Problem-Solving Through 3D Printing & 3D Design
STEAM Project Guide & Curriculum



3D printing can do much more than create action figures! Based on successful programming in schools, libraries, and community centers, this guide explores free and flexible projects integrating science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.


The draft curriculum is available as a FREE PDF.
The current draft is feature-complete, and will be formally published when editing is complete and all gear models have been verified to work.
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Supplemental Materials


Table of Contents

1. An Introduction to Additive Manufacturing
  Before we create a 3-dimensional design, let’s see what other people have created. Once we see what 3D printers have already produced, we will better understand 3D printing’s strengths and current limitations.
     Activity 1: Explore a Collection of Public Models
     Activity 2: Meet Your 3D Printer
     Activity 3: Get Oriented with a Slicer
     Activity 4: Optimize Your Slicer

2. A First Prototype
  Let’s learn about the iterative process of prototyping using TinkerCAD, a simple set of tools for manipulating objects in 3-dimensional space.
     Activity 1: Explore the TinkerCAD Tutorials
     Activity 2: Create a First Prototype
     Activity 3: Iterate Your Design

3. Time to Play with Clay
  In the real world, a mistake with clay is difficult to correct. With digital clay, however, there is always an undo button. Let’s take a look at creating a more irregular shape using SculptGL.
     Activity 1: Compare Traditional and Digital Clay
     Activity 2: Improve Your Animal
     Activity 3: Import Models into TinkerCAD
     Activity 4: Export Models from TinkerCAD for 3D Printing

4. Cookie Cutters from Scratch
  Nothing better exhibits extrusion than turning a simple line drawing into a 3D shape. Let’s create line-based cookie cutters using CookieCaster and PicSVG.
     Activity 1: Create a Cookie Cutter Using a Single Line
     Activity 2: Create a Cookie Cutter Using Multiple Lines
     Activity 3: Trace a Cookie Cutter
     Activity 4: Import and Extrude Line Drawings in TinkerCAD

5. From 2D to 3D
  While solid objects can be useful, many of the most useful designs in the world around us are made of interconnecting parts. Let’s create an interlocking design using two or more flat objects.
     Activity 1: Break Three Dimensions Into Two
     Activity 2: Create the Front and Profile Views
     Activity 3: Modify Parts for Interconnectivity

6. Building Geared Devices
  If you’ve achieved a perfect fit with your 2D assemblage, you might be ready to take your skills to the next level. Let’s see how gears fit together to make moving machines!
     Activity 1: Create Common Gears
     Activity 2: Assemble Gears into a Functional Device
     Activity 3: Modify Print Settings for Functional Parts

7. Additional Challenges
  With your core skills already developed, you are well on your way towards creating anything you can imagine. Here are a few further challenges.
     Activity 1: Badge / Medallion
     Activity 2: Bookmarks
     Activity 3: Bracelets
     Activity 4: Light Box
     Activity 5: Marble Roller Coaster
     Activity 6: Construction Set
     Activity 7: Minecraft Export


Content and Design © Matthew Hagaman