For the past couple of weeks our 3D printer has been whirring away in the Mac Suite, turning virtual designs into real plastic objects. It’s all been part of a top secret project, which the Year 5’s and 6’s have been working on, which we can now reveal to you all!
This year, every child in Y5 and Y6 has made their own winter decoration using the 3D printer! These decorations are currently adorning the Mac Suite ‘techno-tree’, but at the end of the term the children are going to be given the opportunity to take them home to keep forever. They’ve worked hard and the results are really rather special.
Here’s how we did it…
We used a free website called TinkerCAD (www.tinkercad.com) to construct our 3D decorations, which were made up of 4mm cubes. We decided as a group that it’d be cool to have a theme for all our decorations and we chose the Minecraft-style 8-bit art as our theme this year. By building the decorations using 4mm cubes we could all adhere to this style, whilst being able to design and experiment with ideas rapidly. Some children decided to raise the height of some blocks to 5mm to add extra detail, which really looks good.
“It’s cool because you can make something on the computer and then it turns into something you can touch in real life. When I take my decoration home I’d like to hang it on my Christmas tree!” – Tilly, Y6
The next step was over to Mr Woolcock, who has been glued to the 3D printer for nearly two weeks, ensuring that everybody’s design had the chance to be printed. Even though it’s possible to fit up to four designs in the build plate at once, this was a lengthy process. To give you an idea of how speedy (or not!) the 3D printer is, it takes an average of thirty five minutes PER DECORATION!!
Despite taking a very, very (very, very) long time, the decorations all got printed and they look amazing. The excitement from the children upon seeing their designs in the real world has been infectious and several children are already planning their next 3D prints!
“It’s amazing how you can turn something that you just created on the computer into something that you can see and hold in real life. I’d definitely like to use the 3d printer again” – Haydn, Y6
At the end of the term the children have asked to take their decorations home in exchange for a small donation of 50p (to cover the cost of the plastic PLA filament used in the making of each decoration), so keep your eyes out for a letter coming home about that in the coming days.
And now, here’s a selection of the finished decorations!