on their process. Students did an excellent job discussing how they had improved their designs as well as thinking about areas they could still improve.
Students were overwhelmingly positive about using this design process to create in 3D! They loved that they had freedom to come up with an idea and create it from scratch. They felt a sense of accomplishment and pride as they saw their containers evolve and improve. Their blog posts demonstrated evaluative thinking throughout the process – all important 21st century skills!
Disclosure: As a part of the Dremel 3D Idea Builder Ambassadors program, our school is receiving the use of the 3D40 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!