How STEAM Studio uses AstroPrint to Teach 3D Printing to Kids

In early 2016, we founded STEAM Studio in Wexford, PA, as a place to teach kids STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) concepts with hands on projects and experiments.

From the beginning, we wanted 3D Printing to be a big part of our curriculum and projects. 3D Printing gets kids excited about engineering because of the hands on nature of having to design, print and take home cool objects.

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3D Print Completed Notifications

It’s quite normal that a 3D Print job takes hours to complete, even days. But what’s really annoying is not knowing when the object is ready for you to take off the print bed the second it finishes. All that anticipation…

No more delays! AstroPrint has now added a “Print Job Completion” notification. You will get an email the moment your print is ready for you to marvel at. We even include the last photo taken if you had the time lapse feature enabled during printing.

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Share your 3D Printing time lapse videos

There’s nothing more mesmerizing (and time wasting) than watching a 3D Printed object come to life out of a 3D Printer. It is also a great way to show a person how additive manufacturing works.

AstroPrint has, for a long time, allowed our users to automatically capture photos of the object being printed. This was primarily for monitoring and print failure analysis. However, we thought this data can be used for something more fun.

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The rise of 3D Printing is inevitable

We’ve been talking to a lot of people about our vision for AstroPrint and 3D Printing as a whole lately. Some people are still adverse to the technology and place too many expectations on what it should do to be successful. These are some of the most commonly asked questions by this crowd:

– What can you make that’s useful with a 3D Printer?
– Why would I spend $1,000 to make things that you can buy much cheaper at the store?
– Is the quality of the printed objects ever going to improve?

Why do we insist in judging 3D Printing based on utility and force ourselves to calculate the ROI of buying these machines? I propose that we start looking at these amazing machines as entertainment devices instead.

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Cura vs. Slic3r Performance

This post originally appeared in Kevin Weirauch’s blog.

Hardware

Printrbot Simple Maker Edition – this actually started as the original Printrbot Simple and I used the Makers Upgrade kit to get it to this version. See some of my previous posts for that process.

Custom Heated Bed – I hacked this to mount under the aluminum print bed. About 1/4 inch had to be cut from either side and of course a separate power supply had to be used.

Software

Astroprint – fresh off their successful Kickstarter campaign, I decided to run their ‘cloud slicer’ through its paces. They offer both Cura and Slic3r configurations. I can’t attest to what their settings are, but for the purposes of this test, it’s best that they are constant.

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