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High school students' lack of knowledge regarding 3D printers. Answered

Has anyone else come upon the severe lack of knowledge about 3D printers by high school students, and possibly people in general as well?

Today, my teacher announced to my art class that: "Some architects will be coming in to show us their 3D printer that they built".
Then, practically every student started to say things such as: "what the hell is that?".
The teacher then said that: "it's like a printer, but it prints things out in 3D".
After that, one student asked: "so it like prints stuff out on paper in 3D?"
So the teacher replied: "no, it prints objects out in 3D".
Then, the same student asked again: "so it prints stuff out onto paper in 3D.....?".

It went on like this for about 5 minutes, until the teacher got tired of explaining from her limited knowledge of 3D printers.

After the teacher managed to end the conversation, I heard murmurs from the others saying things like: "I don't get it..?" and "That doesn't make any sense..".

Has anyone else encountered this?
(not that I'm an expert on 3D printers or anything..)



People don't know about things that they're not told about or exposed to.
3D printing isn't something that has general widespread exposure as a technical subject.
The teacher failed to explain it very well, so maybe they didn't really understand it either (limited knowledge)?


Thanks for the reply,

as I said to Lithium Rain, I wish that these sorts of things would have more exposure towards the younger generations.

There are a lot of things to which younger generations may be exposed to, but only so much time in their lives. With so much information available, everyone is going to be ignorant of most of it, while very well aware of some of it.


I remember a few moths ago I got drawn into a discussion on yahoo news about the subject of 3d printers.
The article was about a printed heart valve or something similar & one guy in particular was claiming that such printers were only available to the very rich & would never be available to the man in the street, he as much as called me insane when I tried to explain the facts to him ;-)
I seem to recall having a similar conversation with a friend about twenty years ago when I suggested to him that "One day we will all have the facility to write our own CD's though our computer" I then went on to talk about solid state disks in computers & he told me that I "obviously read too much science fiction and had no idea what I was talking about"
I do wish I had put a large bet on that conversation...

Ha, I had that exact same conversation about writing on cd's.. and then again with DVDs.

I really wish that these people would put an effort into researching the topics before getting into a stupid argument about it with some random stranger on the Internet..

Sounds more like it was the teachers fault. Students hear 3D and they think 3D televisions, movies and games, where the picture jumps off the screen where it "looks" three dimensional. Then you say printer and they're thinking of paper pictures and essays. Or those retarded pictures where you unfocus your eyes to see the picture hiding in the fuzzy paint splatter if you use the words 3D and printer in the same sentence.

A better way to explain it would have been to say it builds up layers, operating "like" a printer does on each layer then raising up and repeating the "printing" to create the form, over and over. This operation of creating an object is called 3D printing even though there's no red and blue glasses required. Or, like a computer controlled glue gun...is quicker.

Those pictures aren't *that* retarded.. although I seem to have lost the ability to view them since the last time I remember doing so when I was around 7...


5 years ago

When I try to talk to people about 3D printers and find that they have trouble wrapping their minds around the concept, I generally say that it's like a computer-controlled glue gun. Most people have used a glue gun before, and can imagine using one to build objects by layering the glue as it hardens.

That sounds like a much easier explanation, although I'm not sure the teacher even had any idea of what she was talking about.


5 years ago

Most people I run into haven't heard of mills or lathes before, 3D printers isn't on their radar yet. I do like Hack42Moem and explain it like a hot glue gun that makes different layers, like those 3D layered head puzzles.

Think anyone ever tried making a 3D model by hand, with an actual glue gun? I think I'm going to try that, how could that not work!

Make an Instructable about it!

The problem is context - "3d" has a different meaning in an art lesson compared to, say, and engineering lesson.

Tell your teacher that, next time, they should say "we've got a bunch of folk coming in with a cool gadget that will take a digital design and turn it into an object you can hold in your hand as easily as a printer turns a digital picture into a picture you can hang on the wall."

Thanks for the reply,

at least she helped the context by mentioning that they are architects.. (hopefully my generation knows what those are..)

Most high school students (unfortunately, many high school GRADUATES) lack sufficient knowledge of much more fundamental things than 3D printers (history, science, language arts including basic literacy). 3D printers are very cool, but unless you hang out on a particular area of the internet or happen to be into that kind of thing IRL it's unlikely that you've heard of it.

I don't think they were particularly ignorant.

Thanks for the reply,

I guess that's true, although I wish that there would be more exposure to these sorts of things..