3D Print Lab managed by High School students

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    Claudia Grant

    There is a high school in CA trying to raise funds to create a MAKE lab. They already have one 3D printer and they are looking to buy another plus one 3D scanner. The idea is to have a lab at the school where the community can come by and print. It will be administered by students and the profits will go into buying more supplies for the project. Read more here and please consider a donation! Once students become proficient in 3D scanning, they can potentially contribute to the national digitization effort.




    Wow, what a great fund-me project! We were incredibly lucky to have a 3D printer at the first high school where I taught, but that’s not the case in lots of schools. I will never forget when one of my anatomy students, whose father worked at a company that does 3D printing, walked into class one day holding a replica of the Dinictis skull he’d been studying digitally.

    It kind of blew my mind a little. Too cool, I hope this initiative becomes the norm!

    Claudia Grant

    Thanks @taorminalepore
    We will be piloting some 3D scanning and printing in K-12 during 2016,17 and 18. We hope to increase student motivation and to collaborate with teachers on technology integration.


    Awesome Claudia, looking forward to seeing where this project goes!


    Lisa Lundgren

    @taorminalepore Wow! That student with the Dinictis skull sounds awesome! Was it like a show and tell sort of thing that he was doing, or was he able to share more with the class and change the lesson because of it? I wonder what happened to the skull! Is it in your classroom still or did he take it back home with him?

    Along those same lines, I know a little bit about Thingaverse, but haven’t used it for educational purposes. I know there are some good websites for 3D modeling & paleo, but do you think that Thinagverse is a good way to go for 3D printing in the classroom?


    Lisa, it was totally amazing, the skull wasn’t 100% anatomically wonderful (the jaws didn’t articulate) but the surface was lifted straight from the accurate, open access digital file, uploaded by Andy Farke’s students at the Webb Schools. The student took the skull back home with him, but he was able to use it to take physical measurements of the surface when the MeshLab (3D digital) software wasn’t cooperating with him. He was using it for a year-long research project my anatomy class was doing, which I developed for them, where they had the option to write up some skeletal comparative anatomy between fossil and extant critters 😀 Really fun stuff.

    Ooh. Thingaverse is another interesting avenue, I wonder if there’s a way to collaborate open access digital scans with Thingaverse?

    If you’re interested in viewing the digital skulls, which work with software like MeshLab, they’re available here:




    Lisa Lundgren

    So I’m SUPER new to the 3D printing business, so I’m not sure if I’m misunderstanding about Thingiverse. Please correct me if I’m wrong/lead me the right direction, @taorminalepore, @afarke and/or @cgrant 🙂

    When I visit Thingiverse, I see there’s options for “thing files” For instance, I found a T.rex skull (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:373367/#files) and I can see the files, and then download those files easier and take them to be printed. Is this a lot different than the open access scans? I’m sorry, I’m really inexperienced with this component of paleo/education!

    Claudia Grant

    Hi @llundgren,
    Thingiverse is open access like many other places. I am not sure who else has TRex files for open access download. I imagine the AMNH? The files you see on Thingiverse are STL format and ready to print. Ar you looking at other places? I can check if you send me the url.


    Oh – I was using the term “open access” to refer more specifically to open access (non-paywall, with downloadable data) journal articles that have links to .stl files and other 3D printables. Examples of journals that are open access include PeerJ and PLOS.

    Thingiverse and other online venues also provide access to these sorts of 3D printable files, with or without accompanying scientific data. Sources like Morphosource, AfricanFossils.org, and Digimorph have at least some accompanying data, whereas Thingiverse doesn’t.

    Hope this helps, Lisa! @llundgren


    Lisa Lundgren

    Oh, I see. Yes, that helps a lot. I wonder how easy it would be to ask/communicate with Thingiverse to post accompanying scientific data. It definitely seems that it would make Thingiverse (even more) appealing for classroom use. Thanks, Tara! @taorminalepore


    Yeah, I think that’s what I was going for, maybe Thingiverse can collaborate with (or at least link to) sources of digital scans. No prob Lisa!


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