Tell us about yourself and your experience with 3D printing
I have been integrating 3D printing into different classroom contexts for the past 5 years. I began with my high school program called INNOVATE where students printed to do social and environmental good. I first learned about 3D printing at the Kid Wind Challenge brought to Edmonton schools via Lethbridge College. Students were required to design and 3D print blades to produce microwind turbines from that point on. I now present to schools across Edmonton Public to bring this technology to K-12 classrooms where students imagine new possibilities for their lives, the lives around them and the global community.
We host 3D community events to bring awareness to those in need, to gain perspectives on greater applications of 3D printing technology, and to give people an opportunity to build something that helps someone in some way. Such projects help establish community partners and connect students with experts who are interested in adopting 3D technology into their own lives and places of work. To date, students and industry partners have hosted 2 hand-a-thons where youth print components to build 3D prosthetic hands for kids in need through the Enable Foundation. We have done this in Calgary in and Edmonton and have produce over 40 hands for kids in need in Alberta and across the globe. Innovate students have systematically helped build the 3D community in Edmonton. One student created and hosted a 3D presentation at Start-Up Edmonton where he presented to some 80 adults. A trade show followed and displayed our attempt at building the largest 3D printed sculpture (consisted of personalized tiles designed and printed by students across Edmonton schools and grades). Most recently, Innovate provides a printing service for our district. Students have been receiving order from consulting services to print 47 objects of different shapes and colours, which incorporate brail and other elements of communication to help students with visual impairments.
What 3D printer(s) do you own?
6 - two makerbot replicator 2s, a printrbot metal simple, an Ultimaker 2+, Lulzbot 5, and a Frankenstein student creation.
Reprap 3D printer built by Aaron's students
What design software do you use most often? Why choose this over other software?
We mostly use tinkercad for their universality and ease of use.
Tiles designed and 3D printed by Aaron's students
What is your favorite filament to print with? What do you like about it?
We like PLA Colorfab, it has the least amount of issues such as becoming brittle and has the best finish.
One of Aaron's Innovate High School students who made a prosthetic hand for this young girl
Are there any additional tools, resources, or software you use often with your 3D printing projects?
pic.svg and Thingiverse - MakerBot has created a platform for educators across the North America to submit their lesson plans. This is an awesome resource that helps everyone and makes it easy to integrate 3D printing into the classroom.
Is there anything you know now that you wish you knew when you first started 3D printing?
I wish their were programs like https://www.thingiverse.com/education, but any new technology takes time to adapt to needs and to work out bugs.
What common mistakes do you see new users make?
They shut down as soon as print doesn't work, teachers want to use this technology but do not have time or desire to tinker which takes away from the class time. New machines have worked out kinks and have gotten rid of features which makes it way to challenging for the average teacher to use the tech in their classroom - this includes self-leveling, flexible build plates, and dual extrusions.
What are the biggest challenges you face with 3D printing?
While the technology is gaining global utility, it has been challenging to demonstrate the educational value. It has also been challenging to convince people that this technology will become an everyday tool in the near future and that we need students to get used to it as they will need the skills to be our future technicians, innovators, and so on.
3D printed mosaic project that Aaron's students helped to build
What is your favorite project you have 3D printed?
The prosthetic hands are one of the most interesting because every student involved has a sense of wonder in their eyes as if they are seeing the future things will soon be possible. Innovate feeds off of what technology or discoveries came before. 3D has so many applications, we haven't even scratched the surface of how this tool will benefit humanity.
Where can people learn more about you and see more of your work?
People can visit the Innovate website at www.innovatehighschool.ca (currently under construction but does tell most of our story). They may also contact Aaron Dublenko at email@example.com