"Literacy is a key lever of change and a practical tool of empowerment on each of the three main pillars of sustainable development: economic development, social development and environmental protection." 

-- Former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan

Forty-eight years ago, the United Nations designated September 8 as the International Day of Literacy. According to The New York Times, 44% of the global population was determined functionally illiterate in 1966, the pilot year of this worldwide advocacy. Since then, the rate of traditional illiteracy has dropped to 16%, but parallel developments have simultaneously broadened our understanding of literacy itself. Today, we define literacy not only as it pertains to reading and writing but as a comprehensive educational competency in the issues and skills that pertain to our times. The 21st century calls for a new “digital literacy” and 3D printing is the cornerstone of this new digital language.

Through our work with forward-thinking educational programs worldwide, such as City X Project, FIRST Robotics and Level Up Villages, 3DS has already begun to build confidence and competencies in children in digital skills. We have seen firsthand through our initiatives and sponsorships how receptive young minds can be when introduced to emerging technologies early. We have seen how 3D printing can inspire children as young as 5 to ideate, iterate and collaborate to solve challenges, and we are working with educators, schools and governments to ensure that these technologies become no more novel to classrooms than computers. From 3D design programs that unlock our children’s imaginations, to 3D printers that bring those ideas into the physical realm, our vision is to equip future generations with the skills and language necessary for the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow—and for our shared digital future.

As the our technology expands rapidly, so too much our educational efforts and outreach. In this light, 3DS is proud to announce some exciting updates to our MAKE.DIGITAL education platform, connecting schools and community centers with the tools and resources they need to spread digital literacy in the Digital Age. First, we’ve created new Class and Lab Kits with special educator discounts for classrooms and schools of all sizes and varying skill levels. Second, we’ve revamped our curriculum zone and made it easier for teachers to find the right curriculum and training programs for their needs. Finally, we’ve launched a new learning tool called “3DU” which gives educators and administrators access to step-by-step lessons and activities to make 3D printing come to life in a classroom or after school program.

We are also hosting an education booth at the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago throughout this week (Sept. 8-13, Booth C-840). We will be showcasing what a 3D curriculum looks like—from high school advanced manufacturing labs to K-8 maker labs—and demonstrating how these innovative learning platforms can enhance traditional STEAM education programs. If you’re in the Chicago area, we encourage you to stop by and see how we transform our commitment into action.

We’ll be adding new resources regularly to MAKE.DIGITAL and would love to hear feedback from educators and students at MakingGood@3dsystems.com. You can also sign up for our edcuation newsletter to be first to hear new offers and specials as well as stories and case studies from our partners.

Part of 3D Systems’ contribution to its larger community includes equipping students with 21st century design and manufacturing tools and encouraging project-based learning that can be applied to real-world problems. The MAKE.DIGITAL Initiative represents part of this ongoing effort towards growing a new digital literacy. To further highlight the initiative, 3DS is excited to be part of the Smartforce Student Summit being held at the International Manufacturing Technology Show 2014 (IMTS), September 8-13 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL (Booth C-840).

The Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS introduces educators, students and parents to exciting new innovations in manufacturing technology. The Student Summit allows young people to interact with today’s manufacturing industry, helping them translate their STEM education into real-world solutions with high-tech and high-value careers.

3DS will have a booth at the Student Summit showcasing part of its MAKE.DIGITAL platform, M.Lab21. The recently launched 21st Century Manufacturing Lab focuses on modernizing high school industrial arts, career, and technical education through providing hardware, software, and dedicated curriculum related to 3D printing. 3DS’ booth with include a wide range of 3D design and printing tools, such as the Sense 3D scanner, Touch haptic stylus, and new Cube and CubePro 3D printers. The booth will also provide interactive demonstrations for designing, scanning, and 3D printing to engage students.

3DS invites teachers, educators, non-profits and organizations passionate about youth education to join the MAKE.DIGITAL initiative and provide students with tomorrow’s skills today. Education inquiries can be made directly to MakingGood@3dsystems.com.

Learn more about 3DS’ MAKE.DIGITAL initiative to catalyze innovation and technology learning here.

Release Date: 
Friday, September 5, 2014 - 17:00
3D Systems at the Marine ExLog games
Media File: 

3D Systems' Specialized Military Scan-to-Print Solutions

Of the numerous benefits of 3D printing, reducing or eliminating inventory is perhaps the most appealing to those strapped for space. Due to the implications this feature has for security and military applications, the US Marine Corps is now exploring how 3D scanning, CAD and 3D printing and inspection tools can improve its combat readiness. With the help of 3DS, Marines personnel learned last week how they can create, reproduce and correct a set of broken parts in a quick and streamlined process.

3d scaning-to-print at Marines ExLog gamesAt the Marine Expeditionary Logistics (ExLog) games in Quantico, VA, Marines discovered how to digitize objects within minutes using the Capture 3D scanner, which they could then solidify in a CAD program. From there, spare parts for broken equipment can be printed in a matter of hours on deployable 3D printers for same-day replacements. This “digital thread” represents a closed loop that brings objects from the physical space to the digital realm for regeneration back to the physical world.

The seamlessness of this process is invaluable for entities like the military, though such integration is applicable and appealing in other circles as well. If you need rapid parts delivery, maybe the Engineering Digital Thread is the missing link for your business.

by David Melo, 3DS Intern

For those that read my blog at the launch of the Millennial Train Project, you know I had quite a week in store as I journeyed across the country with 3D technology in tow. Over these busy days and the experiences I gathered, I’ve come to see the true significance of this trip and have come away with the sense that I am a New Age pioneer, seeking and assisting progress and change along our route. For my traveling companions and me, this time was impactful on a personal and communal level as we affected and enhanced the communities we visited. From the warmth and excitement of the hackerspaces we visited, I know this modern technological voyage was a force of good, and it’s very rewarding to be so acutely aware of the positivity and empowerment we have spread.

We began our journey in Seattle, where we met Matt, founder and owner of Metrix Create Space. Seattle influenced Matt through its concentration of technology, and as a way of giving back, he has dedicated his time and effort to creating a concentrated space for others to get involved. His modern toolkit is equipped with CNC machines, laser cutters, sewing machines, power tools and 3D printers, and Matt is especially excited about the potential of conductive materials in 3D printing.

From Seattle, it was onwards to Missoula, Montana, by way of Whitefish, where we met with Rebecca. Rebecca moved to Missoula from New Orleans to help found a hackerspace as a fellow New Age pioneer. We joined forces with her in the Missoula Public Library to help further her mission to merge technology with traditional academics for a more dimensional educational outcome. She is part of the AmeriCorps Vistas program, which is a federal program dedicated to equipping underserved areas with the skills and tool sets they need to succeed.

We then took on St. Paul, Minnesota. The train ride there was perhaps the greatest highlight of the trip. We turned off all the lights in the train car, allowing the 3D printers to glow in their mellow light, and we held an impromptu jam session using the 3D printed instruments on board, including an electric and acoustic guitar and saxophone. The next thing we knew, there were about 20 people making music on iceboxes and with spoons as we sang along and rode into the night.  It highlighted the power of this technology to pull out creativity and bring people together in collaborative efforts. Not to mention, it was a lot of fun!

Once we stationed in Minnesota, we headed towards Leonardo’s Basement in Minneapolis. There we met Steve and Willis, a dynamic duo who are dedicated to increasing children’s design skill sets and stick-to-itiveness by helping them see their projects through from start and finish. Their philosophy is a positive counter to a culture of instant gratification, and they seek to show children how to fail the right way. In their words, they want future generations to “accept failure as a tool and develop methods to overcome fears and mistakes so that they can become future makers.” Their dedication was inspiring, and I was happy to have met them and know there are people like them out there doing what they’re doing.

The Milwaukee Makerspace was next on our list, and I was again blown away by the true sense of community that I felt there. They had an accessible space with tools ranging from robotic arms to sewing machines to 3D printers and scanners, and they were a great group to talk to and get to know. From Milwaukee we went to Chicago and Pumping Station: 1. The group there was both intrigued and amazed by the CubePro and Sense 3D scanner, and it was fun for me to bring these technologies to them and watch the mental wheels turn as they processed the potential in front of them. I look forward to seeing the outcome!

At the end of the week we arrived at our final destination, and my hometown, New York City. After all the inspiration I witnessed on the rails, I was eager to see what Hack Manhattan would bring to the table. The space was well-equipped with tools for electronics, wood- and metal-work and 3D printing, but they were missing the ability to 3D scan. The Sense and iSense 3D scanners mesmerized them and it was fun to close the gap for them with the power of physical photography.

To everyone on this amazing trip: thank you for your hospitality and inspiration. I’m excited about the direction we’re headed and look forward to keeping in touch. The Millennial Train Project covered a lot of ground (from sea to shining sea), but the journey has just begun!


By ScanMaster Flash

Some of you delightful readers may already be familiar with me from the Twitterverse, but I am now branching out as a guest 3D scanning correspondent for different industry blogs, starting with 3D Systems, the creators of my preferred method of quick 3D capturing, the Sense scanner.

All things scanning trace their lineage back to optics, the branch of physics that deals with light. And all things optics trace their lineage back to the Renaissance. 400 to 500 years ago, a lot of smart and creative people starting discovering and experimenting with new materials and began interacting with the world in ways no one ever had before (sounds a lot like the new 3D revolution, doesn’t it?). One of these people was the Italian designer and inventor Galileo Galilei.

Today, 405 years ago (that would be 1609 for those of you not doing the math), Galileo first revealed his invention of the telescope. This was one of the first applications of the optical sciences and laid the groundwork for the entire field. Out of the telescope came the microscope, the eyeglass, and all their higher-tech iterations, from scanning electron microscopes that can resolve details at the sub-micron level, to sensors that can see in the infra-red spectrum -- much like the sensors that give 3D vision to devices like the Structure, Kinect and Sense.

To commemorate this momentous anniversary, I have designed a telescope of my own. This design is very much like Galileo’s original; the one major difference is that mine is designed for 3D printing (which I’m sure Galileo would have loved to have in the early 1600s). While it does not come with lenses for magnification, it does have telescoping action, and once printed, can unfold to 4 times its 3D printed height. If you do happen to have lenses lying around (look for convex), you can attach them to the telescope design and look to the sky exactly as Galileo would have done over 400 years ago… if Galileo had a 3D printer.


Quack-Quack the duck had a stroke of bad luck the day he was attacked by a dog on the campus of National Taiwan University (NTU). The forecast was bleak following his admittance to and operation at the university’s Animal Hospital, where it was determined that the internal damage to his foot would make it impossible for Quack-Quack to successfully put weight on it.

It’s easy to sympathize with the challenges one faces with a loss of mobility, but the resultant dangers skyrocket in the animal kingdom, where mobility is a very real part of survival. Recognizing this and eager to help as best they could, the Taipei Hackerspace and group at Lung X Lung Design combined forces to get Quack-Quack back on his feet.

To work their magic, the team used the Sense 3D scanner to capture the 3D data they needed to create a mold for the Quack-Quack’s foot. Once they had the model on screen, they 3D printed a foot covering and brace that fit the precise contours of the duck’s foot. After a few bouts of trial and error, the team was able to fashion a lightweight brace that allowed Quack-Quack to put weight on his foot and keep his balance without experiencing pain.

With the intervention of this custom 3D design, it is now expected that Quack-Quack will make a full recovery, which is heartwarming news for the teams that put their time and energy into this task, and also encouraging and inspring for a broader base of customized 3D health applications. Click here for more on Quack-Quack’s story.

David Melo, 3DS Intern

My name is David Melo, and I am privileged to represent 3D Systems as we join the Millennial Train Project, the first ever mobile hacker space traveling cross-country by train from Portland to New York City over the next 10 days. The traveling group is comprised of 25 people total, and our mission is to enable those along our route and those following us virtually “to identify, evaluate, and explore opportunities and challenges in the communities where we stop while advancing a project that benefits, serves, and inspires others.”

We will be stopping in 7 cities total, and apart from our onboard activities, we will be bringing our 3D printing and 3D scanning technology to local hacker spaces and educational centers in each city to show how this technology can be used to advance solutions to existing and emerging issues. Using the new Cube, CubePro and EKOCYCLE Cube 3D printers and the iSense and Sense 3D scanners, we will be demonstrating the power and potential of 3D technology to reshape the way society in general, and the younger generations in particular, think about the world around us. I remember how blown away I was by 3D printing when I first witnessed the technology in 2012, and I am very eager to share my passion over the coming days.

Right now I’m on the train heading north towards Portland from Los Angeles. I am in a car that has been retrofitted into a lounge area and work station for our 3D printing units. This experience is surreal, riding in a vintage train car with 3D printers building away, and a view of the Pacific coast out the window. I am excited for the true journey to begin tomorrow. I hope you’ll join us!

Release Date: 
Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 16:30
Fox 46 Carolinas


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