Teacher Helps Students Learn 3D Printing Technology

Posted: August 31, 2015 by
Katie Mann

The best way to learn 3-D printer technology is to build one, that’s what one man in Pennsylvania thinks.

Joel Cilli runs the online school's STEM program and leads the workshops for students in the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School STEM program. He has created and posted a series of how-to videos to guide not only workshop participants, but anyone who undertakes to build Printrbot Play 3-D printers from a kit.

"I made all the assembly videos at home over the summer and shared them via Youtube," Cilli says. "My instructions are now linked on the manufacturer's website so that anyone in the world can follow along with the same build instructions we use in the workshop.

"I video recorded how to do the steps because still pictures just aren't clear enough," he said. During the workshops, "The videos play at the front of the room and the students follow the steps. We walk around to each person's desk to check their work and offer assistance."

Cilli says the Printrbot Play is an all-metal-body 3-D printer that was released summer of 2015.

Cilli says students in the STEM program take classes and participate in extracurricular activities such as a Raspberry Pi computer workshop and the Cyber Patriot computer security competition. Participation earns points toward the honor distinction of receiving a STEM certificate at graduation.

A main reason for creating the videos was to allow parents to help children build a 3-D printer. 

"The 'cause' for me came from grandparents I met at science events," Cilli said. "I would hear a grandfather say he wanted to do 3-D printing with his grandson, but didn't know where to start.