Host a 3D Printing Class for Kids

Colby teaches 3D printing classes to kids. He says they are eager to learn, and they consider it a game. Of course, teaching children isn’t always the easiest thing.

Kids are the future, after all.

Here’s a brief lesson plan created by Colby:


3D Printers

Sharpened Putty Knife

SD Card

Blue Painters Tape

3D Printing Filament  (1 KG roll per 4 students)

Internet Access

Computers (1 per student)

3D Printing Slicing Software

Extension cords (optional)

Power strips (optional)

Air Compressor

Rocket launcher – This link includes steps for creating an air pump:

Measuring tape

Special protractor

Prior to Club Meeting:

Follow these steps while preparing for a 3D printing camp:

  1. Make sure students under 14 have parental permission to create a Tinkercad account.
  2. Find appropriate locations for launching rockets and plugging in an air compressor.
  3. Check printers to ensure they are working properly.
  4. Check that build plate is level before the first class.

You might also consider inviting students to bring their own laptops, so you will not have to supply all of them.

In this lesson, participants will learn how to use TinkerCad to model. They will utilize engineering principles to come up with unique designs for rockets and learn how to use 3D printers to make their own rockets.

What to Do:

Prior to teaching the first lesson, you may want to show students some tutorials on how to use the Tinkercad program.

Here, you can find Tinkercad tutorials:

This is how to use the align tool:

Lesson 1: 3D Printing

Length: 15 minutes

Explain various types of 3D Modeling.

There are hundreds of programs out there. Each has unique strengths and challenges. There are three main types of 3D modeling–sketch based, sculpting, and geometric shaped.

  • Elements of sketch based modeling

Programs: Solidworks, Onshape, Fusion 360, Sketchup

Favorite among: Mechanical engineers

Strengths: Sketch based modeling is very good for engineering projects because the shapes can be tied to a lot of math and are geometrically constrained in every way that you could think of to produce the exact shape you want.

Challenges: It is tricky to model something that has a lot of curves. An example of that is when you want to model a human face. If you tried to model a face through sketch based modeling, it would take many hours.

  • Elements of sculpting

Programs: Z-brush, Sculptris, various browser based sculpting, and Blender.

Favorite among: Artists

Strengths: Sculpting works well when doing things with curves. If you want to 3D Sculpt a face, it can take as little as 30 seconds. High end sculpting allows you to texturize objects, such as texturing a circle to look like a rock.

Challenges: Trying to use exact dimensions can be difficult.

  • Elements of geometric modeling

One way to solve issues seen in sculpting and sketched based modeling is to draw something up in a sketch based program and then load it into a sculpting program to get a desired look. Another solution is to use a type of modeling which combines the best parts of sketch based modeling and sculpting called geometric shape based modeling.

Programs: Tinkercad, Minecraft, and various AutoDesk 123D Softwares.

In our class, we will use TinkerCad.

Invite students to follow these steps to create a Tinkercad account.

  1. Go to Sign in or create a new account in the top right corner. Note: If they need to get parental permission to activate their account then they can temporarily use the teacher’s account for the day. But they still need get their personal account activated.  
  1. Click on the TinkerCad box in the top left to get to account home page.  


  1. There, select “create new design”. It will be located just under where is says “all designs”.

Invite students to create a particular design or create their own thing.

  1. Demonstrate the basic tools and how to 3d model

Show work plane. Teach them how to rotate around their object. Show them the measuring tool.

      2. Help them modify shapes

Teach them to translate shapes. Teach them to copy and paste shapes. Teach them to put holes in shapes. Help them align shapes and change color. Show them how to lock shapes into position.


Questions on how to do any of these steps? Here’s a great tutorial on TinkerCad. Let us know how you lesson with kids went in the comment section below!




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