3D Printer Project

3D printer at the Mead image

Cookie Cutter Project

Three projects were designed to be accessible to children from years 2 to 6.  The full Year 2 year group is now producing cookie cutters for the Fire of London topic.  This involves:

  • 2D sketching
  • creating 3D models using SolidWorks CAD software
  • printing the 3D models


Children from the 3D Printer Club supported staff from The Mead at a recent staff meeting.  The children helped The Mead staff master the 3D design software and produce designs suitable for printing.

children and staff at the mead primary school using 3D design software

Shadow and Light Project

We decided to lead a group towards a light and shadow project. The idea was to develop the children’s understanding of shadow and light whilst working with the 3D CAD system and printer.

We started with lower key stage two children, developing a simple light cover, with aims to differentiate this project for younger and older children.

Expected outcomes

To produce an individual light cover that could be placed over a light source.

The design of the cover will affect the type of shadow produced and would vary between children.

Learning directly from machine operation

  • Preparation of model for manufacture
  • Designing for 3D printing
  • Materials and their properties
  • Personal skills – confidence, teamwork and problem solving

Learning from modelling products

  • Visualisation and communication of ideas
  • Evaluation through visualisation, handling and use
  • Design processes
  • Size and scale of objects
  • Contribution from other school subjects
  • Personal skills – creativity, risk taking, motivation

Key points learned

The project demonstrated how 2D sketches can be translated into 3D models, developing children’s ability to visualise items in three dimensions.

Children learnt how to use Solidworks to create their 3D solid models. Knowledge of 3D printing process and how to operate the 3D printer was also developed.

Evidence of difference made to quality and/or process of learning

Children throughout the school have been very enthusiastic about having access to a 3D printer. This enthusiasm has transferred into the design and technology projects.

Children have managed to produce items with a much higher degree of accuracy than they could have done using normal primary school DT processes.

They have also shown a higher desire to improve their designs and make more products, a direct result of using this new technology.


Having a small number of children that are pre-trained on CAD and are tasked to help others, can drastically improve a class’s progression. This reduces the waiting time for pupils during the early learning of the software and can direct more advanced help to the most at need.