Sunday, August 17, 2014

YouthQuest Foundation Prepares for a New Cycle of Teaching 3D Design and Printing

I absolutely LOVE working for the YouthQuest Foundation!

It combines two of my favorite things... encouraging young people to expand their creative thinking skills and 3D printing.

We teach 3D Design & printing to cadets in Youth ChalleNGe settings in two cycles each year.  Two weeks ago, we hosted the top cadets from last cycle's classes from three states for a week of immersion training in our 3D ThinkLink Lab in Chantilly, VA.  It was a wonderful experience.

During this intense week of non-stop problem-solving, designing and printing the cadets showed me exactly why I do this.  Remember, these a young people that for one reason or another dropped out of high school before graduating.  These are NOT the typical students one thinks about when considering 3D design and printing at the high school level.  Yet, when given a chance they prove just how creative and clever they really are.

It's all about turning ON brains!  And, there are few tools better than 3D printers a doing that.

Here's a quick video that describes to prospective cadets what our 3D ThinkLink Initiative is all about.

Our new training materials will reflect our observations, over the past several years, that not only is a "Noun/Verb" approach THE best way to introduce 3D design software; but, the perfect vehicle for allowing more time for actually designing and printing in class.  This, in turn, allows the students more time to explore the concepts of problem-solving and iterative design.

We're moving to a combination of cartooning and captured demonstration to cut down the time it takes to cover a noun/verb combination.  Rather than relying on live streaming, as in the past, we are moving to small prerecorded video modules that can be repeated easily, onsite, for those cadets having a harder time than others in the class.

We believe this will allow each learner to progress at their own pace without being left behind. Here is an example of our cartoon approach to introducing the Moment of Inspiration interface.

As you can see, we expect to be using the new Cube 3 printers in our classes in the very near future. The faster print speed will allow for faster turnover of designs, meaning quicker refinement in iterative design updates.  And, of course, this means quicker success.

The two colors will also allow our students to easily create things like clocks with numbers and letters that stand out.  We've found that the cadets LOVE being able to create special things for their care-givers.  Two colors will enable them to accentuate the personalization features of their designs.

Finally, while I do not have a Cube 3 as yet, I DO have print samples.  Being able to print final designs at 70 microns is going to prove to be a real hit with our cadets.  The resolution is amazing.

With each new version of the Cube printer series, we have come closer and closer to bringing our highest expectations to life.  But, the new Cube 3 is in a class of it's own.


Since the sample I have is NOT from a release machine, I have not photographed it.  However, based on 3dfan's request I did put a remarkable feature of the printed house under my trusty microscope at 10x for a sneak peek at how the Cube 3 handles UNSUPPORTED 20mm GAPS.   While the microscope was focused on a 9mm wide window opening, there are multiple 20mm windows demonstrating the same smoothness at crossing unsupported gaps!  I'm guessing that the image covers an area approximately 6mm wide!

I do not see ANY evidence that supports were used at all!

Above the window opening you see the "slate" roof tiles.

Early Cube 3 Sample Print

I don't know how long it took to print the 100mm tall, 120mm wide and 60mm deep multi-story house complete with interior furniture.  Nor do I know how long ago it was printed.  But, I am blown away by the extraordinarily clean, fine detail and smoothness of this piece.  I expect the release version of the printer to be every bit this good or better!

Now, I hope you understand why I'm being patient about shipping.  This printer is too good to rush.  One only has to read about the plight of another well known manufacturer's users to know how damaging releasing a printer before it's ready for prime time can be!  At the appropriate time, I'll release full and detailed photos of the house.

I hope this at least partially satisfies your request 3dfan.  :)