Today, I printed my first 3D object. The DNA model didn't go exactly as planned, but I'm very impressed.
Iowa State recently funded the purchase of a 3D printer as one of the technology experiences for my undergraduate course in instructional technology. The Solidoodle printer is ridiculously cheap, and I predict that every school will have one in 10 years. It did take a while to get it (they make them to order), and we did have to order an additional cleaning kit (it gunked up after the first test). The software is cumbersome and took the CTLT some time to set up on a PC laptop. Between rendering the image and printing, the entire process took about two hours. Otherwise, very cool stuff.
I don't have time in my life to make a 3D model of DNA, so I downloaded one from Thingverse. They have an excellent repository of 3D models under the creative commons license. Right now I'm focused on play, and then I'll think about application to the content areas. What's next? Printing myself a cheese doorstop!
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