Gregory van Zuyen’s 3D Printing classes, which were launched in fall 2016, have been so successful that SMC Community Ed has added two classes this fall – 3D Printing Teacher Certification I and II. As the 3D printing technology has taken off, Gregory in this article talks in personal terms how trained instructors will be able to teach, among others, children and librarians. Gregory is also the managing editor of the online 3D printr magazine.

By Gregory van Zuyen

Susan, my wife, caught me on the stairwell. She was going out to pick up our 5-year-old son from a LEGO play date. Our conversation ran the gamut of getting our son movie tickets for “Ninjago” to how pitiful our LEGO collection is compared to that of other parents. As conversations often go here in our household, we were quickly talking of how to 3D print LEGOs — once again.

YouTube host Matt Denton holds up a 3D-printed LEGO creation.

3D printing LEGOs spurred me to tell her of the work I was doing with SMC Continuing Education’s 3D Printing Teacher Certification courses. “The real focus in the industry right now is in education,” I said. “Children can learn to do this very same skill and they are doing it now in some places. What is beautiful about the idea is that the technology is there to tap into the spellbinding creativity of children. What we can create in the future is unimaginable, because we have become adults.”

Susan responded, “That reminds me of an idea I had — that all the current 3D printing jobs are at libraries. Libraries already have 3D printers and they need the staff qualified to print out requests for people.”

L.A. Public Library celebrated Science Day 2016 with 3D printer display.

I nodded that this was true; we’ve seen it ourselves. It’s a job trend that will only grow.

“Beyond that,” I said,  “There will be 3D print shops in every city.”

“Yeah, but right now,” she said, “We need to find a less costly way to make our kid’s LEGO collection a marvel to behold. I’m embarrassed to host a play date.”

“Which is why,” I said, “I’m trying to find ways to teach our son to do it himself with the printer we have.”

She nods, gratified in knowing that with the progress of 3D printing so far, our son’s generation will have astonishing capabilities to explore.

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