The Future of Shop Class
Forget about band saws and sandpaper because the future of shop class is the 3-D printer. With the right software and a good design, students can make a wide variety of small plastic items. Cubify’s Cube 3-D printer sets itself apart from the crowd by costing less ($1,299 versus two or three times that) and being easy to use. It’s small and light enough to move from room to room and can create a variety of handheld things that are up to 5.5-inches on a side out of ABS plastic.
It works by layering its material 0.2mm at a time until the whole thing is created. It all starts with designing the item using the company’s CAD software; Cubify has versions for Mac, iOS and Windows and there are online tutorials to get things started. There are 25 pre-made files for creating jewelry, a pumpkin and small toys, but the genius of Cube is that kids will start to design whatever comes into their heads. When ready, just click to print it and watch the item take shape a layer at a time. The company hosts an online forum where people can share their designs and you can get the printer’s raw material at Staples.