Why have 3D printers in the classroom?

Children love to explore and try new things, but many are afraid to try, they are scared of failure. 3D printing removes that fear, instead it embodies them with confidence to venture into the unknown. Additive manufacturing has existed for an excess of 25 years, but is still an emerging technology in the classroom. Educators and students a like an exploring the different ways that 3D printers can influence and enhance the learning in the classroom.

3D printing in education is unique compared to other technologies. The mindset of the student becomes one where it is okay to fail and encourages experimentation in their learning.

A report released by the NMC Horizon Project highlighted that 3D printing will have a massive impact on education, particularity in the STEM areas in the next 3-5 years. Combined with an ‘Internet of things’ children of today will have powerful tools to solve the problems of tomorrow. With the removal of failure as a fear holding them back, students will be able to reach new levels of thinking and problem solving.

It’s clear that 3D Printing holds, and will continue to hold, an important place in education. The question is, how does one decide which printer to use to support a given curriculum?

Some things to consider:

  • How easy is the 3D printer to set up and use?
  • How many students can use it at one time?
  • How do I get help if things don’t go as planned?
  • What kind of a warranty guarantee comes along with the printer?
  • Is there telephone support?

The Afinia Desktop 3D Printer is a logical choice:

Make Magazine selected it as “Best Overall Experience,” “Easiest To Set Up,” and “Easiest To Use” in their most recent review of 15 3D printers.

Some printers cost in excess of $30,000 and can only print a few students’ projects at one time. For that investment, you can get 23 Afinia printers and everything you need to get started quickly.

The Afinia Desktop 3D Printer was voted ‘Educator’s Choice‘ at MakerFaire NY.

Teachers appreciate Afinia’s friendly and knowledgeable telephone support.

Afinia has the industry leading 1 year warranty, with an option to purchase an extended warranty.


Octave’s New Knowledge Base for 3D Printing

Octave Systems has created a new 3D Printing knowledge base called ProPrint3D.

This knowledge base provides valuable information on how to deal with various problems associated with 3D printers, 3D printer filament, 3D printer accessories, and 3D printing in general. There is an extensive FAQ section as well as a repository of useful STL files, and a collection of Featured Articles that are in the form of guides and how-to’s.

Most of the information contained in this site is primarily related to products available from the online store at Octave Systems, although the tips and solutions offered in the FAQs, articles and videos, apply to 3D printing in general.

If you have a question or problem related to 3D printing, please feel free to submit it through our Ask a Question page and our team of experts will do their best to provide a solution.

If you have a case study or have written an article related to 3D printing, you can submit it on our Submit an Article page and we would be happy to review it and if found suitable, publish it on this site, giving you full credits.

Octave Adds New UP mini 3D Printer Bundle

UP mini 3D Printer Bundle #2

Save with this bundle offer featuring the UP mini 3D Printer, Octave toolkit A & B, Borosilicate Glass, Kapton Tape, Extruder Nozzle multi Setting Temperature Switch, and 2 Nozzle Pack 0.4mm 6 Corners. $795 value at a sale price of only $695.


UP mini 3D Printer

The UP mini 3D Printer provides a true “Out of the Box 3D Printing Experience” as the 3D Printer comes fully assembled, with easy to install software for both the PC and Mac.

Tool Kit A

3D Printer knife set – 5 versatile cutting Tools.

Tool Kit B

3 versatile cutting and handling tools for 3D Printer

Borosilicate Glass Platform

Advanced users of Afinia and UP printers really appreciate the ability to print models without raft and with a base that has a very smooth mirror-like finish.

Kapton Tape 6″ x 100′

This high temperature polyimide film with silicone adhesive provides a superior build platform solution for most of your parts. Works with many print surfaces – especially our Borosilicate Glass Platform.

Extruder Nozzle multi Setting Temperature Switch

Afinia and UP 3D printers have a high filament melt point temperature on the extruder nozzle. This is approximately 260 degrees C. Third party filament generally has a lower melt point. This enhancement to the Afinia and UP 3D Printers allows you to select from 127 possible preset temperature points ranging from 180° up to 266°.

2 Nozzle Pack 0.4mm 6 Corners

Nozzles can clog up or build a coating of burnt filament which affects printing quality. Keep a couple of spare nozzles on hand for quick replacement.

FlashForge Dreamer 3D Printer

The Flashforge Dreamer 3D Printer has arrived. This highly anticipated 3D Printer incorporates the latest in 3D printing technology. Featuring an ARM Contex-M4 CPU, touchscreen LCD, WiFi USB/2.0 connectivity as well as built in 4Gb storage with up to 32Gb SD card memory. This 3D printer also includes self calibrating technology, dual head/ two colour printing, a heated print bed as well as a fully enclosed build chamber for improved print quality.

Flashforge have developed their own easy to use 3D printer software – Flashprint which can generate gcode files or send directly to the printer via WiFi, USB or SD Card.

The Flashforge Dreamer is a high performance, easy to use 3d printer and offers excellent value. Call your Octave Systems Sales Rep for more details!

Makerbot Replicator 5TH GEN Desktop 3D Printer!!

Unmatched speed, reliability, quality, and connectivity for all your 3D printing needs.

• Fifth generation technology defines the new standard for ease of use, quality, and reliability
• Powered by the new, user-friendly MakerBot Replicator 3D Printing Platform
• App and cloud enabled
• USB, Ethernet, or Wi-Fi connectivity ensures a seamless production workflow (Wi-Fi coming soon)
• New MakerBot Replicator Smart Extruder, motion controllers, and gantry design
• On-board camera and diagnostics, and assisted build-plate leveling

• Build volume of 8 x 10 x 6 inches (456 cubic inches) 11% larger than the MakerBot Replicator 2 Desktop 3D Printer
• Makes true-to-life objects quickly and easily
• Enables you to manufacture on demand

• Create professional-quality, high-resolution prototypes and complex models
• Get smooth-to-the-touch surfaces that don’t need sanding, finishing, or postproduction
• Create realistic prototypes and models for demonstrations and presentations
• Choose settings that range from fast draft to finer resolution

Review of Polymakr and PLA Filament Offerings from Octave.com

New Polymakr and PLA Filament Offerings

Compare 3D Printer PLA and ABS Filament

If you are about to embark on creating things with your new printer, it might be a good idea to learn something about your new paints, namely the plastic that you’ll be using.

Choosing your Plastic

Currently there are two common types of plastic used in 3D printing – PLA (Polylactic Acid or Polylactide) which is plant starch based and ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) which is petroleum based. Both PLA and ABS have pros and cons. One or the other may be better for your situation. For example, ABS requires higher temperatures to extrude than PLA. That often requires that you use a hot plate to print on so the part does not cool too fast as it is being printed. PLA, on the other hand, frequently prints better if there is a fan blowing on the part to cool it down before it can droop.

PLA Filament

PLA is made from plants rich in starch like sugar beets, corn and wheat. It is both commercially 100% compostable and 100% biodegradable. Compostable means that it can be broken down into water, carbon dioxide and biomass, will not produce any toxic material and can support plant life. Biodegradable means that it can be broken down over time through a process involving microorganisms (fungi or bacteria). However, the process can create methane at a rate 62 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

ABS Filament

ABS is a petroleum based plastic and not safe to use for products which may come into contact with food.



  • More brittle than ABS
  • Can droop if it gets too hot, for example, if it is left in a hot car in the summer time
  • Usually turns white along the high stress zone when it is bent, then breaks into lots of little pieces
  • Even though it is made from plants, it may contain dyes and binders which are not food safe
  • Smells sweet when it is being printed
  • Strength is relatively equal to ABS


  • Impact resistant and tough
  • Hard
  • Glossy
  • Petroleum based
  • Flammable
  • Prone to cracking if cooled too quickly
  • Usually bends before it breaks
  • Has a strong, toxic smell when it is being printed
  • Strength is relatively equal to PLA


ABS usually needs a fully up to temperature heat bed or the part may not work. PLA , on the other hand benefits from cool blowing air to keep its temperature down so it does not droop. But it can also benefit from a heated printbed.

Many people have had good results printing ABS on Kapton, a form of Polyimide tape which is surprisingly expensive. But it usually lasts a long time. PLA , on the other, hand can often print right onto borosilicate glass. Some people find that PLA works great unheated on blue painters tape but the tape needs to be replaced fairly frequently.

Octave ABS filament

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