Turning Kids’ Prototypes into 3D Models



Although I don’t want to sound like a curmudgeon, I cannot help but my start my next thought with “Kids these days.”

Kids these days are often most excited about new technology as it exists within other technologies. That is to say, they love computers, the Internet, iPads, and iPhones, and there are all kinds of new apps or games that capture their imagination and hold their attention, for better or worse. Our workshops utilize similarly exciting new technologies – namely, 3D printers – to return their focus to tangibile projects, as well as the act of creating.

Last week when the City X Project visited Mrs. Ross’ 3rd-grade classroom at Edison Elementary School in Appleton, WI, we demonstrated anyone’s ability to create something new for the good of the world. Not just an app or a game, but a real, physical object that doesn’t require a factory or a degree in engineering to build. All we have to do is spend a little time with clay, computers, and a 3D printer.

boy-clay-3d-printed-modelTake James’ invention. James is one of Mrs. Ross’ third graders who wanted to create a solution to medical problems. Out of clay, he prototyped a vehicle in which a patient sits. The vehicle scans their body and administers treatment to whatever ails them. But, James was concerned about how medical treatment is never fun, so his vehicle is meant to sit on a roller coaster track, to make the process more enjoyable to the patient. Pictured to the right is James holding both his clay prototype, and his 3D-printed model which he himself rendered in 123D Design.

Of course, this is only one example of kids’ creativity. We’ll discover many more inventions over the course of the year as we run our workshop in schools around the world!