Getting Starting with 3D Modeling and Printing

3D Printing is a rapidly growing industry and everyone wants to get in on it. Many people want a 3D Printer but when you do not know how to use 3D modeling software such as Solidworks, Fusion 360, or Inventor how do you justify the cost? Getting started with 3D modeling is much easier than one would think. There is many free ways of getting the software if you are a student or educator. Our personal favorite is Fusion 360 because of the ease of use, cloud saving, and free cost for students. The link to download Fusion 360 is below!

Download Fusion 360 free here

There are many different tutorials on getting started with 3D modeling software. Most software is similar in functionality, so if you pick up one others should not be much different. One simple video we came across is shown below. It demonstrates how to insert an image, trace it, and then extrude it into a three dimensional object.


Source – Gears 2 Robots

Once you get your model completed and exported, it will need to find its way into a slicer program. There are many free options such as Cura, Repetier, or MatterControl. Some paid options are available as well such as Simplified 3D. These applications will convert your model into code that the 3D Printer can understand. You are able to control layer height, infill densities, printer speeds, and more within the software.

Modeling, exporting and slicing does not do anything unless you have a 3D Printer right? There are some very powerful printers for not much money now but you will not be sorry getting a more expensive machine if you have the room in your budget. Another post to follow with our favorite 3D Printers!



Top 5 Kits for Kids to Learn Engineering and Programming Under $120

We have been working with students for years, teaching Engineering and Programming concepts. The most valuable resource we have found is a good, inexpensive robotics kit so that students can learn and experiment at home. Below are some of the best kits that we have used as well as some free resources to help you get started at home!

#1 Elegoo Smart Robot ($73.99)

The Elegoo Smart Robot kit comes with everything you need to get started! The best part of this kit is the plug and play sensor shield. Students have trouble with wiring often and this is a great solution. This DIY kit comes unassembled so it is a great opportunity for kids to get started with Robotics. Purchase this kit on Amazon below.

Purchase on Amazon here

#2 Makeblock DIY Starter Robot Kit ($119.99)

The Makeblock DIY Starter Robot Kit is another great choice. The kit is robust with it’s aluminum design and self tapped threads. This kit is plug and play which is great for students. There are a variety of configurations available with this kit so the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Purchase this kit on Amazon below.

Purchase on Amazon here

#3 Tenergy Odev Tomo 2-in-1 ($99.99)

Much like the Makeblock, this robot kit is sturdy and ready to tackle any task. This kit is not as versatile as the Makeblock but it does come with apps that are Android and Apple IOS compatible! This robot comes with drag and drop programming which makes learning programming simple! All the connectors are easily plug and play so no wiring is necessary! Purchase this kit on Amazon below.

Purchase on Amazon here

#4 Makeblock mBot ($94.99)

The mBot is another great product from Makeblock. This small, compact robot is easy to assemble and has a wide variety of accessories! This tiny robot is powerful for all ages and also fits right in the box it comes in for easy storage. We have used this robot to teach programming to grades anywhere from Kindergarten to High School. Purchase this kit on Amazon below.

Purchase on Amazon here

#5 SunFounder Model Car kit ($91.59)

The SunFounder Model Car kit is a great expandable kit for all ages! This kit runs on a Raspberry Pi (not included) which is a credit card sized, mini computer that can stream video, access the internet, control sensors and more! This kit is great for the enthusiast who is looking for an ever expandable kit. Purchase this kit on Amazon below.

Purchase on Amazon here

Purchase the Raspberry Pi for this kit below.

Purchase on Amazon here

Bonus Kit!  UniHobby HB3000 Robotic Tank Car Kit ($338.95)

The UniHobby HB3000 Tank kit needs no introduction. This is one of our favorite kits because of the size and functionality! Build your very own tank with HD camera to navigate rough terrain, go on spy missions, or chase the dog.  Purchase this kit on Amazon below.

Purchase on Amazon here