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Personally I'm not all that into games on computers or tablets, I see these devices as being more for “doing” things with. But a can see that these programs and apps have great appeal to youngsters. So why not use them as a way to introduce kids to designing an making with 3D printing?
Well that's just what 3D Systems and Cubify have done with the new app “Blokify”. It's available for iOS and Android. Here is the link to the Apple App Store.
The app is a bit like “Minecraft” in that simple blocks (bloks?) can be assembled into all sorts of structures… Castles, forts, etc. And then of course exported or in this case emailed as a .stl file.
Even for an oldie like me who has never played with computer games the app proved to be extremely intuitive to construct my castle…. A colleague of mine commented that even her 4 year old was able to use Blokify, so it doesn't really say much about my skill level :o)
Anyway, here is a screenshot from the Blokify app that I have exported and is currently printing on my CubeX 3D printer…. I'll post another picture when it's completed.
The app is free to download and comes as standard with a few different building bloks but it's an in app purchase to unlock some extra different bloks using “diamonds” as currency (note that as this is mainly an app for kids safeguards are built in to help prevent them running up big bills on your Apple store account)
Here is a quick picture taken mid print…. Love the texture that is showing up on the castle walls!
Anyway, I'm really impressed by how well this all works. So congratulations Cubify on a great app to encourage creativity in 3D printing for youngsters!
And here it is…. My first mini Blokify castle!
I stumbled across Cubify Draw app for iPad earlier today… Just had to download it!
My initial thoughts were that it is very simple… Perhaps too simple but maybe this will develop over time. I then went on to start thinking about how this could be used in schools. And my thoughts instantly went towards primary school age children. What a fantastic way to get them to doodle an idea and start 3D printing on a Cube or Cubex printer within minutes of getting started… And no complicated CAD to get involved with.
Being so simple it will be necessary to think carefully about what the kids can design but instantly I was drawn towards the idea of personalised bespoke biscuit (cookie) cutters and the like. (I must be hungry whist writing this for my mind to wander towards food again!)
Anyway, I've had an initial try out with the app and can't wait to try printing some objects.
As most people who follow my escapades in 3D printing in education will have probably gathered I a great fan of the 3D Systems / Bits from Bytes machines… currently RapMan kits and the fantastic 3D Touch. But I Also keep an eye on what is happening in the 3D printing world in general. So unsurprisingly I came across Cubify and the Cube printer (unsurprisingly because it is part of the 3DS portfolio of machines). Anyway, one of the impressive things about Cubify is that they are supporting the use of their machines with web apps to generate parts that can be printed on any 3D printer (they export as .stl files).
At the present time there are web apps to create bracelets, earrings, tags, rings, defenders, UFO’s, robots, licences and crowns. The apps can be accessed here http://cubify.com/apps.aspx
Now I’m very keen for students to 3D print their own designs but the Cubify apps open up all sorts of new educational opportunities. Now students can easily customise basic designs using the apps that are very easy to use and then print their own ring, bracelet, tag etc. So exposure to 3D printing technology need not only be for those students who have a working knowledge of 3D CAD software! And of course this also means that we can capture these youngsters at an even younger age.
Unfortunately I couldn’t get the app to work on my iPad, so I’ll have to fire up my trusty old laptop and see how I get on with this. Hopefully in the near future I shall report back and share my experiences.
Check out this blog post by Dughall McCormick (twitter @dughall ) http://dughall.com/?p=276
Dughall is an E-learning consultant for the local authority in Kirklees UK. He has been involved in a 3D printing project in primary schools. The students designed and made 3D models of (Olympic) stadiums. It’s obvious from the pictures in the blog that everyone involved had a brilliant day… And the quality of the designing by the year 4 students (8/9 year olds) is fantastic.