The Mobile Maker Lab is wanting to be more than a one-time visit. We want to help teachers continue to incorporate making into their classroom. We offer a fulfillment service so that after we visit a school and introduce the students to the equipment, they can work on project files and then submit them to us to make them. We are starting with 3D printing fulfillment and plan to add laser cutter fulfillment. Here you can find tips about software for creating those files and more.
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3D Printing Software
There is a variety of free 3D modeling software available. In order to submit files to our fulfillment service, the models have to be saved as .STL. You are welcome to use any software that can save or export as a .STL, but here are some recommendations we have.
AutoDesk has a whole suite of software options. One program they offer is TinkerCAD. It is a free, web-based 3D modeling program that is great for beginners. No downloads are required which can be helpful if it is difficult to install software on school computers. An e-mail address is required to set up a free account through TinkerCAD. If you don't want to have students use their own school e-mail, AutoDesk has also created Project Ignite which is designed specifically to help manage classroom use of their software and projects. With Project Ignite, you would create a classroom code to give students to use TinkerCAD and other software. Using a web-based program, like TinkerCAD, allows students to also work on their projects on any computer with internet and not have to install any software. Project files stay connected with the user account. AutoDesk also has a variety of other modeling options and resources that are free for educational use.
Here is a video on Getting Started with Project Ignite.
Here is the AutoDesk TinkerCAD YouTube Channel.
Another software option is SketchUp. It is free 3D modeling software that requires a download. SketchUp also offers a Pro version at a discount to education, but students can create models with the free version. SketchUp is available for both Windows and Mac operating systems. SketchUp does require an extension install to import and export .STL files. Once the software is installed, an internet connection is not required to work on the models.
SketchUp offers tutorial videos on their YouTube Channel.