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.

With the help of the founders of 3DPPGH, Ryan Priore and Chris Yohe, our printer farm started with a single Monoprice Architect, and then added 3 Monoprice Select Minis, and a Folgertech Kossel 2020.


As the printers started to pour in, it became clear that keeping all of them printing was going to be a big problem. The kids LOVED watching the printers work, and were always asking ‘Did you print mine? Did you print mine?”, so we had a pretty demanding audience to deal with.


Slicing models, copying on SD cards, and manually keeping track of everything was quickly becoming a big pain in the neck – especially with a small mob of excited humans.

This is where AstroPrint came to the rescue!  As soon as we hooked it up, it was a night and day difference.

3D Printing became so much easier, specifically:
  • After installing a camera, we were able to monitor prints remotely from home… to make sure they weren’t turning into a big blob of PLA spaghetti. 
  • We could print out the same model many times (through the Print History feature) or easily re-slice the design file and print it on any available printer. 
  • One of us could take prints off the printer, and the other could remotely start new prints from home. 

This was great, but it got even better when we discovered that AstroPrint could print models from Thingiverse using the built in Thingiverse app!

Now, kids could create models in Tinkercad, push them to Thingiverse, and print them directly from Astroprint.

We finally had a way to go from model creation to print WITHOUT needing to save/upload to a local machine.

During the summer, we held 3 x week long 3D Printing camps (each with 12 kids).  Every day each student created several models to be printed.

Without AstroPrint, keeping all of the printers busy would be an absolute nightmare.  With AstroPrint, we had every student’s design file(s) ready to print the following day.

For one camp, kids modified RC cars to add 3D Printed “battle bot” pieces, which they designed and printed. Then we held a battle at the end of the week. AstroPrint kept our printers busy, by constantly printing spikes, name tags, and shields, so that on the last day, everyone’s battle bots ready to rumble!

So… Why does STEAM Studio love AstroPrint?

It makes our life easier, it makes the kids happier, and the constant updates and new features makes it even more fun to use!
This is a guest post written by Sarah Ezolt & Phil Ezolt of STEAM Studio, which uses science, tech, engineering, art, and math to inspire the next generation of inventors and innovators with a focus on teaching creative problem solving, logical thinking, mental flexibility, teamwork, and collaboration. STEAM Studio is based out of Wexford, Pennsylvania.