Two of the most significant limitations to a wider adoption of 3D printing by consumers are the lack of educational and software tools to make full use of these technologies. To address these issues, US 3D printer brand Afinia formed a partnership with Australia’s Makers Empire which will provide both to students throughout the US.
Makers Empire is an Adelaide-based company that has developed some of the world’s easiest to use 3D printing software and the relative educational programs that make full use of it. Its 3D design and printing Learning Program is the first of its kind and seeks to help teachers achieve real learning outcomes, engage students in STEAM topics, and become confident teachers of 3D design and printing technology. The program includes easy-to-use 3D design software (also available as an iOS and Android app), curriculum-aligned lesson plans, a teacher’s portal, and online resources.
Afinia will provide North American elementary and middle schools with Makers Empire’s 3D design and printing Learning Program through its Education Resellers network. “We have a coast-to-coast presence in the US and Canadian educational markets and the Makers Empire 3D design and printing Learning Program is an excellent addition to our solutions portfolio,” said John Westrum, Afinia 3D’s Vice President and Education Market Lead. “Educators have been asking us for easy-to-use 3D design software integrated with a curriculum. I believe we have now have a formidable offering.”
While it could be argued that the apps are a great tool for anyone making their first steps toward 3D design and 3D printing, Makers Empire’s CEO Jon Soong pointed out that “Makers Empire’s Program was designed specifically for elementary and middle schools and tested extensively by classroom teachers and students. The system offers a broad range of integrated tools for both designing, modifying and sharing 3D models, with several additional options for online competitions and specific design fields such as ‘cogs’ and ‘toys’.”
This school-centric and broad approach helped Makers Empire be selected as Start Up Company of the Year at the South Australian 2015 iAwards. “With so many demands placed on schools and teachers today,” Soong explained, “Makers Empire aims to make it as easy as possible to get started with 3D printing in the classroom. We are delighted to be working with Afinia 3D to help more schools in North America use 3D printing in the classroom to achieve learning outcomes in STEAM-related subjects.” But you shouldn’t let the fact that you’re no longer in school hold you back. If you have no design experience and want to start 3D printing your own designs, Makers Empire and Afinia represent an accessible and affordable combination.