@Pozible Success!

You might have joined this blog because of the Pozible campaign I’ve been running over the last 6 weeks. Well, it’s been hard work in that time, getting my name out there to newspapers, doing radio interviews, podcasts, giving public presentations, writing this blog and being emailing people I don’t know for support, shares and re-tweeting.

BUT at the end of all that, we have ACHIEVED SUCCESS!

I had a lot of support from friends, family and colleagues at Deakin University and lovely people who contacted me from twitter and from newspaper articles (and this blog!). Together we managed to raise $8000 for the project which means we should be able to get 3 printers on this project.

We also received support from Xtreme Technology in Geelong, who are keen to help us get more printers down the track and do some great events and competitions with their locals in Geelong, Victoria.

I will continue to use this blog as the mouthpiece of the project, so you can see what we’re doing with the money raised and to communicate the progress of 3D printers in primary schools in 2015 and beyond!

Thanks for your support!

George wanted to give everyone two thumbs up for their support.

George wanted to give everyone two thumbs up for their support.


3D Printing Presentation at @embiggenbooks

Last night I gave a free presentation about 3D printing for the public at my favourite bookshop, Embiggen Books in Melbourne. I thought it was a great night with good turnout of people who were interested in 3D printing, some who were teachers looking at what I was wanting to do with Education, others from Scienceworks, interested in discussing how 3D printers could be uniquely used compared to other technology.

There were three presenters last night.

Joe Farr the general manager from Thinglab started the conversation about 3D printing by laying down the groundwork.
George Aranda (me) talked about the theoretical background I have come from with wanting to use 3D printing to work with representations that students can develop in the classroom. I also gave examples of programs using 3D printing that I have blogged about before and also some examples of classrooms in Australia already using 3D printing.
Cathal O’Connell from University of Melbourne talked about the book 3D Bioprinting: Printing Parts of Bodies he was co-author on. He gave some great insights into how 3D printing can be used by surgeons to help wounds heal faster and how they can be used in reconstructive techniques.

During the night we also had a 3D printer printing out an ear which prompted some discussion during a break in the night. Overall, a great night.

g and the printer

3D Printing a Smartphone Speaker

My projet has to do with how 3D printed objects can be used as devices for education. Making speakers is a tangible and engaging way for students to come to terms with how sound propagates. I found the following 3D printed design on Thingiverse which I’ve talked about before.

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 1.01.38 pm

Created by OrigamiCats on Thingiverse


While the ‘speaker’ phone is a great way to connect with the old turntables of old, you can see a 3D printed object like this might be the culmination of a series of lessons where the ideas of sound are unpacked over a series of lessons.

  • How does sound propagate?
  • Can you draw how you think the sound moves from the smartphone, through your tube and to your ear?
  • Can you design your own speaker?
  • How does the material used influence how sound propagates?
  • What are the limitations of your design?

Getting the students to design the speaker via regular pen and paper would be a good place to start and once the students have a design they are comfortable with, they could then jump onto a 3D graphics program to design their own speaker.

You could then use a device to measure the differences in sound output, to see which device worked best. Have you used 3D printing for anything like this?

Monash University 3D Printing a Small Jet Engine

It’s an easy thing to understand how 3D printing plastics works. A term known as additive manufacturing, it’s as simple as understanding that a layer of plastic is laid on top of another layer of plastic over time. Of course initially the plastic is going to be hot, to allow it be flexible and as it is printed it cools and solidifies – which leaves us with our 3D printed object.

As you will remember from your science days, metals are molten at a particular temperature, but that temperature is quite high, making this an untenable proposition in terms of safety or creating nozzles that could withstand this temperature. The process of 3D printing metal involves using powdered metals, which use a laser to either sinter or melt the power. Here’s a good definition from Wikipedia:

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) is an additive manufacturing technique that uses a laser as the power source to sinter powdered material (typically metal), aiming the laser automatically at points in space defined by a 3D model, binding the material together to create a solid structure.

There are various differences in technology, outcomes and techniques, but this gives you a good idea of how 3D printing metal might work. 3D printing materials in this way has been of interest to automotive and aviation industries, to develop new designs and for spare parts. The question has been whether the quality of these parts can stand up to the high specifications required for the aviation industry – would you be the first person in a fully 3D manufactured plane?

But the technology and the quality of the products have been developing to the point where Monash University have manufactured a small jet engine using 3D printed parts! Amazing, check out the video below

3D Printing the World’s Smallest Rubik’s Cube

I will age myself by telling you that I remember when the Rubik’s Cube came out. It was an amazing Christmas gift and I, like many people in the world, had no real idea how to solve it. I remember getting frustrated with it probably sometime in the early new year, and then figured out how to take it apart and ‘fix’ it, rather than solving it 🙂

But now, with 3D printing, boffin Matthew Bahner has recreated the Rubik’s cube, the best selling toy of all time, into large versions (the V-cube) and the smallest cube puzzle in the world at 3.4cm.

Bahner’s V Cube, the original Rubik’s Cube and World’s smallest cube.

While creating earlier versions closer to Rubik’s original, manufacturing issues meant that altering it slightly would make it work. Stickers were created by Olivier’s stickers.

I think this is a great application of 3D printing technology, allowing the revisioning of objects that we have had a particular relationship with. How many times have you thought “If only it could do x, then it would be awesome.” Well, get out there, get access to a 3D printer and see what you can do 🙂


3D Printing to Teach Medicine #3dprinting

One of the first things that got me into 3D printing was the idea that it could be used to teach higher education students. In particular, I thought that the idea that it could be used to teach medical students of the utmost importance. My own undergraduate degree involved a lot of physiology, particularly the nervous system. Of course, like any student, you see diagrams of body parts and systems, but the 2D nature of it all can be hard to translate to the real world.

After studying the brain for some time, I was quite confronted when I first cut into a real sheep’s brain. The textbooks quite specifically differentiate between structures by using colours and thick lines, but when I cut into that sheep’s brain, it was all GREY with tracts of white. So trying to locate one specific part of the brain seemed near impossible 🙂

So the idea that we can print out 3D body parts, with high scale resolution was an amazing proposition. Now we have such high resolution scanning devices such as MRIs, it is possible to produce anatomically correct body parts that can be used by medical students anywhere around the world! This added third dimension will help with the learning process and not just transposing the knowledge from the 2D to the 3D. Check out this interview with Monash University Professor, Paul McMenamin.

Putting 3D Printers Into Schools

Premier Napthine campaining for re-election in Victoria, Australia

3D printers have come down in price significantly in the last 5 years, which now puts them into the range of being available to schools and teachers as part of the learning process. Last year, the US President Obama said in his “State of the Union” Address

Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio.  A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything.  There’s no reason this can’t happen in other towns.

Similarly, in Victoria, Australia, where we will go to the polls at the end of the month, Premier Napthine has promised to put 3D printers into every secondary school will receive $3000 to buy a 3D printer. The secondary schools will also receive $750 each in “consumables” to go with the printers. The Premier said,

This means nearly 400 schools across the state will be able to have these 3D printers

This impetus to put 3D printers into schools has achieved more and more attention with both small and larger 3D printer companies like Makerbot coming to this space. Makerbot founder and Chief Executive Bre Prettis is keen on getting his printers into every school in the US as a stimulus for creativity.

Instead of waiting for someone to create a product for you, you can create your own…It can change the whole paradigm of how our children will see innovation and manufacturing in America.

Combined with lowering the prices of his printers, crowd-funding and business support it seems that this might actually happen. This critical mass of industry, government and education might be enough to get more and more printers into schools.

Has your school got a 3D printer?

Read more:
– http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/victoria-state-election-2014/schools-become-battlegrounds-as-election-campaign-heats-up-20141027-11cihh.html#ixzz3Iu7aJdR0
– http://www.cnet.com/au/news/makerbot-wants-to-put-a-3d-printer-in-every-us-public-school/

Book: 3D Bioprinting: Printing Parts of Bodies

3dbioprintingI had the good fortune of going to an opening event for a new ebook, 3D Bioprinting: Printing Parts for Bodies that was published by Gordon G Wallace, Rhys Cornock, Cathal D O’Connell, Stephen Beirne, Susan Dodds and Frederic Gilbert from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) in Melbourne.

The book is both an introduction into 3D printing and a guide as to what can be done with 3D printing for body parts and objects for reconstructive surgery. The authors talked about their book and their recent work in using cells as the printing material and even about making a 3D pen that could print out cells in a way that surgeons could use more precisely. Amazing stuff.

Opening Event


  1. Putting Stuff in the Body: Biomaterials, Bionics and Tissue Engineering
  2. Materials and Machinery for 3D Printing
  3. The Story So Far – Case Studies of 3D Bioprinting
  4. Printing Bits for Bodies
  5. Ethics, Policy and Social Engagement
  6. The Future

At 60 pages, the book is quite short, but as an ebook it has parts of the book that are interactive, which really makes the material come to life. It’s inexpensive, so make sure you follow the link and check it out 🙂 https://3dbioprint.creatavist.com/3dbioprinting

I am running an FREE event on the 24th of November in Melbourne at Embiggen Books where some of the authors will be talking about this new book, their work in 3D bioprinting and the future of 3D printers.

Getting familiar with 3D Printing and Technology

3D Printing is one of those technologies that some people LOVE and some people who for whatever reason don’t really care about having this new technology in their lives. But how do we get people to be more familiar with this new technology? One way was taken by a German company who put 3D scanners and printers into a mall, so that you can have a 3D printed version of yourself. I tweeted a link to the article yesterday.

Screenshot 2014-11-11 12.23.38Would this make you a bit more familiar with 3D technology? Other options might include  highlighting the ways we use 3D technology.

– 3D ultrasounds – http://www.4dbonding.com.au/
– 3D scanning in plastic surgery and reconstruction – http://3dprintingindustry.com/2014/10/29/jaw-cancer-3d-printing/
– 3D Augmented Reality – http://augmentedev.com/

Augmented Reality allows us to incorporate 3D data into our lives, via drawing lines on maps, allowing us to put 3D models of furniture into our homes to see how they would fit, or even allowing clothes to be superimposed onto ourselves to see if they would suit us. More about Augmented Reality.

My project is about putting 3D printers in schools, which is essentially another avenue that can be used to introduce students and teachers to this new technology. Introducing them to 3D printers in primary school will mean when they start working with them in high school, they will be tools that they worked with earlier in their lives. My hope is that they will be engaging tools, that will allow students to construct, design, and modify objects within a 3D space. Imagine what they will be able to do when using 3D technology is no different to using tools on the internet. I am looking forward to what they can do.

What made you interested in 3D printing?

#3DPrinting Sperm Cells and Augmented Reality at #TMClevedon

This is a great blog post from Dave White’s great blog in 3D printing and Education. Here the focus is not just on 3D printing, but how it can work with Augmented Reality so that kids can have the experience of interacting with a 3D digital object in space, but then print out the object as well. Great idea!


At the Teachmeet tonight Mr Davis one of our Science teachers did a presentation about some work he has been doing with Mr White from @ClevedonDT.

Mr Davis used the 123D Creature iPad app to create a 3D virtual model of a sperm cell and has experimented with showing students how it can be viewed in 3D with the Augment app. He also showed Mr White who said “How would you like to 3D print that?”… So after a bit more experimentation here is the result on YouTube.

The 3D printed cells were printed using a Cubify Cube printer and a 3D Touch.

So here is a great example of STEM teachers working together to produce something that can be used in lessons with both Science and D&T students!

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