A rather nice story comes via Cubify — the consumer-facing branch of 3D Systems — and its community activity with kids. The company organized an outreach event at its San Francisco office recently, when fifteen boys and girls from Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area were invited to come and see 3D printing in action.
After a pizza lunch, the kids were presented a short, 20 minute tutorial on what a 3D printer is, what it looks like, what it can make, the sorts of materials that can be used and how people make 3D printed items, reported the Cubify team. They also chatted about the 3D printing industry at large, how fast it is growing and the possibilities for the future.
And following a tour of the Cubify offices with their big brother or sister, when they got to see a full range of 3D printers — large and small — the real fun began. The children had the opportunity to get hands on with the tech, learning about design for 3D printing and creating their own personalized item on a Cube 3D printer with their big brother or sister.
According to the Cubify peeps, for them, the best part of the organised event came towards the end, when not one, but three of the kids asked: “How can I work here someday?”
The answer they gave was “to stay in school, do well in math and science and computer science, and there will be plenty of job openings in the next 10 years in the 3D printing field!”
Outreach programmes like this — large and small — are exactly the right way to go about motivating and enthusing kids about this technology. More design software and 3D printers in schools are also key. It’s all about letting them get hands-on as early as possible — not just talking at them!