There’s a whole lot of 3D printing going on

3D graphic saying "What is 3D printing?"

3D printing has become more prominent over recent years due to increased accessibility and increased real-world applications for 3D printer technology. 3D printers are more affordable now than ever, and there are plenty of free software options available such as Ultimaker Cura, TinkerCAD, Meshlab, and others.

SCETV Education continues to explore various technologies to support the diverse needs of education in South Carolina. Technology such as 3D printing is a valuable tool within the multitude of educational platforms such as STEM, educational technology, career education, and more.

What is 3D printing and why is it important? 3D printing is the action or process of making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, typically by laying down many thin layers of a material in succession. The 3D printer heats up filament material and lays down the heated filament layer by layer until the 3D model is complete. 3D printing is a tool that is fast becoming more common and has practical applications in fields such as manufacturing, medical, automobiles, fashion, art, construction, and more.

With its growth in popularity, 3D printing has become important for educators to understand in order to utilize it as a tool for student learning. 3D printing is now a significant skill for students to learn as they prepare for their future as creators and innovators in today’s workforce. There are many ways that one might use a 3D printer. An everyday example is if you’ve ever lost a specific screw or bolt when building something. You’re never going to find that screw or bolt that you dropped on the floor, so you might 3D print one to replace what has been lost forever. 3D printing is just another potential solution to your everyday engineering needs.