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3D Thinking in the Classroom

3D Thinking in the Classroom

3D Printing 101: What is 3D printing?

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, refers to processes used to create a three-dimensional object in which layers of material are formed under computer control to create an object.

This process provides makers with incredible flexibility in being able to make objects that would be impossible to create through traditional manufacturing methods such as subtractive manufacturing, where material is removed to make the object (machining or woodworking), or injection molding where the flow of the molds are the limitation.

Types of 3D printing

SLA (Resin + UV Laser)

SLA works by exposing a layer of photosensitive liquid resin to a UV-laser beam so that the resin hardens and becomes solid.

Stereolithography has great accuracy, but the resin is expensive and the overall process is messy and unsafe.

SLS (Powder + Laser)

SLS is similar to SLA, but the key difference is that this type of 3D printer uses powdered material in the build area instead of liquid resin. A laser is used to selectively sinter a layer of granules, which binds the material together to create a solid structure. 

Selective Laser Sintering is expensive, necessitates using messy powders and is space intensive.

PP3 (Powder + Ink)

Powder printing provides a full color 3D printing option using a combination of powder and ink.

This provides an impressive result, but these machines are expensive, and the finished prints are brittle and require labor-intensive post-processing.

FDM (Plastic + Heat)

FDM is the most common 3D printing method used in desktop 3D printing. Thermoplastic filament is heated and extruded through an extrusion head that deposits the molten plastic in X and Y coordinates, while the build table lowers the object layer by layer in the Z direction.

Fused Deposition Modeling is the most viable consumer option with a great balance of capabilities, ease of use and it costs less.

Ease of use versus capability

The most viable 3D printing technology for consumer use is determined by comparing the ease of use and capabilities of each printing method.

3D Printing in the classroom

Now more than ever, today’s classroom relies on a suite of advanced technologies to accelerate the learning process and foster a more collaborative environment, giving students and educators alike innovative new ways to achieve curriculum goals in the 21st century.

Decades ago, computers revolutionized the age of information and now they play a pivotal role inside of today’s learning initiatives.

3D printing is blazing a similar trail of progress as more and more are put to use in our homes, businesses and schools.

Cycle of student impact

In the same way that the adoption rate of modern computing was driven by educators in the 80’s and 90’s, 3D printing is a technology that is readily being adopted and utilized by educators to prepare students with skills that employers are seeking.

Robo at school

3D printing provides a world-class learning platform for students and teachers alike.

Our products give students a wonderful way to develop their own designs, solve problems, explore new ideas, and then print and test their ideas right away — and they’re great tools that fully support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Teaching the design cycle

3D printing gives nearly any idea a bigger arena to flourish, ensuring a physical means to explore and more critically evaluate concepts — and those objects related to them — that supersede the limitations of two-dimensional space.

From ideation, to creation, to execution — all key steps within an object’s “design cycle”— each finished 3D print reinforces those new classroom standards and efficiencies that are integral to the learning process.

To think up an object and bring it into existence with rapid efficiency, as something to see and touch, also represents a major historical achievement — another kind of technological revolution set to inspire the young minds whose contributions undoubtedly move us forward in our tomorrow.

3D thinking is the movement

Project based learning

Now, more than ever, project based learning is becoming a major focus in this new age of education.

Project-based learning gives students a level of autonomy that pushes them to think of new ways to solve problems as they complete assignments.

This innovative approach challenges them to seek answers by doing, wherein facts become evident based on what they learn along the way. Instead of following a universal, one-size-fits-all approach to learning, how the student discovers information becomes a unique experience that works in parallel with how they think as an individual.

3D Printing provides learning opportunities in many subjects

Provides learning opportunities at many levels

Elementary / Middle School

By accessing and developing key foundational skill sets through Robo 3D printers, students  begin to understand important lessons about trial and error, problem-solving, patience and  time management for a  wide range of projects.

Secondary / High School

Students at this level gain an edge as early adopters of 3D printing — providing them with  newfound creative skills that translate to career success for future jobs within the fields  of  science, technology, engineering, design, mathematics and  manufacturing.

University / Trade School

Once in the midst of establishing their careers within the STEM-related fields, Robo 3D printers provide students the ability to learn in a more hands-on way, further elevating critical thinking and analysis in a concept’s / project’s “design-cycle,” while giving them a  fully tactile means to create the solutions they seek in real time.

3D printing content aligns with STEAM and NGSS

From gaining insight on the inner-workings of a DNA helix, to the technicalities involved in vehicle construction, to understanding the physics involved in rollercoaster design — and much more — the learning opportunities provided by 3D printing are endless!

Robo 3D printers inspire a better way to learn

As traditional classrooms evolve to support more STEAM-related subjects and activities, students at the elementary, secondary and university levels need the necessary tools to thrive in this new approach to learning.

Robo 3D is designed for education

   Integrated on-board slicing — No download needed to   print directly to your Robo printer- Results in Chromebook   compatibility.


Uniquely designed Robo extruder works with nearly any 1.75mm filament




Onboard LCD screen lets you interact directly with the printer — even while it’s in use




Cloud Print Server available to control multiple Robo printers in your Maker Space



Works in the classroom

Robo app works with popular iPad education apps — like Autodesk 123 Education — and lets students print right from their iPad or Google Chromebook to Robo C2 and Robo R2.

Robo onboard slicing: make any device your 3D education station

Robo onboard slicing means you no longer need a desktop computer to prepare your 3D models to print.

You can now print straight from any device, including smart phones and tablets, to Robo C2 and Robo R2 — which make it great for printing from the most popular devices in schools: Chromebooks.

Customizable print kits

Ready-to-print kits give you everything you need to  make something uniquely yours. 

  • Customize, print, assemble and fly your own Quadcopter Drone
  • More kits coming soon

Robo Filaments

High-quality filament, manufactured to strict quality  standards. Wide selection of colors and materials,  including speciality filaments:

  • PLA
  • ABS
  • Wood-filed
  • Carbon fiber
  • Stainless steel PLA
  • Flexible rubber
  • Conductive ABS
  • Magnetic iron PLA

A complete 3D ecosystem


We’re committed to providing the best solution for your classroom. 

For more information on bringing 3D printing to your classroom, email 


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