Increasingly, schools around the world are turning to more creative ways of teaching students, away from boring lesson plans and towards learning through play. The world is changing, and education must change with it. To prepare children for a career in engineering or 3D software design, schools are looking for the best 3D printers for kids for education.
As a result, a number of 3D printers have been designed specifically with the classroom in mind. Therefore, we created our list of seven FDM 3D printers we feel are best suited for teaching children — from elementary to high school and older — how 3D printing works.
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Best 3D Printers For Schools and Education
|Name||Build Volume (mm)||Price||Best price available at:|
|Makerbot Sketch Solution||150 x 150 x 150||$1,799 (for 2 printers)||Amazon here|
|Robo E3 MyStemKits package||150 x 150 x 150||$999||Amazon here|
|Dremel 3D40 EDU||255 x 155 x 170||$1,699||Amazon here|
|Tinkerine Ditto Pro||215 x 160 x 220||$1,900||Amazon here|
|Ultimaker 3||230 x 190 x 200||$3,850||Matterhackers here|
|Monoprice Select Mini V2||120 x 120 x 120||$199||Amazon here|
What makes a good educational 3D printer?
Ease of use, by far, especially with younger students. If they can’t operate the printer, they won’t be inspired or learn anything, so simplicity is the number one priority. 3D printers for younger classes must be safer and simpler, whereas more astute students, such as engineering students, will be safer and more comfortable around more complex printers.
Moreover, reliability. Teachers can’t teach while fixing broken printers — any educational 3D printer must work consistently.
Lastly, ideally a 3D printer for schools should come with lesson plans, class projects or interactive exercises. 3D printer companies such as Makerbot, Tinkerine and Dremel 3D printers have focused on developing 3D printers as educational tools, offering come with these full lesson plans, tailored by age group.
Since good education 3D printers are also suited for children to play with out of school, we picked the following printers for both criteria: the best 3D printers for schools and STEM education.
If you have any specific needs based on your school’s size / number of students, we’re happy to help:
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Advantages of 3D printers in schools:
- Makes learning interactive and active: unlike studying a textbook or watching a lecture, with 3D printing students interact with the machines and get involved with printing.
- Encourages real world understanding: much of what is taught in schools is theoretical, rather than seeing the results and effects in front of you. Having a real 3D printer create real parts is better than abstract theories, and will help develop a student’s engineering skills and spatial intelligence far better.
- More interesting: the tech is cool, and if students are interested, they’ll learn faster.
The Best 3D Printers For Schools:
TOP PICK: Makerbot Sketch Solution — Specialized 3D Printer For Education
- Company based: USA
- Price: $1,799 for the whole package (2 3D printers) — Available on your local Amazon store here
- Print volume: 150 x 150 x 150 mm
There are over 7,000 Makerbot printers installed in schools across North America, with Makerbot positioning themselves as the go-to educational 3D printing brand. Their latest education 3D printing solution, the Sketch, builds on this focus on helping schools teach effectively.
Makerbot offer a detailed Educators Guidebook for how to over 600 free lesson plans Makerbot host, as well as a certification program for students who want to stand out as a STEM leader. They offer the only comprehensive ISTE-certified 10-hour 3D printing training, and have an organized cloud-based file management system that integrates easily with TinkerCAD or Fusion 360 3D CAD software to their printers.
For the price, you get far more than just two Makerbot Sketch 3D printers. You also get 6 classroom-safe 3D printer filament PLA spools, 4 build plates, 2 spatulas for separating prints from the build plate, 2 replacement nozzles, 2 teacher certification seats, 10 student certification seats, and Makerbot Cloud with print queuing free for a year. Makerbot have focused on creating a full solution for STEM education, making it as simple as possible to order everything you need to teach kids about size, shape, and principles of engineering and form.
Robo E3 MyStemKit Package by Robo 3D
- Company based: USA
- Price: $999 — Available on your local Amazon store here
- Build volume: 150 x 150 x 150 mm
Robo 3D are an American company who have recently bolstered their education offering by purchasing MyStemKits, a startup focusing on STEM learning through 3D printing. Since acquiring MyStemKits, Robo 3D have integrated their product range into educational 3D printing bundles, so now each of their current printers can be purchased as packages for teaching children 3D printing.
The Robo E3 is one of Robo 3D’s newest 3D printers, costing around $999. It’s simple to use, reliable, and comes with a number of education packages tailored towards every age group, from elementary to high school and older. Additionally, the printer comes with 2 hours of US education standards-aligned lessons, and over 20 design challenges, so students can learn through problem solving. Not disimilar to the Makerbot Sketch (it has the same build volume), it provides an interesting alternative.
Dremel Digilab 3D40 EDU — Dremel’s Specialized 3D Printer For Education
- Company based: USA
- Price: $1,699 with all filament materials, lesson plans — Available on your local Amazon site here
- Build volume: 255 x 155 x 170 mm
No longer just a tool manufacturer, American manufacturer Dremel have moved into 3D printing with their Dremel Digilabs range, with the 3D40 EDU tailored towards educating kids in 3D printing.
The printer comes with a lesson plan, designed in line with US educational standards and accepted in all US states. These lessons teach problem-solving and teamwork with 3D printing, helping students gain manufacturing skills that will prove key in the future. Moreover, the course counts for 4 hours of PD credit — while you learn about 3D printing!
Tinkerine Ditto Pro — A 3D Printer Made For Education & Schools
- Company based: Canada
- Price: $1,900 — Available on your local Amazon site here
- Build volume: 215 x 160 x 220 mm
Tinkerine are the only Canadian 3D printer company on our list, and in fact the only publicly traded Canadian 3D printer stock. Tinkerine specialize in education 3D printers, and have developed their own education program — Tinkerine U — to complement student’s development.
- Also check out our full list of every publicly traded 3D printing stock.
The Ditto Pro features an undeniably sleek design, made out of aluminium composite, and prints PLA filament only. It can be easily accessed via USB or SD card for students, and most importantly, comes with Tinkerine Suite free 3D software. Despite being designed for younger audiences it is still a powerful machine, with good 50 micron precision minimum layer thickness.
This user-friendly and “beginner-friendly” software Tinkerine offer is perfect for children who want to learn 3D printing, and perfect for 3D printing in schools. It’s sleek, reliable, and looks great — we highly recommend the Tinkerine Ditto Pro 3D printer for schools and education.
Ultimaker S3 — Simply the best
- Company based: Holland
- Price: $3,850 — Available on Dynamism Webstore here / Available on Matterhackers here / 3DPrima Europe here
- Print volume: 230 x 190 x 200 mm
Any knowledgeable maker will know that the Ultimaker S3 is one of the best FDM 3D printers around. It features industrial-level quality, reliability — and most importantly for 3D printing in schools, simplicity. It’s also open source, an advantage to any inquisitive and advanced engineering students who want to try modifying any parts of it.
Though on the pricier side — especially if class sizes exceed 20-30 students — the Ultimaker 3’s ease of use and print monitoring (clever auto leveling features, remote printing via phone) make it a fantastic option for 3D printing in schools. Simply because things rarely go wrong since the printer is so reliable, the Ultimaker 3 is ideal for use in teaching children about 3D printing.
Monoprice Select Mini V2 — Very Affordable 3D Printer For Classrooms
- Company based: USA
- Price: $199 — Available on your local Amazon store here
- Build volume: 120 x 120 x 120 mm
Though not positioned as a 3D printer for education, the Select Mini V2 is a cheap 3D printer and simple enough to use that every student could have their own, for the same price as one or two more expensive printers.
It’s basic enough to be easily usable by students, and cheap enough that if anything goes wrong, it isn’t a disaster. Moreover, it’s open plan design lets students see the printing done up close, which isn’t always the case with more closed off printers. It doesn’t come with any lesson plans or education guides, but the Monoprice Select Mini V2 definitely has applications for teaching 3D printing in schools.
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- The 10 Best Large 3D printers
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