Just a few years ago, almost all of the consumer 3D printers on the market, were very clunky, difficult to use, and they would take the typical person a few hours, at minimum to learn how to use. Boy are thingschanging! Back a few years ago I thought to myself, ‘what an amazing tool a 3D printer would be in a child’s development’. I have always felt that hands-on experience was the key to teaching children about the world. Children do not naturally have the ability to sit in a classroom watching a teacher lecture for hours on end. They need experience in order to learn. 3D printing is the perfect way to put that experience in a child’s hands
Up until recently though, this was not an easy task. For one, 3D printers were still very pricey, costing around $2000 to $3000 for an adequate device. Not only that, but they were so difficult to use that teachers who did have access to such devices oftentimes complained. The time it took for these teachers to learn enough about the machine, in order to feel comfortable using it, almost wasn’t worth the benefit that the children may have received. The other main issue was that 3D printers can be dangerous. In order to build objects, the polymer filament of an FDM printer must be melted at high temperatures. Not only this, but the moving parts within the machine could also be dangerous to younger children who have the urge to grab anything they see move.
One company called Mission Street Manufacturing is looking to change all of this. Last night they launched a crowfunding campaign on Kickstarter, where they are seeking $50,000 for the development of their Printeer 3D Printer, by July 10th. The printer is targeted towards K-12 education and use.
“In a digital age, technology skills are some of the most important a child can learn. We also know that kids learn best when they are empowered and engaged. With Printeer, we have made 3D printing, one of the world’s most exciting new technologies, accessible and fun for kids of all ages. Now playtime and learning time can be one and the same, and 3D printing can finally be in the hands of the world’s most creative people,” states the Printeer website.
There are several ways the team at Printeer is making this device the perfect 3D printer for children of almost any age. Here is a short list of some of the amazing features which differentiate Printeer from other 3Dprinters on the market today:
- Absolutely no wires besides the power cord
- Completely enclosed, meaning no accidental burns or interference with moving parts
- No CAD software required, uses a simple, easy iPad application for design, which takes 30 seconds to learn
- All moving parts are colorful as well as visible, allowing children to learn how the machine functions
Printeer can also utilize more professional CAD files, if the user desires. The iPad application is perfect for children, as they can both design and print, all from the same application. The company has released the following specifications for this device:
- Printer Size: 16 in. wide, 9 in. deep, 12 in. tall
- Printer Weight: 12 pounds
- Build Envelope 6 in. by 4 in. by 5 in.
- Nozzle Size: 0.5 mm
- Filament Type: 1.75mm PLA
- Spool capacity: 1 pound of filament
- Removable bed
- Automatic bed leveling
- Custom iPad design software
- RepRap g-code compatible
- Requires wifi to operate
If funded, which it certainly appears they will be, the first Printeer 3D printers will begin shipping to Kickstarter backers by September of this year, and the entire first production run will be shipped by October. For those interested in backing this project, a contribution of $549 will get you in on the first production run. Initially the company had offered 10 early bird rewards, which was a Printeer printer for just $499, but these quickly sold out within hours.
Let us know what you think about this new 3D printer, targeted towards education, in the Printeer forum thread at 3DPB.com. Check out the Kickstarter pitch video below: