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STEM Activities

STEM Activity: Create a 3D Design

Are you familiar with 3D printing? 3D (or three-dimensional) printing uses innovative technology to create physical objects from digital designs. 3D printing is often used to develop prototypes, or representations of inventions, but it also can be used to make finished products, including athletic shoes, aircraft components, artificial limbs, artwork, musical instruments, clothing and more.

Celebrate the ingenuity of 3D printing and take your ideas from 2D to 3D with this fun, hands-on 3D craft!


Materials Needed:

  • Cardboard
  • Glue
  • Pen or pencil
  • Scissors
  • Paint and paintbrush (optional)


Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Using a pen or pencil, draw any shape on a piece of paper, then cut the shape out of the paper.
  2. Lay the paper shape on top of a piece of cardboard, trace your shape, then cut it out of the cardboard.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until your shape is cut out at least four times from the cardboard.
  4. Stack the cardboard shapes on top of one another and glue them together, creating a thicker 3D shape.
  5. Add extra flair to your layered creation by painting your own designs!


What Are We Discovering?

A flat object, like a drawing, has two dimensions: length and width. When you create something three-dimensional, you add depth.

In 1983, National Inventors Hall of Fame® Inductee Charles Hull invented stereolithography, the first commercial rapid prototyping technology, commonly known as 3D printing. The earliest applications were in research and development labs and tool rooms, but today, 3D printing applications are seemingly endless.


Keep the Fun and Learning Going!

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