A simple yet powerful 3D design tool to use in class
HOW 3D MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN CLASS — Teachers Stories #4
When it comes to 3D modeling tools, there are quite a few out there for teachers to choose from. Some have proven to be very capable but that usually comes at a high price, while others are free and unfortunately yielding less professional-looking results. What if we told you there’s a 3D modeling tool you can use in class, is easy to use and teach, and enables you to create incredible designs?
Kai Holmes is a high school teacher in Bristol, UK and an early adopter of desktop 3D printing in the classroom. He teaches product design to students aged 13 to 19 and is trying to integrate what he has learned about 3D printing and CAD into his new school’s product design department.
I was using Autodesk 123Design with my students but this is no longer supported, Fusion 360 wouldn’t run on our older PCs and Tinkercad was too limited, so I have been searching for an alternative. Vectary is perfect as it’s browser based so the students can use it at home and also has lots of powerful features.
Based on the video tutorials from our YouTube channel and website, he put together an induction course comprised of five lessons to share what he has learned about Vectary in his six months of use.
This was to help his students easily learn to design and print their ideas and components. It is a great approach as they experience hands-on learning and go through the complete design cycle, from creating a concept to 3D modeling and 3D printing.
Some of the most recent projects he and his students have worked on involved 3D modeling a flashlight and creating a key fob. Students had to pick a world city, sketch some ideas and then model and print a key fob inspired by that city.
He also had some of his students create wheels for their model cars using our Wheels plugin and he’s now trying to figure out how to make them more 3D printable.
One project turned out to be quite popular among his students — the “Egg Cup”- designing a children’s egg cup with a specific theme. The results were very creative, with students making egg cups in all sorts of shapes.
Fish egg cup models:
Kai wants to introduce Vectary to all of his classes, which is more than 190 students, and even to other school departments:
“I’m aiming to use Vectary as our principal 3D modeling platform. I have even trained up some of my colleagues, though once they had started they were keen to get on with their own projects as they were enjoying creating so much. I do love the organic shapes and patterns you can create in Vectary, that’s what first drew me in.”
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