Dec 21, 2015 | By Alec

It has been said often enough that kids should start learning the basics of 3D printing as early as possible, as it gives them an excellent head start in preparing for adulthood in the next decade. The problem is that there isn’t a good educational platform yet that makes 3D printing fun, easy, understandable and safe. Fortunately, a contender has just arisen on Kickstarter. Educational 3D printing company Dream Factory has just launched a crowdfunding campaign for a 3D printing book called ‘The Little Designer’ that, combined with open source designs, takes kids on a fun, colorful and educational adventure into the world of 3D printing.

This is in fact the second step in Dream Factory’s plans, following the release of a collection of fun and free ‘Buddyracers’ for kids back in April. Dream Factory is a project by Nestor I LLannos, also known as Yan. Nestor is an Arizona-based 3D printing specialist and was the lead Design Engineer at Local Motors for the Strati, the world’s first 3D printed car. Seeing the advantages, he wanted to pass on his knowledge of 3D printing and 3D design to his own children, but in an age appropriate setting. “For instance, my 10 year old daughter has been drawing in 3D on Tinkercad, and 3D printing her own toy designs for more than a year and has helped me develop this educational book “The Little Designer”, in engaging my 5 years old found the lowest age limit of the 3D builder team”, he says. “It was not easy work, I have been working with my daughters for more than one year, I wrote it to engage them in an appropriate way and I hope I can spark the creativity from more children introducing the 3D technology in a full potential.”

And the book seems to do just that. It’s an educational experience that will enable kids to slowly come to grips with 3D digital design and 3D printing in a fun, colorful and intuitive way. “The book is set in a fictional world called Buddyland, which is created by dad and expanded by the kids. This fictional world is  inhabited by the characters and their vehicles introduced in the tutorials. The book starts very simply, showing how to create a cartoon character with just two spheres, and then how to print it to receive quick gratification,” Nestor explains. “By lowering the learning curve, children can be encouraged to move into these details faster, making their own toys truly unique.”

Once the first steps are completed, kids will have a basic understanding of 3D printing and design, and through motivational tutorials and fun projects filled with monsters, cars and spaceships, they learn more and more without even realizing it. “We open by telling about the annual Buddyland event, The Buddygames, which includes Buddyracers, Monster Extravaganza, and Aircraft Race. This creates an imaginary platform for children to create their own toys and games,” he adds. Before they know it, kids will have built their own Buddyland world, packed with 3D printed toys that encourage imagination and creativity. Many of the pre-made designs for the world are available at

Fortunately, parents can rest assured that it is also safe and easy learning experience. It also teaches safety and procedures, and encourages interaction with mom and dad during creation. “Many of the models in the book are designed for ease of teaching, as well as the ease of printing. They are designed without the need for support material to be removed and a short print time (around 15 minutes). There are also activities to do while printing, making the timeline of “design – make – play” optimized and holding the shorter attention spans of young children,” Nestor explains.

The Little Designer thus seems to be a perfect educational experience for kids, and will put them on the path towards 3D design as early as possible. It’s therefore no wonder that Nestor is even hoping to find some interested schools too. “Children are incredibly great at absorbing information, and if schools can dedicate curriculum that engages children in learning 3D design, they can learn at an earlier age how to explore the technology’s full potential. Then, they can create by design and make by 3D printing,” he says, adding that he hopes that this book will convince both parents and educators that 3D printing can definitely be a technology for the young.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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