This is an introductory project that is great for introducing teachers and students to 3D printing. It requires very little specialist knowledge and is a wonderful gateway project to build confidence with 3D printers.
One of the big challenges when introducing a new technology into a school is getting busy teachers to take the first step. 3D printing is a very new technology. Teachers from many subject areas are interested but are put off by the time commitment associated with having to learn 3D modelling in addition to learning to drive the printer. This project was successfully created to introduce teachers with no experience of 3D design or 3D printing to using 3D printers.
Recently this project was run at Wellington High School, New Zealand with two groups of Y10 (~15Y.O) students over two weeks by teachers with no 3D modelling experience and only a minimal introduction to using the printers. By the end of the project the teachers (and students) were much more confident about using the 3D printers. They could now see a reason to learn some 3D modelling and were starting to look for other projects that they could be used for.
The main value of this project is that the 3D printer and 3D design skills are not the main focus. The main focus is on the creation of an original cookie cutter.
Teachers: Gain confidence in the 3D printer with simple prints.
Students: Varies depending on the grade level.
- Younger: Making the cookie cutter: Drawing, cutting, visualising a simplified image.
- Older: Product design cycle, Modify and simplify a design to work as a cookie cutter, basics of using a 3D printer
This project can be modified to work with any age group. I have run this with students aged from year 0 to 12 (5 to 16Y.0.)
This project intentionally requires very little prior knowledge.
- Coloured paper, scissors, pens, scanner or digital camera
- Computer with 2D drawing program and some experience using it.
- Computer with internet access to use cookie caster.
The instructor should have gone through this process at least once so they are able to assist students.
It is best if the students can take the project through to baking and decorating the cookies. So you will also need
- Cookie ingredients
- Cookie decorations
- Access to an oven
- Research your cookie cutter. This could be a character from a book that the class just read. It could be a 3D cookie. For a senior project it could involve market research into appropriate shapes for a new product.
- Design your cutter. For younger students they can draw and colour in the shape they want to be the cookie. It works best if the design is cut out of coloured paper/card.
- Take a high contrast photo/scan of the design. Dark card on a light background will not require any extra processing to work with cookie caster. Make sure the cutter takes up the whole frame.
- Open http://www.cookiecaster.com/ . Use the Trace tool, upload the image. Trace the image with the pen or use the Magic trace tool. Set the size, height and thickness. Smaller cutters mean faster prints so you can get through a whole class with two or three print beds. I find that “Extra Thin” 1mm works well for the wall thickness.
- Print the cutters. These cutters print very reliably and are unlikely to have any issues. It is a good chance to learn about the difference between printing with a raft and without.
- Bake, decorate and enjoy!
At the end of this project students will have a custom cookie cutter to take home. Hopefully they will also have some yummy cookies.
Grading could be based on the design of the cutter, the outcome of the baking or a description of the design process.
Junior example - 5Y.O.
This drawing took some post processing before the automatic trace tool in cookie caster would work
Classroom example: 14Y.O.
Design project example: 16Y.O.