visibility_off 'Little Designer' introduces children to 3D printing
‘Little Designer’ introduces children to 3D printing
Nestor with his daughters Sofia (left) and Mia.
CHANDLER, ARIZ -- A couple years ago, long-time Local Motors design engineer Nestor Llanos was trying to explain to his daughters Sophia and Mia (now 10 and five years old, respectively) how the 3D-printed Strati went from concept to running vehicle. But talking about extruders, filament and axes to young children proved to be a losing proposition.
“I couldn’t find any educational materials that teach 3D printing technology in the way that kept their attention,” Nestor said. “So I made some 3D cartoon-themed digital models, purchased a beginner 3D printer and the fun began.”
Once Nestor experienced some success teaching his daughters basic 3D printing principles, he decided to expand the opportunities to more children by partnering with a friend who owns a preschool. Kids at the school got involved in the design and printing processes while Nestor and the other adults developed a storyline to keep them interested. All the children’s exercises and experiences were documented and compiled in the book “The Little Designer.”
“The book is a compilation of all the processes we used to get the kids involved in the design,” Nestor said. “It teaches 3D shapes in Tinkercad and provides intuitive ways to teach pre-teens how to design characters, transportation and other accessories.”
Nestor started a Kickstarter campaign to get his book project funded. But once Local Motors executives were made aware of the project, they decided to fund it in-house. The partnership with LM will be through Dreamfactory, the online space Nestor founded that focuses on this young Maker movement.
Kevin Miller, Senior Brand Manager at Local Motors, said the entire “Little Designer” experience will soon be available to families at Local Motors retail spaces in Knoxville, Tennessee and National Harbor, Maryland via LM Labs. Both those locations will open in the coming months.
Nestor has even larger goals for his project.
“My personal expectation is to bring the book to schools to light that maker spark in children and teach 3D printing technology in a fun, intuitive way.”