Requested by Dan Strickland, Tech Para | Gibbons Middle School | Vetted by WETF and WPS

Help Introduce 3D drawing and printing to students at the Gibbons Middle School

This project is an exciting one. It really introduces a wonderful and exciting new technology to students and allows them to learn and understand the process in the creation of 3-D forms. From conceptual design, to design development and final production students will do more than experience 3-D printing; they will come out understanding the entire process and learn what is involved in a standard manufacture and design process. 3-D printing has revolutionized how companies today can develop and refine products pertinent to all fields from science, to engineering, to consumer/retail industries. In the process of 3-D design and creation students will need to use mathematics, engineering, and artistic design in order to produce their first great product. A wonderful real world example now available right within the classroom at Gibbons. Please help us to realize this project by making a generous donation of any size today! 

Project Descriptions

This program will add engineering design and additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology to education options offered at Gibbons.  Student will learn to design 3D objects using a full-function engineering drawing software tool. The software allows students to start out making simple 2D sketches. Dimensions are added to these sketches to produce engineering drawings. The software can then be used to add a third dimension to the sketch by extruding the shape. The 3D shape can then be modified by adding holes, cutting sections or extruding additional features.  The modeling software allows the student to rotate the part and view if from different angles. The objects created will become more complex as student become more proficient with the software. Students will also be asked to work with other students to create objects that connect together. As a group project, the students in the class will each design a part that will make up a large assembly. Each student will need to insure that their part will correctly interface with the rest of the class.

The next step is to fabricate these objects using the 3D printing process. The availability of a 3D printer will allow students to make the connection between the virtual world of a computer model and the physical world of an actual part. New developments in 3D printing technology has greatly reduced to price and increased the availably of the devices. It is now possible to have this process available at the middle school level. Printing each object will also make it easier to see how individual parts fit together to form larger assemblies.

Software: OnShape

Website :

Onshape offers a free trial/student option that will allow each student to create an account to access the software to make and share parts. The only limitation to the student account is the amount of private storage. This is not an issue for the classroom environment since all work will be shared.  The web based software has been tested and is fully functional on Chromebooks. Students will also have access to the software at home on any web device.

Printer: Printrbot Simple 6” x 6” x 6”


There are many 3D printers available today at a very wide range of prices and features.  After a considerable amount of research and a limited trial of 4 different printers, one of the best options to start with is the Printrbot Simple. This printer can make objects up to 6” x 6” x 6”  from PLA plastic. The initial purchase price and replacement filament cost is one of the lowest in the industry. It comes as a kit so is easy to maintain and offers an opportunity to show students how it is built. Currently the company is offering a special price for schools. The printer normally sells for $539.00 – 599.00. One pound of filament cost $12.00 /lb which is less than half of other printer manufacturers.

This program will add engineering design and additive manufacturing (3D printing) technology to education options offered at Gibbons.

Student  will create 3D part models useing a  full-function engineering drawing software tool. The 3D models will then be printed which will allow students to make the connection between the virtual world of a computer model and the physical world of an actual part.

“The Gibbon’s Middle School is always looking for ways to enhance and expanded the learning experience for students. This program will give us the opportunity to introduce students to computer aided design and the 3D printing process. The hands on process of designing and printing a 3D object, will expose students to one of the newest and most exciting trends in engineering technology.”

Dan Strickland – Tech Para – Gibbons Middle School

Project Budget

Help us make this happen for the Gibbon’s middle school students.

1 PrintrBot Simple Metal Assembled  1 @ $600.00

Simple X Axis Upgrade with Heated Bed 1 @ $165.00

Multiple Packages of PLA and ABS filament  $82.00

1 Miscellaneous Shipping & Handling Cost $70.00

Education discount  $-200.00

Total $717.00

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THIS CAMPAIGN IS DONE- Completed March 30, 2016.