3D printing in the Education: Why Teachers Like SelfCAD

 |  Sammy Ekaran

Happy Friday! Today we are featuring an interview and case study we conducted with Stephen, tech teacher from the School of Engineering at Hermon High School, Nebraska.

Sammy: Can you tell us what motivated you to choose SelfCAD as a 3D program to be used in your school by your High School Engineering Students?

Stephen:  Thank you, Sammy, first and foremost, as someone who is in charge of the Engineering and Wood Working department in our school, I have always been looking for easy 3D CAD/CAM program that will be able to help our students improve their creativity.

Once I came across SelfCAD I thoroughly tested it to see if it would be a good match for our school. I wanted a modeling program that would be easy for our school to adapt and advanced enough to be able to, at a minimum, ensure that every student could walk out of the semester with a 3D printed model. 

Sammy: That's great Stephen, and how did your students receive SelfCAD? What was their perception towards it?

Stephen: It was quite good, though it was still new to them, as time went on we saw a lot of progress when it was time to print at the end of the semester with our Ultimaker 3D Printers.

Sammy: How many 3D printers do your school currently have?

Stephen: We have four Ultimaker 3D Printers in total but in several weeks, we will be adding more which we will have ready by August 2018.

Sammy: What's the biggest challenge teachers are facing while teaching 3D Modeling or CAD in the classroom?

Stephen: Well, there are two main challenges teachers here are facing. One is the lack of familiarity with CAD programs, that is, most of the teachers are not designers, hence teaching becomes a challenge.

However, this technology has given us another tool to incorporate into the interactive classroom. For us, SelfCAD and Ultimaker have given our school another avenue that allows our teachers to incorporate STREAM into our daily lessons.

It adds another layer to the curriculum, allowing us to dive deeper into the lesson plans from a different standpoint – 3D printing.

Print time also is a factor. Thankfully, we have worked out that the best time to print is at the end of the day. Sometimes we let our printers run all night so when we return in the morning, the printer will be free to start the next students' designs.  

Sammy: Learning CAD at any stage can be challenging. Have you seen our CAD tutorial videos? Can you also tell me, which is the biggest challenge students are facing with 3D Drawing?

Stephen: Thanks Sammy, I have seen them, and we are currently going through your series on 3D Arts & Crafts. The main challenges that the students face are not knowing the basics of CAD.

Sammy: I understand, and I think with time, those fundamentals will be taken care of and become second nature. What motivates the teachers (and school) to teach 3D CAD Modeling? 

Stephen: Well, we have 3d printers in the school, so everybody is eager to use them in order to design something that may be of great use to the school instead of going to the shop to buy them. Why not save the planet, you know?


Teachers are also motivated to teach 3D printing since is part of the curriculum and is very interactive for the students. Students love the class and love that by the end of the lesson, each will be leaving with a 3D printed object which they made!

Sammy: Wow! that's great. What is the most successful thing designed and printed in your school?

Stephen: So far we have managed to work on several projects and the most interesting one is the famous 3D Benchy in which almost every student has successfully designed and printed. We gave each student the option to fully customize the Benchy, whether by color or adding something special to disgush from their peers.

Sammy:  The 3DBenchy has really become a classic 3D print hasn't it? Thank you very much Stephen for taking the time out of your schedule and speaking with us, I wish you and all your students the best in 3d printing and CAD Design. 

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