Why would anyone need a 3D printer you might wonder – especially a child?
Many high schools and even middle schools have been investing in these devices for years as part of an effort to get kids more interested in pursuing STEM majors.
3D printers combine computer-aided design, engineering, and production into a single device.
They are certainly more than just novelty items that produce weird plastic shapes.
Teachers love them because they are great at teaching kids practical problem-solving and evaluation skills that are necessary for all types of scientists.
However, the devices aren’t appropriate for all ages, and parents should not let children create without supervision.
The plastic can get very hot and is capable of burning hands, but many of the devices are being marketed to kids and as a result, come with some safety features. Efforts have also been made to make them easy to set up.
A new batch of low-cost, higher-quality products is beginning to be widely available for family use.
For a little over $200, parents can get a fully functional home 3D printer called the Creality Ender-3 V3 SE 3D for their children to do small design projects and learn the basics of 3D printing.
The printer can be set up in 20 minutes and comes with replaceable plastic filament on the spool.
The company website offers many simple projects that are perfect for beginners.
For those looking for a higher-end model, there is the Bambu Lab P1P, which costs $600 but has a larger print surface.
A final option is the “Thingmaker” from Mattel, which comes in a safe boxed enclosure and allows kids to make their own toys.