10 ways in which 3D printers will revolutionize the classroom

3D-Printing-fiWe need to have a look at the school of the future. This being said in the middle of the summer holidays, when all exams are over, it might seem absurd. Let’s clarify things right now. We’re talking about the school of the future, the one where 3D printers  are no strangers but tools for learning. This is no science fiction film vision. In fact, a school curriculum on robotics is being planned in England.

Bringing in the 3D printer in schools is not impossible. You can find a free manual (in English) online in order to find out all there is to know on the subject. If you’re still not convinced of the utility of learning how to become makers, you can take note of the 10 ways in which 3D printers can turn the classroom upside down. (more…)

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How to understand the makers through Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorw portrait

Copy, vary and copy again.  The instinct to take the best of everything and transform it into something new is within each and every one of us. This is the opinion of Cory Doctorow, blogger and writer born in Toronto in 1971. Cory has written an entire book on the makers’ movement called, not surprisingly, “Makers” (here is the free download in English) which deserves to be read.

Taking apart an object to put it back together again – or  merge it with another one – requires the same creative energy that is needed when  we have to retell a story we’ve heard somewhere in our own words. Doctorow says he understood this when he went to see episode IV of Star Wars at the cinema in 1977. When he was a child he had never seen such a complex story with so many aspects before: the first thing he did when he went home was to recreate and rewrite the adventures of the characters in the film tens of times.


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WASProject and the 3D printer that wants to save the world (one bit at a time)



WASProject is a startup by Ravenna which loves to be inspired by the small – the potter wasp – and think big: a 1.5-metre high 3D printer that creates clay statues. The idea of the team, made up of makers and creative, has landed on the crowdfunding Ginger platform. The objective is to raise 70 thousand euro and make the project a reality. To help them and spread the word, there’s still time until 20 December 2013.

In the beginning, the WASProject team wanted to build an even bigger 3D printer capable of printing houses in clay. To reach this objective, the startuppers of Ravenna decided to go one step at a time and go for the first model of 1.5 metres.  In the meantime, it’s worth knowing that there are other people like Enrico Dinithe man who prints houses – who are already well on the way.



How to build a drone in 10 minutes with any object


A bicycle wheel abandoned in the street may find itself circling above the city in a matter of minutes. The same applies to keyboards, books and any other object that is light enough. If you’re curious to know what we are talking about, take note of this name, DIY (Drone It Yourself): this is the kit made ​​by Jasper van Loenen, an interaction designer who graduated from the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, for mounting four propellers and an engine to anything you want.



Europe really believes in 3D printing


The Makers movement began in the USA with the creation of FabLab, but has also seen considerable growth on the other side of the Atlantic. The secret of its success lies in the people involved and the networks built up between them. Within Europe, there is room for a new industrial revolution. Indeed, in some cases this is already taking place, but not everyone has realised it. This is also true in Italy, where innovation often fails to get the recognition it deserves.

And yet, despite these difficulties, there is no lack of courage in the nation of Leonardo. As Massimo Banzi wrote in CheFuturo! in 2012:

“If they give me 1 million Euros, we’ll open 15 Arduino Workshops within a year”.

Such an idea would be really successful, you only have to look at the makers in action in Florence, or witness the energy of the Cantini family, the digital craftsmen behind Kentstrapper. And then there are also all the figures.

Investments: France is prepared to finance projects by the new FabLabs (ateliers de fabrication numérique), providing funding of 50,000-200,000 Euros over a period of three tax years. All information is available here, and presentations must be submitted by September 13th 2013.

Industry: A study by IDTechEx describes a rapidly growing market for professional 3D printing. In 2025, its global value could reach $4 billion. These are only projections, but some people believe in it. The UK has put forward an investment plan of nearly £15 million into the digital production industry.

Fashion and art: 3D printing does not only consist of home-made plastic objects. The hybrid dress of fashion designer Iris Van Herpen went on the catwalk in Paris, and the technological artefacts of the Japanese artist, Mariko Mori, embellished a production of Madame Butterfly at Venice’s “La Fenice” theatre. New technologies combined with traditional ones can result in some unique creations.

People and communities: According to FabWiki, there are now 132 FabLabs (specialist workshops for makers and creative types) throughout Europe. Most of these places have very active collaborators and backers: as demonstrated in the trip by our video makers, Alice and Davide, who visited various workshops and told their stories during the course of their Makertour. It is people, not technologies, which bring about change.

credits: Andrew Spitz / Loci

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