As an elementary school STEM teacher it would be a disservice to my students if I didn’t introduce them to 3D printing in this day and age. So our school bought a couple printers this school year and I’ve kept them running almost constantly. It’s been more fun that I imagined it would be. I’m very surprised with how easy they are to use! Even my first few prints were successful. That’s not to say that I haven’t run into a bit of trouble already, but in general they are pretty easy to setup and start printing. We purchased two cheaper FDM (fused deposition modeling) printers during Amazon Prime Day 2022, a FlashForge Finder 2.0 and an Anycubic KOBRA, and many rolls of 1.75mm PLA (polylactic acid) filament.
I’ve made lots of objects so far for teachers, students, and my classroom…
Many free models can be found online on sites like Thingiverse.com and MyMiniFactory.com (and many more). There are higher quality, more intricate, topic specific or licensed models on other websites as well. And of course, one can always model their own with 3D modeling software like Maya, Rhino, Blender, etc. etc. etc. Most 3D printing slicing programs load .stl and .obj model formats, although there are others if interested.
I’ve already learned that PLA can absorb humidity over time and therefore spools should be stored in sealed containers with desiccants to help keep them dry. I’ve also learned the hard way that there are different types of supports and bed layer adhesion needed to keep the PLA from drooping during the printing at steep angles. These are common obstacles one runs into while printing. The idea is to configure the print successfully to prevent wasting filament if the print fails (which happens more often than you might think).