Develop 21st Century Skills with 3D Printers

3D printing technology is successfully settling in different niches of business and industry :

  • manufacturing for producing parts for cars and aircraft,
  • topography for printing 3D maps,
  • medicine – creating customized prosthetics, medical equipment, and organ models.

Obviously, with the expansion of 3D printing industry, costs going down, and quality improvements, there will be more areas affected by the technology. With new models of 3D printers appearing in the market, it is hard to foresee all future application areas but there are some obvious directions in which 3D printing industry will grow:

  • Medical applications;
  • Customization of consumer products;
  • Part replacement;
  • Manufacturing.

The expansion of 3D printing industry creates new demand for professionals in the industry, variety of online courses and programs are already developed by leading universities to meet the skill demands in the job market. It is also important to enhance theoretical knowledge with practical skills – ability to install, to manage and to conduct printing using real equipment .

Currently, there are different models available for customers to develop 21st century skills with 3D printers and these models differ by sizes, application areas, and printing materials.

I’d like to offer for your attention few popular models of 3D printers suitable for beginners.

Athorbot 3D printer

3D Printer, Athorbot 2 in 1 Dual Extruder Prusa i3 Large size 270 x 200 x 170mm, Print Single / Dual / Mixed / Graded Color, Better Than Other CR-10 / 10s

Price: $599 from Amazon

Additional Information:

  • The printer equals 4 different printers, which not only can print single color/dual color, but also support to print mixed/ graded color.
  • The 3d printers machine kit only need about 10 minutes to assemble.
  • No need to purchase gradient filament anymore.
  • This 3d printer can be used for children and adults  in schools, colleges, businesses.
  • This is best selling 3d printer in 2017.
  • Printer is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Samples of application

Customer review:

Rating : 4.3 out of 5

Positive feedback

  • Works as advertised;
  • simple to set;
  • Simple to use;
  • Working flawlessly;
  • Works great;
  • Perfect colors.

Critical feedback:

  • Not user-friendly;
  • hard to install;
  • No clear instructions.

Monoprice Select Mini 3D printer

Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer with Heated Build Plate, Includes Micro SD Card and Sample PLA Filament – 121711 – Black

Price: $220 from Amazon

Additional Information

  • Printer works with any type of filament from any manufacturer;
  • Uses free open-source software Windows and Mac compatible, compatible with Cura, Repetier, and other software ;
  • It features an all metal nozzle, insulated heated built plate, upgraded cooling, 3.7” IPS color screen, and wireless, Wi-Fi connectivity;
  • The best community rated 3D printer;
  • the printer comes fully assembled and calibrated at the factory;
  • Include sample PLA filament and a microSD™ card with pre-installed models;
  • Insulated and heated built plate with pre-installed build mat;
  • Manuals available;
  • Online technical support available.



Customer reviews

Rating 3.6 out of 5

Positive feedback

  • It is good printer for the beginners;
  • Easy setup;
  • Quality prints;
  • It has run great for 10hrs + a day for a most 8 months;
  • Having a lot of fun working with the printer;
  • Done many successful prints with it.

Critical Remarks

  • Have not been able to get the printer to communicate with my computer;
  • Customer support is bad;
  • Quality control is lacking.

ROBO 3D R1 Plus

ROBO 3D R1 Plus

Price 499.99 from Amazon

Additional Information

  • A compact but versatile machine that can print objects from a variety of materials;
  • Uses almost any open-source software, a flexible range of materials, a variety of resolution settings, and most current operating systems;
  • Large print size – Robust 10 x 9 x 8 in. print size is perfect for a wide-range of projects;
  • Automatic leveling and calibration;
  • Compatible with a wide range of Robo/non-Robo filaments (PLA, ABS, HIPS and nylon;
  • Easily make modifications, upgrades;
  • Fast Print Speed;
  • 24/7 phone support;
  • Allows to schedule a 1-on-1 repair session with a technician via Skype;
  • The R1+ comes fully assembled and calibrated;
  • Heated print bed prevents uneven cooling



Customer reviews

Rating 3.7 out of 5

Positive feedback

  • A good printer if you have time for the setup;
  • Reliable with good components;
  • Amazed what this printer can do;
  • impressed with the price, the quality of the product, the packaging, the quality of the prints;
  • it worked straight out of the box;
  • Excellent Value and it works.

Critical Remarks

  • Continually leaks and jams;
  • Not user-friendly and slow;
  • Some feeding issues;
  • Beginning is very challenging.

New Matter MOD-t Desktop 3D Printer

New Matter MOD-t Desktop 3D Printer | Built-In WiFi, Easy to Use, Safe and Quiet

Price: 499.99 from Amazon

Additional Information

  • Easy setup;
  • WiFi Enabled – print wirelessly from the computer, tablet, or smartphone;
  • Higher print quality and resolutions is 50 microns;
  • Print with high quality, eco-friendly PLA filament (different colors);
  • Unlimited phone, email, and chat support if needed;
  • Hardware and software design is simple and reliable, operation intuitive;
  • Suitable for home or classroom;
  • The clear cover protects prints, reduces noise, protects fingers from the heat and moving parts of the printer (important feature if the printed is operated by kids);


Customer reviews

Rating 3.7 out of 5

Positive feedback

  • High quality output and user-friendly;
  • Great printer and great value for the price;
  • Quiet printer;
  • Good customer care;
  • Nice prints;
  • Lots of fun when working with the printer;
  • Simple to set up and operate, good for kids

Critical Remarks

  • It can be a challenge to find settings for third party software;
  • High job failure rate;
  • Some important functionality not implemented;
  • Poor support;
  • Not suitable for printing complex models.

Developing valuable skills…

If you have read pros and cons based on the customer reviews, you noticed that is some cases the most important and valuable features for one customer, did not work for another customer. This is happening with new technologies in some cases.

We have already thousands of different 3D printer models available but the technology is still in its early days. It seems that the next five years will bring better quality models – more user-friendly, more reliable and with expanded functionality.
Since the technology is developing and growing rapidly, let’s learn how to use it and manage it. I am sure these skills will be needed very soon.

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2 thoughts on “Develop 21st Century Skills with 3D Printers”

  1. Great review on 3d Printers. Its it absolutely amazing where technology has brought us these days. To think you can even have one of these in your home, thatch crazy!
    Whats is the material one of these uses? Is it plastic or carbon fiber?
    I could think of 50 uses right of the top of my head.
    The Athorbot 3D printer looks like the one to get, however for someone new like me I might have to look into a more user friendly model.
    Gonna have to look into these a bit more, thanks for ll the intell.

    1. Thank you Brendon for stopping by… Thank you for the interest.

      Well, technology is taking us to unexpected destinations. And 3D printing technology is going to change entire industries. It takes 5-10 years. Ir will also affect job market by adding new specialties in the list.

      Regarding Athorbot  (like all printers from this company) they use different materials/different filament , PLA, ABS, WOOD, HIPS, NYLON, PVA. And you are right, it is  the most interesting and universal printer from the list I produced.

      Wishing you all the best,


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