Last week in Tinkering Workshop – an after-school Extended Day Program for Second and Third Graders – students had a special request. Previously, they had built a catapult and examined the effects of changing the length of the lever on the fulcrum. This time, they wanted to use the school’s 3D printers to create a familiar figure: R2D2. iLab Manager Patrick Neary agreed, as long as they designed it from scratch.
“The students were already aware that our MakerBot printers will only print one color at a time,” said Mr. Neary. “As such, a discussion ensued about which of the available colors would be best, and they decided on white plastic for the final 3D print with different colors of indelible Sharpie markers.”
The Middle School Exploration class 3D Apps for 3D Printing is currently working with Tinkercad, so Mr. Neary thought that this would be a great program for the Second Grade students to start with. The students had a little exposure to Tinkercad as First Graders and they were excited to start using the program again now.
“Using the iLab Mac laptops, I signed each student into Tinkercad. A third laptop was used to find a good reference photo of R2D2. Here, a student is shown working with Tinkercad primitive shapes (cube, cone, cylinder, etc.), to create his initial R2D2 model. The screenshot of his Tinkercad session represents 45 minutes of work. To quote a notable Star Wars character: ‘Impressive. Most impressive!’”