Looking for something to print to motivate high school students.

I was wondering if anybody out there could tell me a good item to print on a Zebra Dimension bst768 Printer. The reason why I am looking for something to print is because I am trying to get students to join our engineering program here. I want it to motivate them to want to join. Also looking for a project for 4th year students so they can create it and print it and take it home...

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9 Answers

I modeled a iPod/iPhone holder once, that was designed to fit into a car's cup holder. It printed well, and was fairly simple to model. I still use it. Something like that, that students can design and use everyday would appeal to young people I think. Seeing a physical representation of something that you designed is one of the coolest things in engineering. The trick is to provide them with an opportunity to design something simple that involves things they see and use everyday. That way they are intimately familiar with what functions it needs to provide. Plus when they print it, they can also use it, and show it off, which would be the best advertisement for your program at that age group.

 
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Try the Brain Gear
Everyone that comes to our shop is fascinated by it.

 
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A 3D Print to get high school kids excited?

Ipod or cellphone accessories come to mind. Car stuff - miniature engines with working pistons. Video game system accessories maybe.

Robots are popular. Something like a working wind turbine model could be striking to students. Also 'harmless' weapons like a trebuchet or catapult might also appeal.

To me the best school projects were always ones where I got to choose myself what I was going to do.

 
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Brent - the cup-holder iPod holder is a really great idea for appealing to high school students! Great idea to suggest!

I also think the simple fact that you can get prototypes directly and quickly from CAD is the exciting and compelling thing about modern CAD->product development.

If William does a 'hall way presentation', preferably near where the honors classes are, where he shows the machine printing, he may find he suddenly has more students than he wants! It is magic, the 3D printing.

 
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The "Tadpole Trike" by Corbett S is cool and already available in an STL file. Tadpole Trike

 
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For some insight, checkout the makerbot website.

They have been doing events where they setup a bunch of 3D printers and let people come and choose models to print for themselves.

Sort of like a prototype\fab tradeshow booth.

 
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Maybe try with model of nanotubes in large size or to nodel BUCKY balls joined in chain. Good models may be taken from MEMS area - lets to make a clock in scale 1000:1 - I saw model with motor which is consisted from two actuators and small gear which move a bigger gear.

 
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If you want Students to be interested in Engineering, you need to get them excited about what they are interested in RL (Real Life). Most students are very interested in Video Games (fantasy). One thing that I have noticed about models as people are very interested in Specific Games and the Weapons and Gear used in the games. If you could find some simple designed weapons or items used in video games, they will be able to relate to them and probably tell you everything there is to know about that particular item. I have been an Engineer for over 30 years and I love to make Star Wars items. There are so many popular games out there, you will have to learn the things they like. One of the most popular items in Star Wars is the Lightsaber, as well as the different types of blasters and such. I am not suggesting this to get them interested in weapons, but to get their attention. A few years ago there was no Clear Aluminum and Star Trek used it in one of the episodes and now there is a material that exists in real life. All I am saying is, if a student is interested in finding a way to make a real blaster or lightsaber, they have to have someone like you to get them excited about engineering. A game geek can definitely become an engineer.

 
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Being closer to that age, I agree with the video games answer. Also if you could set it up so they can play around with geometry in the printer, they'd go bonkers for that too. Kids who are drawn to engineering like creating and trying different things, and its very empowering to have created something yourself

 
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