Categories
3D Printing Education STEAM Teaching

3D printing challenge – real world application for classroom learning

If you’re on the hunt for some fresh ideas for the classroom consider the PrintLab|Autodesk assistive device challenge which is a global 3D design and print competition open from now until 1 April 2021.

This global initiative will see schools across the globe investigate, relate and create with a mission of making the lives of the elderly or disabled in their communities just that little bit easier with a thoughtfully designed assistive device.

How much time you want your class spend on the project is up to you. To assist teachers there are banks of lesson plans ready to go. You can run it as a block of 5 x 1 hour sessions, or spend a little more time and follow the 10 x 1 hour session lesson plans. There’s even mapping to the Australian curriculum.

Where your not feeling confident with 3D design and printing EduKits would love to help you out. We can hook you up with a great portable classroom printer – the UP Mini 2, and help skill you up with 5 hours PD you can self pace through online covering 3D design and printing principles including how to manage a classroom of students using CAD software TinkerCad.

If you’ve been 3D printing for a while with your class you might want to jump straight in. Registration for the competition along with the full terms and conditions are available on the website https://www.makeablechallenge.com/

We look forward to seeing what solutions the next generation of dreamers, thinkers and tinkerers come up with.

Categories
Arduino News Updates

Code Kit: More Powerful than Ever Before

Code Kit is our simple, drag-and-drop coding app for Arduino, launched just a few months ago to replace Codeables Studio. Now, we’ve delivered the next big updated with more features and capabilities than ever before.

In this article, we’ll unpack some of the most notable changes and new features, and explain how you can make the most of them.

If you haven’t used Code Kit before, you should definitely give it a look at edukits.co/code.

Code Kit is back and better than before, with a radical new design and a host of new features.

Variables

Save, store, use and change data with new variable functionality. A variety of variable types are available, including integer, float, boolean and string variables.

Use variables to store and recall data. Variables can now be used anywhere that allows textual or numerical input.

More Blocks, More Control

A trove of new blocks have been added to the Code Kit library, allowing users more creativity with their coding creations than ever before.

Setup & Loop Block

Users can now add custom setup code.

The most notable of the new blocks, the setup and loop now allows you to specify where code should appear in the program. In previous versions, all code would appear in the main loop. Now, users can add custom code to the setup section.

The new block can be found under the ‘Loops’ section in the toolbox on the left of the application.

LED Strip Control

Control up to 4 RGB LEDs on a single strip with our new block. Each LED is individually addressable (allowing users to set different colours for each LED), allowing almost endless possibilities for customisation and creativity.

Note that the LED strip should be connected to Digital Pin 3 on your microcontroller. The pin settings for some blocks are not yet customisable.

Gesture Sensing

One of our favourites, the new gesture block allows you to respond to gesture inputs from a compatible gesture sensor.

The block works as a boolean, returning ‘true’ if a specific gesture (an ‘up’ gesture, for example), is detected. This can be used in conditional statements as part of an if or loop block.

A Completely New Look

Code Kit now has a completely new look. While our original release drew heavily from its predecessor, Codeables Studio, we’ve now transitioned to a fully new design for the application. We think you’ll love it.

Dark Mode

Don’t like the new Dark Mode? Disable it with the flick of a switch.

With this new look comes Dark Mode, which is enabled by default. You can go back to normal with a handy switch located on the bottom-left of the application, below the left toolbox. We’ll save your preference for next time so that the app looks just how you like it.

New Colours

An all-new colour scheme has taken over the blocks!

Colour is an important part of Code Kit, helping users to distinguish between different block categories and to help them find further blocks to add to their inventions.

You can see the new colours in the toolbox, blocks and throughout the user interface as a whole.

Get Started with Code Kit

The best part about Code Kit is that it’s completely free. Use it at home, in the classroom or for some serious work. It’s up to you.

Categories
3D Printing News

Free Filament with 3D printer purchases for the month of June 2020

We’ve been looking after schools this month with great deals on bundles on 3D printers complete with teachers resources. For the home or commercial user we’ve got some freebies to give away with each 3D printer purchase this June.

UP Mini 2

Buy the UP Mini2 ES portable 3D printer and receive 2kgs of PLA filament free of charge.

UP 300

Buy the UP 300 workhorse 3D printer and receive a free Cetus3D printer. Print two jobs at once. Awesome.

Up X5

Buy the X5 continuous 3D printer and receive 10 rolls of PLA filament free of charge.

The small print

Offers end 30 June 2020. Free filament will be from colours chosen at random. Promotion only open to our Australian customers.

Categories
Education News Schools

Laser Cutters EOFY sale

With the end of financial year nearly upon us EduKits are running a special on laser cutters.

Deal 1 – For schools with existing filter exhaust systems

  • Emblaser 2 Desktop laser cutter
  • Inbuilt air-assist cutting
  • LightBurn software

Pricing $3,679.90
Save $131.60

Deal 2 – For schools needing a machine with fume extraction

  • Emblaser 2 Desktop laser cutter
  • Inbuilt air-assist cutting
  • Add-on fume filtration system included
  • Spare Filter
  • LightBurn software

Pricing $4,907.90
Save $248.35

To take advantage of this special, send us a message and we can give you a formal quotation for your school. We can be contacted here.

Categories
3D Printing Education News

End of financial year 3D printing specials

With schools around Australia resuming as Covid-19 shutdowns ease it would be easy to forget the end of the financial year fast approaching.

EduKits are running some great end of financial year specials to help educators bring 3D design and printing to their schools.

Special 1 – 3D Printing first experiences bundle

This bundle includes:

  • 1 x Up Mini 2 ES Portable 3D printer
  • 2 x 500 gram rolls of PLA filament
  • 12 month teacher subscription to PrintLab 3D design and 3D printing lesson plans
  • Enrollment into online 5 hour PD course equipping you with the knowledge to effectively run lessons in 3D design and 3D printing.

Pricing $1,595.50
Save $146.90

Special 2 – 3D Printing D&T department special

This bundle includes:

Pricing $4,979.50
Save $204.80

Special 3 – 3D Printing high volume special

  • 1 x UP X5 “Continuous” 3D printer
  • 8 x 500 gram rolls of PLA filament
  • 12 month school-wide subscription to PrintLab 3D design and 3D printing lesson plans
  • Enrollment for all teachers at your school into an online 5 hour PD course covering 3D design and 3D printing.

Pricing $8,199.90
Save $429.60

To jump onto one of the above deals, just send us a message through our contact page.

Categories
Arduino Coding News

The best drag-and-drop Arduino block coding editor

Teaching coding to kids can be a little challenging, especially with Arduino. Text-based coding is extremely intimidating for those just getting started, and it’s extremely easy to run into errors if you don’t know what you’re doing.

In the classroom, things can get messy pretty quickly. If you’re a digital technologies teacher (or have even dabbled in tech teaching), the raucous of 25 kids all having technical difficulties at once should be familiar.

That’s why we built Code Kit, our new block-coding app for Arduino – to make teaching Arduino infinitely easier.

In a nutshell, here’s what this looks like:

  • Drag ‘n’ drop blocks together (no text code!)
  • Wide selection of sensor/loop/function blocks
  • Upload code directly to the Arduino board on app*
  • Supported by the friendly EduKits Team 🙂

Quickstart Guide

Although code kit is a desktop app, you can use it on the web without any software download (or account) required. You will automatically be greeted with a blank file to have a play around with.

Your first blocks

The code is created by dragging and dropping blocks within the app and arranging them in a certain order. In the toolbox to the left of the screen, you can view all the categories of blocks the app has to offer.

To add a block, click on one of the categories and then click and drag any block on to the workspace (the white section in the middle of the page). You will see in the pane to the right that the code of this block is automatically generated for you.

Categories explained

The input/output category contains all the blocks you will need for working with lights, sounds, and sensors. Start by dragging some of these into the workspace to see what they do.

The logic category contains all of the if statements and logic blocks, which can be used will with input from sensors and any of the blocks found in the maths category. Will also want to take a look at the loops category which will allow you to repeat sequences of code.

The variables category allows you to create and store text and numbers to be used in different places throughout the code. This is useful for more advanced programs.

Copy and upload

Once you have finished all creating your code, you can either copy it or download an Arduino-compatible file. If you are using our Mac or Windows app, you can hit the upload button to send the code directly to your board.

Save and open files

It’s a good idea to save your finished code file to your computer, in case you want to edit it at a later time. The save button is in the top menu bar, and the adjacent load button can be used the next time you open the website or application.

How does it stack up against alternative options?

When we set out to create an Arduino block coding app, we wanted to create the easiest option for teachers and students to use. Here’s why we think our (free) offering is better than some of the other options out there.

The Arduino IDE

This is the default software for writing and uploading code to your Arduino board. However, it’s difficult to teach with due to the high learning curve of C++, and the fact that code errors are always lurking around the corner.

Code Kit is easy and quick to learn. Code errors? Basically a thing of the past, seeing as you don’t have written syntax.

Ardublockly

On the surface, Code Kit might just look like a flashier version of Ardublockly. We don’t blame you – our blocks app runs on the same framework, but there’s a lot more going on under the hood with ours.

One of Ardublockly’s biggest limitations is the fact that it’s no longer maintained. The web app is quite buggy and the desktop applications no longer seem to work at all.

Code Kit allows you to upload code directly to your Arduino board, without the Arduino IDE installed (unlike Ardublockly). We also test our apps extensively to make sure they work on both Windows and Mac.

Scratch

We know, we know: this isn’t an app for coding Arduino, but we thought it would be worth mentioning due to its popularity. And we love scratch, but it doesn’t work with hardware coding.

There’s just something special about writing code and see it physically do something in the real world, whether that’s making an LED blink or setting off a series of extremely annoying noises. (Check out our Amazing Annoyatron if you’re into that sort of thing.)

Code Kit lets students see their code actually doing things in the physical world. Really, it’s something special.

Quick FAQs

What’s the cost?

Cost? There’s no cost. Code Kit is, and always will be, completely free for you to use inside the classroom and out.

How do I get started?

Get started and have a play around on your first project by heading to the Code Kit web app.

No software download is required, unless you’re looking to upload code directly to your Arduino board. In that case, head to our Code Kit webpage on the main EduKits site for the Mac and Windows software downloads.

Yikes! Something on the app isn’t working!?!

Yeah, that’s not good, and we apologise. Code Kit is a new app, so there will be a few bumps here and there and some things might not work as expected while we’re ironing them out.

Please get in touch with our team to report any issues with the app or to request that we add any features. We appreciate it.

Categories
3D Printing Education Teaching

You should know these top 6 3D design apps for education

3D printing is an amazing new tool for teaching and learning in the classroom. However, we know it can often be difficult to find engaging projects to do with your students.

Don’t worry: we’ve done the work for you. Here are our top 15 3D design apps for education. Some are super-easy to use (see Tinkercad), whilst others require a bit of tech savvy (Blender, we’re looking at you).

1. PrintLab Classroom

Difficulty: Very Low.

This one’s our absolute favourite. PrintLab Classroom is an all-in-one web app that includes lesson plans, teacher training and a student portal. There are heaps of activities to do with your class, so we guarantee you’ll always have something to teach.

If you’re new to 3D printing (or if it’s still a little confusing), PrintLab is a great option as it guides you through all the basics. Learn how 3D printing works, the best printer settings and the secrets of managing printing in the classroom.

It’s probably a bit cheesy to rank one of our own products in the top position here, but don’t just take our word for it. We’d love for you to have a free trial (no card details required – we’re not like that) to test it out in your classroom.

2. Tinkercad

Difficulty: Very Low.

Need a free, easy-to-use app for 3D design? Look no further than Tinkercad. An 8-year-old with no technical experience can figure out how to use it in under 10 minutes, so we’re sure you’ll be able to as well.

You can download Tinkercad to your class iPads and it’ll run on your laptops or desktops, too. You won’t be waiting months for the IT people to install anything: there’s no software to download, just visit the website and start creating.

3. SculptGL

Difficulty: Low.

Artsy teachers will love this one. SculptGL allows you to sculpt like you would in clay, but on the computer in full 3D. Like Tinkercad, this software is free and will run in your web browser without any special downloads required.

Your kids will be able make some really cool things in SculptGL. The best part is once they’re finished, you can download them for 3D printing.

4. Blender

Difficulty: High.

This one’s a lot more hands-on than the others we’ve already listed, but Blender is great for older high-school students. It’s important to note that it does require a software download, will only run on laptop or desktop computers, and will take a little time to learn. However, the models you can make are amazing.

It’s completely free, which is surprising given how powerful it is. Honestly, check out the features gallery.

A great place to start for tutorials is Blender Guru, an Australian YouTuber with heaps of videos on the topic. If you’re a more tech-savvy teacher working with older students, then this might be the software for you.

5. Fusion 360

Difficulty: Medium

The 3D software from Autodesk is basically the industry standard. It’s used in engineering, architecture, electronics and more. Fusion 360 is part of the Autodesk suite, and it’s what your students will likely be using when they go to university.

Essentially, Fusion 360 is a powerful piece of CAD software used to design functional parts. It can easily export files for 3D printing, laser cutting and CNC milling.

It’s completely free for educators and students, and doesn’t have a high learning curve to get started. Even better, Autodesk has a bunch of free tutorials to get you started.

6. 3Dponics

Difficulty: Very Low.

Science teachers: rejoice. Students can design, 3D print and assemble their own hydroponics systems with 3Dponics. The project is free and open-source, and draws from many areas of STEM.

The instructions are clear and easy-to-follow – you don’t normally find that with free resources! You will, however, need to purchase some additional parts to get things working.

Categories
Arduino Electronics

Which Arduino pins are PWM?

If you’re working on an Arduino project, one of the important questions you might be asking is: which ones are the PWM pins?

Our helpful table below covers this information for almost all Arduino boards. Keep reading for more information about each of the boards.

Board Model/sPWM Pins
Arduino Uno, Nano or Mini3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11
Arduino Mega2-13, 44-46
Arduino Leonardo, Micro, Yún3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 13
Arduino WiFi Rev. 23, 5, 6, 9, 10
Arduino MKR Boards0-8, 10, A3 (18), A4 (19)
Arduino MKR1000 Wifi0-8, 10, 11, A3 (18), A4 (19)
Arduino Zero3-13, A0 (14), A1 (15)
Arduino Due2-13
Arduino 1013, 5, 6, 9

Arduino Uno, Nano or Mini

PWM Pins: 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11

The PWM pins for these three boards are the same, and there are a total of 6 of these pins on each board. If this is too few for your project, you might want to look at a beefier (but more expensive) board like the Arduino Mega.

Arduino Mega

The Arduino Mega is a real beast of a board with heaps of IO.

PWM Pins: 2 – 13, 44 – 46

The Mega is a much bigger board than the well-known Arduino Uno, and has a total of 14 PWM pins. This can be useful for larger projects requiring more power, or simply more pins.

Arduino Leonardo, Micro, Yún

PWM Pins: 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 13

The Leondardo, Micro and Yún boards also share the same PWM pins. Especially handy to know if you have all three of them.

The Arduino Wifi has wifi and bluetooth baked right in.

Arduino WiFi Rev. 2

PWM Pins: 3, 5, 6, 9, 10

This board is basically an Arduino Uno (it looks similar, too) but has a WiFi chip on-board. It’s got one less PWM pin than the UNO, so this might not be the board for you if you’re looking at using 6 of them.

Arduino MKR Boards

PWM Pins: 0 – 8, 10, A3 (18), A4 (19)

Arduino MKR1000 Wifi

PWM Pins: 0 – 8, 10, 11, A3 (18), A4 (19)

Arduino Zero

The Arduino Zero packs a 32-bit architecture and a lot of power.

PWM Pins: 3 – 13, A0 (14), A1 (15)

The Zero is a 32-bit board and provides a dramatic increase in performance over other offerings in the Arduino range.

It’s important to note that, unlike most other boards on this list, the Arduino Zero only tolerates 3.3 volts. Running anything higher through the IO pins (PWM included) could cause damage to your board, i.e. fry it. Not good!

Arduino Due

PWM Pins: 2-13

The now-discontinued Arduino 101 looks just like an Uno, but packed many more features.

Arduino 101

PWM Pins: 3, 5, 6, 9

The 101 board is now discontinued, but packed a lot of sensors and features right onto the board making it popular with hobbyists and tinkerers. Don’t get it confused with the Arduino Uno – they both look similar, but have very different PWM pin configurations.

Categories
News

Michael Nixon featured in Australian Information Industry Association ‘Connector Magazine’

Flicking through the pages of this months Connector Magazine published by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) you will find an article on EduKit’s teen founder Michael Nixon.

As a previous winner of an AIIA iAwards the follow up article highlights the recent work Michael has been doing to bring industry relevant training to teachers deploying 3D printing experiences in their classrooms.

The AIIA is Australia’s peak representative body and advocacy group for those in the digital ecosystem. As part of their service to the industry they run an annual awards program which highlights just some of the digital innovation happening within Australia.

A copy of the March 2020 connector magazine is available here.

Categories
3D Printing Education News Teaching

What to expect from PrintLab in 2020

PrintLab Classroom is a creative lesson plan portal for teachers looking to integrate 3D printing into core topics such as science, technology, engineering, arts, maths, computing, geography, history, languages and more. Phew! There’s a lot in there.

We’re really proud of the product so far, but there’s heaps more to come in 2020. EduKits would love to tell you all about it.

1. New Student Learning Portal.

Improved workflow for teachers. Supports blended and flipped learning. Supports e-learning at libraries and makerspaces. New explainer video modules.

The PrintLab Teacher Portal has been extremely popular with educators worldwide. Teachers have access to a comprehensive curriculum, lesson plans and accredited professional development through the portal.

Now, users can look forward to the release of our Student Learning Portal this coming year.

  • Students will be able to access the portal via a ‘class code’. No student information is captured.
  • All PrintLab licences will include access to the Student Portal and will receive a unique class code.
  • Note that there will be a limit to the maximum number of students able to access the portal at one time, depending on your license (teacher or site).

We’re extremely excited about the work done so far and can’t wait to share the final product with our educators around the globe!

2. Bring 3D scanning into the classroom.

Reverse engineering projects. Medical/orthotics projects. Ergonomic design projects. Preservation projects.

3D printing offers students so many amazing design opportunities. 3D scanning brings even more to the table.

That’s why we’ve decided to incorporate 3D scanning into the PrintLab Classroom.

In the new lessons being developed, you can expect to see amazing resources introducing students to reverse engineering, orthotics and more. The 3D scanning curriculum will be developed in partnership with leading manufacturer Shining3D, together with industry and education experts.

We know that not all schools have access to a 3D scanner, which is why all of our lessons will include 3D scan data for those who don’t. However, those with one on hand will have even more flexibility, freedom and opportunities.

3. Full integration of Fusion 360 tutorials.

Advanced CAD modelling. Resources for wider age group (8-16). Software choice depending on ability.

At launch, the CAD foundation for PrintLab Classroom was Tinkercad, a popular and free in-browser app. This made it easy for schools to get started with 3D design and printing, removing cost and knowledge limitations normally present with CAD.

However, especially in high schools, some teachers were looking for more advanced CAD lessons. Last year saw the introduction of new Fusion 360 tutorials into existing plans, allowing older students to experience industry-standard software whilst still at school.

This year, there’s going to be even more of this content. By the second quarter, you can expect all of our lessons to include Fusion 360 tutorials and alternative lesson structures, ensuring each topic can be adapted for students aged 8-16.

4. 3D Printing for more students. No matter where.

Polish curriculum. Greek curriculum. Dutch curriculum. French curriculum. Spanish curriculum. More coming soon.

Our PrintLab classroom is already available in a variety of international languages, including English, Polish, Greek, Dutch and French. We believe that 3D design and printing is for everyone, and aim to share it with as many people as we can around the globe. It has always been the mission of PrintLab to inspire the next generation on a global scale.

This coming year, you can expect to see the Classroom supporting even more languages, including Spanish.