Scanning the World – a Global Educational Initiative for 3D Printing

By Peter Suchmann  Published in Inside 3DP on Jan 11 2015 , 13:40:55

As Educational Consultants, we travel around Long Island and New York City visiting schools, libraries and community groups. Once there, we are always asked the following question: What should we be printing with our 3D Printers to really motivate and fascinate our students?

There are many answers to this question, but since I am a strong believer in S.T.E.A.M., I always encourage our clients to put the Arts into the center of their 3D printing program. One digital resource I highly recommend is My Mini Factory.

Recently, I communicated with Jonathan Beck- the Manager of their “Scan the World” Initiative and we discussed how teachers can use this great website to captivate and motivate students of all ages and interests. Besides having a fantastic collection of free 3D printable files, organized by category, many of them with great kid appeal, they also offer an exciting opportunity to get free 3D printed models delivered free of charge, based upon photographic submissions from photographers around the world. The beauty of this initiative is that students from all over the world can participate and get involved in their “Global Digital Treasure Hunt” for iconic landmarks, statues and monuments.

3D printed statue of liberty 3D_printed_vase 3D globe





No prior experience necessary

Students with no knowledge or experience with 3D printing or scanning can get involved by submitting carefully orchestrated photographs of sculptures, monuments, buildings and landmarks in their own communities.

The following link on their website describes in detail how photographs should be taken and then submitted.  All that is required is a total of 40 – 50 images taken from every angle, including the top and bottom when possible, with close-ups showing intricate details, likes fingers, faces and jewelry.

Throughout my 33 year teaching career, I always looked for ways to create a global learning experience and a global classroom. Here, at this link, teachers and students can track global participation and see who else is part of this world wide effort to build the world’s largest repository of 3D printable monuments, sculptures and artworks.  Each free printable object offered on the site is original and unique. They have all been test printed by a team of 3D Printing Gurus on affordable 3D printers. Each design comes with a how-to section that explains how to achieve the best print.

In addition to offering a great collection of free printable files, they also offer a 3D Print-On- Demand service and a 3D Design-On-Demand Service.  Experienced 3D printing students can also register on the website and join the growing global community of qualified “designers” and “makers” This is a great way to introduce students to possible career paths that can actually lead to paying jobs utilizing their engineering and artistic talents.

The first version of My Mini Factory was launched on the 18th of June, 2013. It was the result of many months of hard work by a professional team of experienced 3D designers in England. I am very impressed by what they have accomplished already and I look forward to watching their in-house collection of historic artworks, monuments and statues grow as word gets out and more people get involved.

My Mini Factory recently announced the opening of their 3D Printing Academy in London, England. The MyMiniFactory Academy is the world’s first school fully dedicated to 3D Design and 3D Printing. Students will benefit directly from the knowledge of their 3D design and 3D print experts. The course will have very little theory, with the real emphasis being based on hands on, real-world experience. Students will follow practical courses during a 3-month intensive program where they will gain the best skills to become directly employable within the 3D Design and 3D Printing industry.

A great resource for art teachers

The courses will be delivered by industry leading experts, who have extensive experience designing for 3D printing as well as engineering and operating 3D printers.  Academy “lecturers” are currently working within the industry so on top of the skills they will be able to teach, students will also have access to their connections within the industry, ideally leading to opportunities for employment the minute students graduate from The Academy.

A comprehensive list of the job openings available in London will serve as a great motivation for High School students considering this STEAM oriented career path and can be found at the following link.

So in conclusion, here is a great resource for art teachers all over the world. Find your best photography minded students and teachers and let them lead the schools efforts to embrace this new 3D Industrial and Educational Revolution that is exploding, literally all over the planet. Pretty soon, other departments in schools will see the value of 3D scanning and printing and the Art Department will be at the CORE of this great new teaching tool.

Is there a monument or landmark near your school? Get your students to work photographing it and bring 3D ART into your school and see the excitement it generates.

Coming soon-  Pi-Top is the first 3D printed laptop computer, developed by Ryan Dunwoody and Jesse Loranzo.  It is designed to provide users with a kit packed with materials and detailed instructions to build the device from start to finish, creating a learning experience for those who are interested to learn about technology and how electronic devices work. After putting together their own laptop, users can also 3D print it themselves. A total “do-it-yourself” experience. MyMiniFactory is working with the Pi-Top team to create 3D printable files for the outer shell of the Pi-Top, which will be available to download on soon.



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Empathy is the force that drives the 3D printing revolution

By Pete Suchmann,  January 5, 2015

Empathy is the ability to experience the thoughts, emotions, and direct experiences of other people. It goes beyond sympathy, which is merely a feeling of care and understanding for the suffering of others.

After 30 years of science teaching in Great Neck, a North Shore Long Island affluent community, I can look back on many opportunities that resonated with my students.  We often looked for experiences that could motivate our students and lead them to understandings outside of themselves and their individual lifestyles and experiences.

We sought out fundraising opportunities directly involving my students in the lives of the less fortunate.  We visited hospitals, rehab centers and children’s wards some full of unadoptable kids with severe physical and emotional challenges.  We brought in guest speakers to discuss bullying and gang violence and other important issues for our students to reflect on. We often spoke of the tremendous importance of our long running student based Community Action (after-school) committee which offered amazing opportunities for our students that transcended any and all of our traditional curriculum projects.

Now that I am retired from traditional education, I find myself working as a Professional Developer in the high tech world of 3D Printing and Scanning. I work with my business partner, Jon Monath – a highly skilled engineer and 3D printing enthusiast, providing training for teachers, librarians, camp counselors  and scouting groups through our Long Island based company called Creative 3D Printing.

E-NABLE enables the future and shows the world the power of 3D printing

Recently I came across a “magical” Not For Profit company called Enabling the Future.

This company which originally started out as a couple of guys who created something to help one child in need has grown into a World Wide movement of tinkerers, engineers, 3D print enthusiasts, occupational therapists, university professors, designers, parents, families, artists, students and teachers, who use 3D Printing to give the world a “helping hand”.


In other words, they are a “3D Mechanical hand and arm – Maker Movement” that was inspired by two strangers (a prop maker from the USA and a carpenter from South Africa) that came together from 10,000 miles apart – to create a prosthetic hand device for a small child in South Africa …and then gave the plans away – for free…so that those in need of the device could make them for themselves or have someone make it for them.

There are people around the globe – 3D printing fingers and hands for children they will never meet, classes of middle and high school students who are making these hands for people in their local communities, a group of people that are risking their lives to get these devices into 3rd World countries and new stories every day of parents and teachers working with their children to make a robo-hand together.

Enable 3D Printed Prosthetic Hands

Spread the love

One of my New Year resolutions this year is to spread the word about this amazing company. It is my hope that all of the schools and libraries and scouting groups who have embraced the 3D printing revolution will reach out to this amazing not-for-profit company and utilize their resources in their educational programs.

If anyone knows someone who would benefit from a hand, they just need to fill out an intake form from the website and the match-making team will follow up with you and get the process started.

If you have the 3D Printers already, you can start with the new member form on their website. A member of the match-making team will contact you when they have located a nearby case that requires fabrication and they will guide you through the process.

One high school student was asked: “What does it feel like to know you have improved someone’s life – simply by doing a science and engineering project at school”?

The answer was: ” The feeling is definitely rewarding! Knowing that our team was able to accomplish the goal we set at the beginning of the course is truly amazing. Even more amazing is knowing that the recipient of our hand is happy and grateful with our school project!”

Enable the Future

The organization to date has helped to build over 700 hands and in 2014 they grew from 20 members worldwide to over 3200 members. They have progressed from one basic design to over 10 new designs and there are many examples of students and teachers  re- engineering and improving existing designs as they experiment and 3D Print their projects. was listed this last year as one of the top searches by Google. Over a dozen schools so far have adopted e-Nable recipients and incorporated the development of 3D Printed hand designs into their school programs- not only changing the life of the child that received the hands- but also the children and teachers that helped to create them.

In December 2014, Nominet Trust announced that e-Nable has been named among the 2014 NT100 global list of 100 most inspiring ventures from around the world. Projects featured on this list are using technology to tackle some of the worlds most challenging social problems from education and human rights abuses to climate change and world health.

So, as 2015 gets underway- add a little compassion to your robotics program, establish a 3D printing Club, and start to “enable” your students to give the world a Helping Hand- one child at a time. (cost? Less than $50.00)

I would like to propose that February, 2015 be the Month of Helping Hands – so do your part to enable the children you work with and lets add EMPATHY and JOY to your S.T.E.A.M. programs.

For further information on 3D Printing or this  “Magical” company, please reach out to Creative 3D Printing.

This article is dedicated to my dear friend Barry Shuman – who began the Community Action Committee in Great Neck South Middle School many years ago and to Linda Musmeci- who took it over when Barry Retired. Over the years they have made a huge impact on thousands of students, who in turn made many wonderful ripples in the ocean of life.

The Smart Schools NY Comission at Mineola Middle School

Creative 3D Printing helped repair the Makerbot 3D printer at Mineola Middle School on Oct. 27th, during Governor Cuomo, Nassau County Executive, Ed Mangano, and Google’s Eric Schmidt’s visit.  It was a great opportunity for the middle school students to show off their 3D printing skills!

Creative 3D Printing proudly supports the goals of the Smart Schools NY Commission.

The Smart Schools NY Commissions 7 Keys To Success recommendation to school districts:

1. Embrace and expand online learning which will break down geographic barriers, provide access to the best sources of instruction in the world, and level the playing field for students in rural and smaller school districts.

2. Utilize transformative technologies, such as tablets, laptops, and interactive whiteboards to deliver differentiated instruction tailored to students’ specific abilities and needs that lets them learn and advance at their own pace.

3. Connect every school to high-speed broadband using technology that is capable of scaling up over time and deliver sufficient wireless capability to serve every student.

4. Extend connectivity beyond the four walls of the classroom so students from all backgrounds have equal access to the information superhighway.

5. Provide high-quality, continuous professional development to teachers, principals, and staff to ensure successful integration of technology into the teaching and learning experience.

6. Focus on in-demand STEM skills to ensure that students graduate with 21st century skills.

7. Plan, plan and plan again.

Jon at MMS MMS 1 Pete at MMS MMS 2 MMS 4 MMS students


CreatingSTEAM Conference

Creative 3D Printing presented in front of over 40 students at the CreatingSTEAM Conference hosted by We Connect The Dots on August 7th at the Microsoft Office Times Square.

Jon and Pete gave a fun and interactive 45 minute overview on 3D printing and design, taking students through an exciting timeline of the history of 3D printing and what the future holds for them.  Students got a chance to ask insightful questions, see close up how objects are 3D printed and designed.

STEAM Conf 4STEAM Conf 2STEAM Conf 1STEAM Conf 7

3D Printing Workshops

Get out in front of the next industrial revolution by giving your students the skills they will need to succeed. Over the next five years, 3-D Printing will emerge as a major force of change in how we educate, design, engineer, manufacture and even practice medicine. Bring the technical skills your students will need into your classroom today. 3-D Printing is the perfect teaching tool for interdisciplinary instruction, S.T.E.A.M. integration and the joy of creative design and development. Enable your students to enter this new and exciting world with ease and confidence. “Printing” physical objects using plastic has a profound and exciting effect on kids.


3-D Printers are machines that  can manufacture nearly anything from a virtual computer model by “printing” material layer by layer producing a physical object. While at first only available for millions of dollars, as time has gone on these machines have gradually become cheaper and cheaper. Now the average person can buy a desktop 3-D Printer for between $300 and $3,000 that can generate physical objects of decent quality. This has the ability to change our lives even more than the personal computer and the Internet have. In the same way that computers have affected everything we do that involves information, 3-D Printers affect everything we do that involves interaction with physical objects. This, as you know, is almost every aspect of our life. Every job and career path will be profoundly affected by this revolutionary technology. Companies and consumers are already using 3-D Printing in world changing ways, many revolutionary examples include:


Here are just some of the things our workshops can teach you to do using 3d printing and modeling:

    • Printer set up/calibration and software installation
    • 3-D scanning / making copies of objects 
    • download and modify physical objects 
    • print architectural models and works of art 
    • Prototype design and testing / robotics design 
    • create personalized cell phone cases, bobble heads, tools etc. 
    • 3-D sculpting / modeling 
    • video game character design and printing 
    • jewelry / fashion design 
    • geographic models 
    • rocketry parts 
    • musical instruments 
    • molecular models 
    • household items / home decor / furniture models 
    • internet printing services 
    • design and printing software

Introductory 45 to 90 minute workshops or full days of hands-on training available. All classes include two trainers, 3-D Printing demonstrations and access to our 3-D Printing Digital Library for Educators. This program is offered through a collaboration with Nassau BOCES.

Call 718-300-3342 for more information.

email us

© 2014 Pete Suchmann & Jon Monath. Design by Robert Brotherson.


Studio 5404 Reception and 3D Printing Demo

Pete talks to prospective 3D printing workshop students about practical uses for the 3D printer in their lives as artists.

Pete talks to prospective 3D printing workshop students about practical uses for the 3D printer in their lives as artists.

3D scanners, printers and creations on display at Studio 5404

3D scanners, printers and creations on display at Studio 5404

Gallery Reception and 3D Printing Demo Friday, May 30th 7:00 – 9:30 PM

Exhibit on view through May 31st.

Studio 5404, 5404 Merrick Road, Massapequa, NY  11758