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!




The Different Types of 3D Printing Enthusiasts

Sometimes, people put 3D printing into a box. Yes, a printer might be a box, but that doesn’t mean your imagination should be. People can use 3D printing for a variety of projects ranging from artistic to business-oriented to just plain silly.  We talked to three very different individuals about what they use 3D printing for:



Char is a 27 year-old mommy of two living in SoCal. She loves surfing and runs Char’s Unique Creations, an online Amazon store. Recently, she created a hair tie bracelet made from aluminum. She started the process by working with our company to build samples of what she wanted. Then, she went to Custom Products to get her bracelets machined into metal. Now, the bracelets are up are and available to purchase online! We think they are pretty dang adorable.



Hyrum is a ten-year-old in Erda, UT. He’s crazy goofy, and he wanted a giant sword. So, we printed him one. Then, he tried to attack the family cat with it. He said 3D printing makes things look really awesome.



Craig is an Entomologist in his 40s working with Utah State University. He does scientific research on bees. He used 3D printing to create a faster solution to getting pollen off bees.Now instead of spending hours scraping pollen off bees, a 3D printed design solved the problem!


A Three Year Old Gets A New Hand

Colby met the Christensen family while working at a 3D printing trailer  during the Utah County Fair. Their little boy was missing a hand, and they’d been thinking about printing him one.

It was perfect for us because Colby’s been wanting to print a hand for some time. He jumped in to help them out! While working at the fair, he started printing parts for the hand.

We spent several Mondays over at the Christensen household putting the hand together. We considered various sizes and printed multiple prototypes. Finally, the young lad had a finished hand!  We’re not done yet though. An even better hand is in the works.

I interviewed their three-year old Daxton about his hand, and he excitedly told me how happy he is about it. He got to pick the colors for one of the prototypes, and he’s happy its blue and orange. He said he enjoys moving his hand, and he’s played football with it. He hopes to be able pick stuff up with the new hand they’re working on.

He’s been going around telling friends and others about his new ‘robot hand’. For Halloween, he plans to dress up as Darth Vader using his new hand.

My husband really enjoyed learning how to create hands and so did I.  He said he taled to another kid who wants to print hands for his Eagle Scout project. It’s pretty fun to help other people!

Want to create a 3D printing hand? Here’s some step-by-step instructions.


Strange (and really cool) Filament Types

It’s true that people usually print in PLA or ABS plastic. But, there are all kinds of interesting filaments out there. Bored or interested in trying something new? From wood to aluminum, here are some of our favorite filament options:wood

  1. Wood

We purchased some wood filament and tried it out. It’s not the best thing around. Picture the glue and sawdust toys during WWII. That’s what you’re going to get. Still, it’s a lot of fun. Wood you like to try it?

2. Nylon

Nylon is a great choice if you want something flexible. It’s also super strong. Literally, it’s used in parachutes for skydiving. So, if you want something you can bend a lot, nylon works well.

  3. Aluminum

Searching through Amazon, we found some aluminum filament. It’s made from 40% aluminum and 60% PLA. We haven’t tried it yet, but you want to. You’ll have to let us know what your experience is like.


4. Chocolate

Feeling hungry? Chocolate is a popular option when 3D printing! Colby is creating a lesson plan now to teach kids to print candy. Holidays are coming up, so you could make something edible and personalized too.

Know any other fun filament types? Let us know in the comments below!