3D Scanning and Printing

What is the 3D Printing and Scanning Design Process?

By Matter and Form on March 9, 2020

Gone are the days where printing and scanning only involved two-dimensional paper. While 3D scanning is the process of scanning physical objects to create detailed, interactive digital models. 3D printing is the process of making three dimensional solid objects from those digital models. More than just an activity for professionals and hobbyists, the 3D printing and scanning process is a fantastic way to bring STEAM learning into the classroom. 

STEAM education is an emerging pedagogy that helps students learn and succeed in the world as it exists today so that they are properly set up for tomorrow. It combines art, design, science, technology, engineering and math into one integrated set of problem-solving tools. Rather than teaching each subject separately, STEAM strives to demonstrate, in a hands-on manner, how the best solutions arrive from considering a problem from multiple viewpoints.

For all of its benefits, however, STEAM can be a difficult thing to tangibly bring into the classroom — this is where Matter and Form comes in. The Matter and Form 3D Scanner is a student-friendly STEAM tool that scans physical objects and turns them into 3D models. They can then be altered, adjusted and remodelled depending on the standards-aligned STEAM project being used. Read on to learn about the 3D printing and scanning design process and how it can make STEAM learning a reality in any classroom. 

What is the 3D Printing and Scanning Design Process?

From start to finish, the 3D printing and scanning process is a way for students to participate in hands-on STEAM projects in the classroom. It’s a step-by-step process that involves four key overarching steps: scanning, modelling, printing and iteration. At each stage of this process, students have to make key decisions about their design and how it can best solve the problem at hand.

The 3D Scanning Design Process: Scan – Model – Print – Iterate

  1. Students place an object onto the Matter and Form 3D Scanner.
  2. They then use MFStudio software to ensure proper laser detection, good lighting, and that the object has been properly scanned on all sides. 
  3. MFStudio meshes their various scans together in preparation for export.
  4. Using computer software programs like Tinkercad, students can then modify their scans in a variety of ways — from sizing and scaling to cutting, hollowing and more. 
  5. After this modification process, the project is ready for 3D printing and testing.
  6. Students will then test the effectiveness of their scanned object and repeat the design and testing process until their creation addresses the problem. 

What are the Benefits of 3D Scanning and Printing in the Classroom?

Incorporating 3D printing and scanning into school curriculums not only assists students in learning basic STEAM skills but also in learning fundamental skills that they can use throughout their future professional lives:

  1. Technological literacy and digital modelling
  2. The value of trial and error and iterative testing
  3. The importance of creativity and innovation in problem-solving

The Matter and Form V2 3D Scanner is an Ideal STEAM Classroom Tool

For teachers and educators looking for a user-friendly, effective tool to bring STEAM and 3D scanning into their classrooms, the Matter and Form V2 is the solution. Watch the video below to learn about our 3D scanner and how it can have your students scanning like pros!

How to Use the V2 Scanner in the Classroom 

Understanding the Software

MFStudio Software

MFStudio is the powerful, user-friendly software program that runs the Matter and Form 3D scanner, creating 3D scans. Students use MFStudio to ensure proper laser detection, good lighting, and that the object has been properly scanned on all sides. 

Tinkercad

Tinkercad is a web-based 3D modelling program that allows students to modify their scans in a variety of ways. 

Scanning, Combining and Meshing Scans

Students place an object of their choosing onto the Matter and Form 3D scanner. They then choose any object of their choice from modelling clay to toys. After the object is scanned multiple times to ensure complete coverage, students combine these scans and “mesh” them to create a smooth, detailed digital model. 

Exporting, Tinkering, Printing and Testing

After students are happy with their scans, they can export them into Tinkercad. In Tinkercad, students modify their scans by sizing and scaling, cutting, hollowing and more. It’s where a simple toy can become a coin bank, cellphone holder or keychain, or where a pumpkin can become a digital Jack-o-Lantern. 

After students are happy with their designs, it’s time to print. Once printed, students can test the effectiveness of their scanned objects. They can repeat the design and testing process until their creation addresses the problem at hand. 

For examples of what this process looks like in a lesson plan, consult the following resources:

Matter and Form STEAM Projects

Two Classroom STEAM Projects That Use 3D Scanning

3d printing and scanning design process

How Matter and Form “Solves” For STEAM

The 3D scanning and printing process is the real-world embodiment of STEAM. By using the 3D scanner to teach lessons across different subjects, students become more comfortable using technological and creative processes in different contexts and across a wide variety of fields. 

Matter and Form was founded on the principles of multidisciplinary creative thinking modelled in STEAM. As a result, our 3D scanners and lesson plans solve STEAM by combining art and design thinking with tools of measurement. Designed with student users in mind, the Matter and Form 3D scanner and STEAM projects are fun, meaningful, flexible, standards-aligned and hands-on. Students are able to use the 3D printing and scanning process as to create prototypes and solve problems. 

The 3D Scanning Process Can:

  • Engrain the value of trial and error, problem-solving and iterative testing to develop confidence
  • Teach students how design affects the function of an object
  • Help to build technological literacy and understanding
  • Build hands-on technical skills

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