Kimball Union Academy: Teaching 3D printing during Covid-19

The Covid virus has brought real challenges to 3D printing educators. In a typical 3D printing lab, students congregate around 3D Printers as they wait for their prints to finish. They share computers, sd cards and so on…

Giving a 3D printing class seems impossible these days with the new social distancing standards. Some schools have simply decided to close their 3D printing labs, letting the printers collect dust.

Others, like Kimball Union Academy, have decided to use AstroPrint to keep 3D printing in their curriculum. And, as we’ll see, this new need has led them to drastically improve the way they teach 3D printing.

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How makers are using Clusters to 3D print PPEs worldwide

We asked some groups in our community how they are using AstroPrint Clusters to coordinate efforts to print PPEs for hospitals and other groups in need. Here is what they had to say:

Printing PPEs in Cincinnati

Patrick Bennett and Richard Eichhorn are coordinating efforts in the Cincinnati Metro Area including Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. They signed up in the AstroPrint Clusters app to become regional coordinators for the Cincinnati area.

We talked to Patrick to find out more:

How many people have joined your cluster and how many parts have been printed?

“We currently have 14 users in our cluster and have printed just over 200 prints which have been distributed to hospitals and local municipal Fire Departments, as well as individuals who need them for their essential businesses/organizations.”

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How to Set Up a 3D Printer Farm to Sell Drone Parts

I think it’s just about identifying a gap in the market and coming up with a design or product that could potentially fill that gap. 3D printing allows you to create products that don’t currently exist in the market

Neil Watts

Neil Watts is a 3D printing enthusiast who has turned his hobby into a business. His online store, Aero3D, sells custom accessories for drones to customers worldwide. Neil doesn’t have a background in design, but he’s taught himself to design parts with basic cad software.

In this interview, Neil tells us about:

  • How he found an opportunity in custom drone parts and how other 3D printing enthusiasts can find market niches.
  • How he finds clients without spending a penny on marketing.
  • How he manages to run 13 printers simultaneously while still keeping his corporate job.
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How to Set Up a 3D Printer Farm to Sell Cookie Cutters

Since we print on demand, we can sell zero of a design and it doesn’t cost us anything other than my wife having fun sketching it. If I put a product online and it doesn’t sell, we don’t lose anything.

Mike Benner

Mike and his wife Shey are the founders of Sheyb, an online store where people can find custom 3D printed cookie cutters. They make their own designs and print them on demand. Currently, they have a farm of 30+ printers and their business keeps growing.

In this interview, Mike tells us about:

  • How they started their 3D printing cookie business.
  • How they manage and monitor their 3D printer fleet.
  • How they leverage social media to drive sales.
  • Where Mike sees other business opportunities for 3D printing entrepreneurs.
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