As 3D printing becomes more affordable and solidified as a part of our manufacturing future, classrooms around the world — from elementary school to higher education, have started to adapt this emerging technology fully into their STEM curriculum. With cheaper and more compact desktop 3D printers flooding the market, schools and universities have begun transforming one 3D printer workshops into legitimate Makerspaces.
As great as the expansion of educational 3D printing has been, this growth also necessitates a need for complementary systems that both monitor and enhance the 3D printing process. The need for a 3D printing management systems has never been higher. If you’ve ever used a 3D printer before, you know that there are many debilitating variables that can cause issues that will make your hair grey before the day’s end. It can be very frustrating trying to figure out what the issue is, and even more so trying to repair it. So, when you have multiple 3D printers to supervise, especially in the hectic setting of a classroom, this dilemma is amplified.
3D printing is a relatively slow technology, ever more so when compared to 2D printers. Depending on the quality setting you choose, a small chess piece could take from 30 minutes to 8 hours to produce on a 3D printing machine. So, if you have a classroom of 30 students, all wanting to print their 3D design, managing the fleet of 3D printers becomes a tiresome exercise for the school printer administrator, especially if these 3D printers are located in different classrooms or even campuses. Now, one new invention from the New Zealand-based 3D printing company 3D Printing Systems, called the Bunker, is here to help transform the educational aspect of 3D printing.
The Bunker is a patent-pending smart filament cartridge storage system created to assist and enhance the 3D printing process in the classroom. Part of what the Bunker does is quite simple, it sits next to your 3D printer and effectively feeds the filament into your 3D printer. But, in addition to that essential function, the Bunker is also a very clever device, allowing for the 3D printer administrator to see which printers are printing, which are finished, and which printers have run out of filament. In the educational setting where funding is often limited and time is of the essence, the Bunker aims to save these schools money and monitor the entire 3D printing process.
The Bunker will allow students to log onto the system with their student card, meaning that both time and materials can be monitored and billed to the user appropriately. Once the 3D printer finishes its operation, the student user is sent a notification and automatically logged off. With the Bunker, you don’t waste precious funds or materials, instead you are able to account for every single object that has been printed.
The Bunker offers the following features for educational purposes:
- manage spending by student or department
- reports of activity by printer, student, class or department
- flexible charging model per print, by time, by material or combination
- notification to student that print has finished
- report on what printers and filament has the highest failure rate.
As many of you know, the majority of 3D printers being sold today do not have any smart features to detect or notify you of issues with the printing process, which is an issue that is amplified in the confines of the classroom. That dilemma will soon be defeated by the Bunker, which works with almost all desktop 3D printers available on the market today. With this new smart filament cartridge system, you will be able to keep your filament in pristine condition, manage the entire 3D printing process via the Bunker app, monitor the printing activities of your student, and help your students get a head start on what is bound to be the future of manufacturing.