Print your own 3D printer!

Why buy a 3D printer when you can make one? Especially if it can be part of an educational process? This is what Joseph Issa, inventor of the Ulio 3D, proposes. He was at the 40th AQUOPS conference recently to present the device and the educational project that brings it to life.

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Why buy a 3D printer when you can make one? Especially if it can be part of an educational process? This is what Joseph Issa, inventor of the Ulio 3D. He was at the 40th AQUOPS conference recently to present the device and the educational project that brings it to life.

Beware, this project is for those who want to embark on a project a little more complex, but which will allow young people to exploit their potential to the power of 1000! You will also need a "mother printer" to print your creation, but afterwards, this one can even be used to "self-repair" in case of a broken part. 

"The Ulio 3D project allows us to go further to let young people who have a lot of imagination explore. This project goes beyond the scope of a regular class. It can be experienced as an extracurricular project or a digital creation course over several weeks. Some schools also offer it during pedagogical days," explained Marc-André Caron, trainer at Brault & Bouthillier, who is reseller of the product for schools

"Imagine the pride for students who have the opportunity to build a 3D printer that will then be used by the entire school. They become true resource people for the entire school. And yes, young people are capable of taking up this challenge. Trust them," says Joseph Issa, creator of the Ulio 3D, who would have dreamed of experiencing this kind of project when he was in school.

Segmented approach

Once the materials needed to build the printer are purchased, schools have access to an online tutorial that guides them through the process, step by step. It all starts with drawing the parts with Autodesk Fusion 360 software, which offers a free education version (Tinkercad software can also be used). A little tip here: the drawings are available in the online space for those who would like to go faster in this step or who would simply like to reprint parts. Just print them with the master printer.

Then comes the assembly, the programming of the Arduino board that will make the printer work, the start-up, the calibration and here we go! All the steps are presented in explanatory videos that guide those who build the device. Once functional, the printer can make prints from an SD card or be connected to another device via a USB cable.

The device is not on the official purchase list of the Government Procurement Center, but there are budgetary measures to fund its purchase.

The potential of 3D printing in everyday life

This project can become an opportunity to educate students about the possibilities of 3D printing in everyday life. Beyond the creative potential, 3D printing can have a utilitarian use. Among other things, it can be used to print replacement parts for various devices. Joseph Issa gives the example of a student who printed the tip of a hair dryer to replace one that his mother had broken at home. An opportunity to talk about sustainability with the students!

Problem solving, prototyping, creativity, collaboration, and autonomy are also at the heart of the project, which allows students to develop skills needed in the digital age.

A new version of the Ulio has just been designed by Joseph Issa and will be offered for sale starting in the fall of 2022. It is made of building blocks to speed up the building process of the aircraft. So it will offer a different kind of challenge to young builders, but the same possibilities afterwards.

Also see: 

Dimension (s) of digital competence related to this article
8- Take advantage of digital technology as a vector of inclusion and to meet diverse needs
12- Innovate and be creative with digital technology

To see the Framework.

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About the Author

Martine Rioux
Martine Rioux
After studying public communication, Martine worked as a journalist for various publications, before pursuing her career as an interactive communications consultant at La Capitale, a financial group, then at Québec Numérique, an organization she took over as general manager before making the jump. as political advisor in the office of the Minister for Digital Government Transformation. Today she is the online Editor-in-Chief and Special Projects Manager at l'École branchée. Her dream: that everyone has access to technology and can use it as a tool for learning and opening up to the world.

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