3D Printing Applications in STEM Education

3D Printing Applications in STEM Education

Norman Gwangwava (Botswana International University of Science and Technology, Botswana) and Catherine Hlahla (National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch229
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Abstract

Using 3D printing technology in learning institutions brings an industrial experience to learners as well as an exposure to the same cutting-edge technologies encountered in real life careers. The chapter explores 3D printing technology at kindergarten (preschool), in the lecture room (BEng programme), and ready-to-use 3D printed products. In educational toy applications, the effect of poor product designs that do not meet the children's dimensional and safety requirements can lead to injuries, development of musculoskeletal disorders and health problems, some of which may be experienced by the children when they grow up. In order to address the problem of poor design, measurements of anthropometric dimensions from male and female children, aging from 6 to 7 years old were taken and concepts for educational toys were then generated. Other practical applications of the 3D printing technology explored in the chapter are lecture room demonstrations, prototyping of design projects and a web-based mass-customization of office mini-storage products.
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Literature Review

This section covers recent, historical and empirical reviews laying the foundation for the present study. Information that is relevant for the anthropometric research for the design of educational toys is presented. The section gives an insight into anthropometry, educational toys and 3D Printing which are the main subjects used to meet the objectives of the chapter.

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Learning: Learning conducted via electronic media, typically on the Internet.

Mass Customization (MC): A business strategy that aims to provide customers with individualized products at near mass production efficiency.

Educational Toy: A toy that helps a child learn something good, something that will help in the future.

Anthropometry: The science that measures the range of body sizes in a population.

CAD: A software for 2D and 3D digital modelling of objects.

3D Printing: A radically different manufacturing method based on advanced technology that builds up parts, additively, in layers at the sub millimeter scale. Also known as Additive Manufacturing.

Ergonomic Design: A safe and comfortable design or product achieved through the use of anthropometric data to optimize the usability and functionality.

STL (STereoLithography): A standard file type (triangulated representation of a 3D CAD model) used by most additive manufacturing systems.

STEM: A curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach.

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