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Australian company Modfab takes the initiative with 3D printing education
Posted by 3DP4E
EDUCATION

By 3Ders | 3Ders

Sep 25, 2014

3D printing is one of the fastest growing technologies in the world with the industry expected to be worth over 18 billion dollars globally by 2020. Increasing numbers of governments and industries are realising the enormous potential of 3D printing to revolutionise areas as diverse as medicine, manufacturing and education. However, if the benefits of this technology are to be realised, there needs to be effective training available particularly in schools and TAFE where tomorrow's professionals are being educated.

Illawarra Company, Modfab Pty Ltdin Australia has begun nationally recognised training funded by NSW Department of Education and Communities, State Training Services in partnership with the Australian Government and Applied Training Solutions. Initially, the course is being run as a pilot program with diverse candidates from primary school, high school and TAFE education. This initiative has been born in the Illawarra and is the first of its kind in Australia.

During the training, candidates learn how to operate and troubleshoot an FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) 3D printer and also learn important aspects of the process and printing materials. With this knowledge, the educators can introduce this innovative and useful technology to their own students. Established businesses and start-ups alike are using 3D printing to improve, value-add and create entire new products. Innovative, niche products are springing up across the world enabled by 3D printing technology. "It's like having a mini-factory in your office", one candidate remarked.

Erin, a year 6 student at Figtree Heights Public School noticed his teacher, Ms Thurston, was always frustrated at the mess the computer mice got into in storage. The leads always needed untangling every time they were to be used. Erin saw this as a problem that could be solved with the 3D printer.

Without any prompting, he conceived, designed and printed this "Mouse Tidy" using an online application called TinkerCAD. The device is a set of hanging pegs with slots for the mice to drop into. It features concealed fasteners and is made from a luminous PLA plastic so that it can be seen in the storage cupboard without turning on the lights.

Modfab and NSW State Training are determined to help the Illawarra tackle chronic youth unemployment and can see the potential spin-offs with businesses and entrepreneurs bringing investment to their area. The pilot program has been run with candidates from Figtree High School, Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts, Woonona High School, TAFE Illawarra, Alesco Wollongong, Dapto High School, Kanahooka High School and Figtree Heights Public School. A course completion event for the pilot program will be held at Figtree High School on Thursday, 16th October, 2014 where the successful candidates will be presented with their nationally recognised statement of attainment.

3D printing courses will also be offered to members of the public via WEA –Illawarra (a training organisation that offers adult education and lifestyle courses, business training), starting October, 2014.

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