Jonathan Barker

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A 3-D Printer In Every High School.

A 3D printer in every High School would have several instant benefits:

-Massive flexible design opportunities for teachers and students.

-Not as dangerous as a clay firing kiln... 3d scans of clay sculptures could be printed

- Trades could learn CAD software and print with the latest Industrial Design prototyping methods which is becoming industry standard process.

- Biology students could print animal skulls, bones, teeth, etc.

- Enable students to leverage the immense Google sketchup library of 3d models

- If it isn't needed, it isn't printed. Total customization to the curriculum needs.

Draw Backs

- It's costly right now... 6000$ for a decent printer. The development of printers are following Moores Law however!

Thank you for reading! Love your comments! I'm passionate about this technology!

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    Nov 16 2011: Thank you for commenting!

    Concerning Art:
    I love hands on art too! (I am an illustrator!) but in the older grades, 3d scanning could take a perfect 3d snapshot of a student's sculpture. This could then be stored indefinitely... or wired to Paris for an art gallery showing. 3d printers on site would not be the limitation for size. Just look at

    Concerning cost:
    In grade 1 our school purchased it's first PC. By the time i graduated grade 13 our high school had a computer in each classroom and 6 labs of 20+ computers. In 13 years computers had completely saturated the education system. What will happen in the next 13 years? Who can tell. But there are important global problems to deal with.

    But I'm looking at the principle of the technology more than the cost. (Cost-smosht) Imagine a world where we cannot afford to ship products across the continent due to the price of gas. How will towns and Cities create their necessary plastic items? Automatic factories that rely on 3d printing (both metal and plastic) might be useful in each town. Power them by solar energy and use plant based, biodegradable Polylactic Acid (PLA) (for example) and you could have completely self sustainable plastic factories in every village

    It will be important that we have a generation where at least one high school student graduates each year with the knowledge to run such a system. In a world where cars are no longer an option for many reasons(even according to FORD motor company) "Shop class" might well become "3D printing class"

    Who would go to war for oil if we didn't use oil?

    "If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children".
    Mohandas Gandhi
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    Nov 16 2011: As much as I love my 3D printer, I think that the budget wouldn't be able to expand to allow for that kind of cost. In the 2009-2010 school year there were 98,817 public schools in the US. Assuming that the printer costs 6000, for each of those schools to receive a printer would cost a grand total of 592,902,000 dollars. That's not even an accurate number, because for schools with a large amount of students, the government might have to provide more than one, to make it somewhat feasible that all the students get a chance to use it.

    On another note, I doubt that an art department would ever give up a firing kiln in exchange for a 3D printer. Part of the experience of making art is using your hands. Using a 3D printer would defeat the purpose of the art program. Another problem would be the size that the printer is able to print. If schools had a makerbot, that would allow only 4*4*4 objects to be printed.

    However I do think that it would be greatly beneficial for projects, and teachers. Plus, it would allow children who were interested in technology to play around with, and learn about. I think that it would be a great thing for all kids to get the chance to be exposed to, but on the other hand, I don’t think that it’s gonna happen any time soon. But it would be great!
  • Oct 23 2011: My high school had a 3d printer, and it was really cool. However, it was also very expensive to operate. You not only have the fixed cost of 6000 but u also have a variable cost for the plastic and support material.

    We also had a laser printer, which actually was used more often, and was cheaper. I think the laser printer would be more feasible.