Home 3D Printing in Education Who is Responsible for 3D Printing and Print Jobs at Your School?

Who is Responsible for 3D Printing and Print Jobs at Your School?


If You're Using 3D Printing, who Manages the Process at Your School? Is it Faculty? IT? The Library?

Do you have a 3D printer in your school? We just bought our first 3D printer at The College of Westchester, and we're getting familiar with it. One thing we find ourselves wondering is … how are other schools handling the labor resource(s) required to oversee the use of the device?

I was rather surprised when I asked for a show of hands while attending the NYSCIO conference this July, regarding who had 3D printers at their colleges and universities. About 2 out of 3 hands went up in this large group of CIOs and similar roles from institutions of higher education across NY and other states (I'd say there were at least 70 attendees in the room at the time). Gartner just published a report stating the widespread use for consumers and education is a decade away, but in the meanwhile the fact is that schools across the world are starting to experiment with practical use of these relatively inexpensive devices.

3d printing in education

One of the things you'll learn when you start using 3D printing is how much more complicated it is than the regular ‘2D' printing that we're used to, how long the print jobs take, and how much you have to learn to create successful print jobs.

So Whose Managing These Print Jobs?

With all these considerations and the time required to manage 3D printing, how are schools dealing with it?

If you have students submitting print jobs, how does it work? Do they sit at a computer that is directly connected? Do they send them to a teacher to print them, or to some one else? Maybe they write them to smart cards and you print from them (depending on which make and model you have)?

Forums focused on 3D Printing in Education

I spent some time searching out and scrolling through a variety of forums and really didn't find a lot of insight into this question. There was good information to be had, just not a lot about this in particular (although clearly the most implied answer is that teachers are the hands-on folks working with these devices).

Here are some forums I found that were specific to 3D printing in education:

So, how are you Managing 3D Printing at Your School?

If you're using 3D printing at your school, we're wondering who has primary responsibility for handling the print jobs? Faculty members who run related courses? Your Information Technology department? Library personnel? Feedback from practitioners would be tremendously appreciated (in the Comments section bel0w)!

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Augmented Reality – The Coolest Instructional Technology You Haven’t Heard of?
3D Printing – Coming to a Classroom Near you (Sooner Than you Think)!
Interactive Projection Floors – How Engaging Would These be in Your Classroom or School?


  1. Great Post. Students should get and understand full use of the educational advantages of 3D printing in your school.3D Printing in schools will greatly increase the creativity among children. There should be a knowledgeable faculty in the schools.

  2. 3D printers aren’t that hard to manage and are becoming easier to use. I would think for teens they could manage and use it them selfs with almost no risk or maybe big groups could submit it to the teach and they could send the print through. Interesting article.

  3. Thanks for the feedback Philip. From what I’ve read across the web so far, it would seem that teachers are the owners of this process most of the time, but it helps to hear it directly.

    Best of luck with the award, and thanks for sharing this!

  4. I personally am the only person in the school who has the knowledge to teach 3dprinting to high school students. I teach design and technology and the pupils get taught 3D Cad modelling skills so they can create models that can be saved at STL files ready for slicing and 3dprinting. I personally supervise the machine and put the prints on for the students as they are under 16 and for health and safety reasons I make sure they keep their hands away from the extruder and moving parts. If these kids were to have an accident/burn on the machines then I would be in trouble. I show them how it works and let them monitor their prints and use the touch screen to load up the files and start it off when I think that they are mature enough and fully understand all the safety issues. No way would I let an under 14 operate them unsupervised. I personally run courses for local universities in manchester UK so future students who are training to be teachers can learn about the technology before they start their teaching career. Also I have won the 2013 3dprintshow educational excellence award and am shortlisted again. http://3dprintshow.com/global-awards/educational-excellence check out the link and vote 😉 if I win my school will get a new 3dprinter.


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