PrintLab and Autodesk launch ‘make:able’ engineering design challenge for students

3D printing education provider PrintLab has announced a partnership with engineering software developer Autodesk to launch a new 3D printing design challenge for schools. The Make:able challenge asks competitors to use Autodesk software, together with 3D printing technology, to design and manufacture a prototype product for individuals with mobility issues in their hands. The brief states that the design should improve the daily life of the user in some shape or form.

Jason Yeung, Co-Founder of PrintLab, states: “Having supported hundreds of schools with 3D printing curriculum, we have witnessed firsthand some amazing student talent across the globe. It is our belief that this talent should expand outside of the classroom and be put to use on real-world challenges that have a positive impact on society. Make:able offers a complete framework for schools to achieve this and we’re very excited to showcase how students can be at the forefront of digital and additive manufacturing.”

The make:able challenge toolkit. Image via PrintLab.
The make:able challenge toolkit. Image via PrintLab.

The Make:able challenge

Make:able claims to be a holistic educational experience as opposed to just a challenge. Students will be provided with an online challenge toolkit while teachers will be given a guide and a set of comprehensive lesson plans to optimize the program’s educational value. Once the students are in a predefined set of teams, they will initially use their online toolkits to learn about disabilities, assistive technologies, and additive manufacturing from leading industry experts. This will be aided by stories, case studies, and example solutions.

The competitors will then learn how to use Autodesk design software tools, such as Fusion 360, to build technical 3D models. The students will go on to find a “meaningful challenge”, either in their local communities or online, and use worksheets and activities to develop ideas for designs. Finally, they will 3D print, test, and refine their products until they are ready for submission. The challenge will culminate with a portfolio showcasing the work done throughout the project.

Steven Parkinson, Education Manager at Autodesk, adds: “Autodesk is committed to education. Today’s challenges will be solved by tomorrow’s designers. That’s why Autodesk gives students, educators, and educational institutions free access to our design software, creativity tools, and learning resources. By participating in the Make:able challenge, students will experience The Future of Making to help design and make a better world.”

Any students aged 18 or under can participate and the challenge is designed to run in design and STEM lessons, after-school programs, or even remotely through extracurricular workshops. Teachers will receive the online challenge toolkits on September 1, and entries will be judged in April of 2021. The competition features a number of prizes – including 3D printers – that will be delivered to the teams with the best designs.

The teacher's pack. Image via PrintLab.
The teacher’s pack. Image via PrintLab.

Education in 3D printing

PrintLab is not the only organization that sees the value in additive manufacturing education. Last year, the CREATE Education Project, a platform aimed at making 3D printing education available in UK classrooms, announced the launch of its first Primary Education 3D Printing Hub in collaboration with aerospace manufacturer Rolls-Royce. The hub debuted at a school in Derby after it won a competition organized by CREATE.

Taking a more digital approach, 3D printing e-learning company Addmio recently launched its first online 3D printing course – 3D Printing for Entrepreneurs. The program aims to consolidate five years of shop floor experience into just three days and is designed to address the lack of high quality, application-focused educational material available in 2020.

The 4th annual 3D Printing Industry Awards are coming up in November 2020 and we need a trophy. To be in with a chance of winning a brand new Craftbot Flow IDEX XL 3D printer, enter the MyMiniFactory trophy design competition here. We’re happy to accept submissions until the 30th of September 2020.

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Featured image shows the make:able challenge. Image via PrintLab.