Lieve Boeykens June 6, 2014

What do you do when you love your work and have a Friday afternoon off? Right, you invite the class of your 10-year-old son and explain 3D Printing to them. Momentarily, they are learning all about topics under the theme “building”, so the timing was perfect.

Staring directly in the face of 3D Printing. Well, at least the face of a 3D printed self portrait of Stephen Jones.
Staring directly in the face of 3D Printing. Well, at least the face of a 3D printed self portrait of Stephen Jones.

So we started off by discussing what is “3D” and hearing what they already know about 3D Printing. We found ourselves in the company of the girl with the very first printed hairpin, which was a gift from her dad, Johan Ex, a colleague at Materialise. I was also quizzed with questions such as, “How long does it take to 3D print a house?”

Here we are analyzing the teacher’s design in Magics. He did an almost perfect job, except the ring was not complete.
Here we are analyzing the teacher’s design in Magics. He did an almost perfect job, except the ring was not complete.

We continued by discussing the different technologies, and that there are techniques that work with powder, with fluids or with a wire. We also learned that some techniques need a support structure which is removed later and that we prepare the platform in a software platform (that is Magics, of course ;)). And then it was time to tour around. The kids were impressed with the machines and all the models in our demo shop. The One_Shot.MGX, the most beautiful example of functional integration got a lot of “Oh’s” and “Ah’s” and kids wouldn’t be kids if they didn’t take this opportunity to touch a printed part as well.

The kids loved the One_Shot.MGX.
The kids loved the One_Shot.MGX.
They got to see the One_Shot.MGX turn into a fully-functioning stool!
They got to see the One_Shot.MGX turn into a fully-functioning stool!

When touring around with the kids, it was fun to see the faces of my colleagues: first surprise, then a big smile, just from seeing these kids walking around being really interested and behaving very well. They brought up some real interesting questions: “Can you recycle the powder?” “How much money do you earn (as a company) with this?” “What are these flaps in the machine and why does that light always go on and off?”

They were all excited to see the Connex 500 machine hard at work.
They were all excited to see the Connex 500 machine hard at work.

After the tour and seeing all the examples, the kids were eager to start making their own designs. They started on pen and paper and started to reflect on how it is to design in 3D. It was nice to see their minds working and reflecting on this.

What would you design to be 3D printed?
What would you design to be 3D printed?

The following day, I met a mom of one of the boys on the tour. Her son had already designed 30 lamps in the meantime, and was already thinking about which ones he was going to sell! I’m still meeting moms and dads saying their kids loved the visit and were impressed by it. I had a great day and apparently so did they! Mission accomplished!

What are some of the possibilities of 3D Printing? Discover our case studies and find out!