“Keepin’ it real” is a term that became so widespread that it pops up in slang and urban dictionaries. But Dremel is giving the phrase a new meaning with the 3D printing educational package it’s made available for educators.
Designed from the ground up for ease of use, safety, low cost of entry, and interactive community support, the new offering consists of a 3D printer, 10 curricula that span a range of different lessons, and a wide network of partnerships, from 3D scanners to design software and educational resources.
Dremel’s 3D printer package has obvious connections to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) standards being emphasized in schools. But Eli Share, a senior project engineer at Dremel, believes the 3D printer can offer even broader benefits.
Tangible, Touchable Learning
“Some students are auditory learners, some are tangible,” he says. “If you can touch on all those areas at some point in a lesson — whether it be geography, history, or math — you can have a much larger impact.” For example, 3D models of geographic formations and 3D prints of historical figures can literally add a new, more tangible dimension to the learning experience.
Actually, what’s new is also old. 3D models and “manipulatives” — think skeletons and molecules — have been used in schools for generations.
Imagine now, however, allowing a teacher to create a 3D frog for “dissection,” so to speak, and re-assembly. The ability to model parts, assemble, and label them for tests ensures retention.
“The tool provides a little bit of the ‘output’ for the real process of thinking,” says Share. “And that’s what we’re trying to push along — design thinking and project-based learning.”
Dremel, a Robert Bosch Tool Corp. subsidiary in Mount Prospect, Illinois, has an 80-year history of providing tools for Makers, many of them “subtractive” such as handheld rotary cutting tools. 3D printing’s “additive” manufacturing process represents a new dimension to Dremel’s product line.
Comes with its own STEM Curriculum
At the heart of Dremel’s education package is the Dremel 3D Idea Builder printer, announced in September 2014 at MakerCon. The printer is fully enclosed — so fingers or hair can’t go where they don’t belong. The printer is single extrusion, offers 100-micron resolution, and a print speed of 150mm per second. It uses PLA plastic only — a nice safety touch, as no heater is required.
A Make: review cited the Dremel 3D Idea Builder printer for its $999 price point, its ease of use, and its out-of-the-box experience. When it debuted the 3D printer, Dremel aimed it at a consumer market through big-box stores where its offers so many of its other tools.
By applying its consumer experience to the printer, Dremel makes it especially suited to busy teachers. What’s more, Dremel partnered with MyStemKits to provide the models and curriculum for 10 3D-forms. MyStemKits specializes in vetted curriculum for standards-aligned 3D manipulatives and makes them available for teachers, parents, and students.
Plug and Play for Teachers
The result: An educator shouldn’t be intimated. “All they have to do is get the printer up, plug it in, and get all the benefits of 3D in the classroom,” says Dremel’s senior marketing manager George Velez.
Filling out its “end-to-end solution” are a series of key partnerships, including with HP tied to its Sprout 3D scanner. Sprout allows objects to be manipulated digitally then printed out using the Idea Builder.
In fact, Dremel and HP will have exhibits next to each other at the World Maker Faire New York on Sept. 27 and 28. Dremel will offer those attending a chance to create model cars, which they can then take to HP’s exhibit to digitize into a 3D image using Sprout.
Dremel will be demonstrating its latest 3D printer at the Make: Education Forum, which the company sponsoring as part of Maker Faire Week. The Education Forum is a gathering of technologists, educators, and policy makers to discuss the role and impact of the Maker Movement in STEM education.