Zortrax, one of the world’s leading 3D printer manufacturers, has announced that its products and technological solutions are being used in schools throughout Poland. Zortrax’s M200 3D printers are being put to use by various educational institutions, ranging from the prestigious School of Form – which educates future designers – to the Agricultural Education Centre – which has adopted 3D printing technology in the learning process of agricultural mechanization technicians, mechanics and agricultural vehicle and machinery operators. The newly opened Zortrax Store in Warsaw holds lectures for students from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.

Educational innovations

The Ministry of Education has been looking into numerous possibilities to reform Poland’s educational system. Schools should prepare students for the challenges posed by the modern world, and graduates should possess specialized knowledge which they can then use in their everyday life. A recently announced program aims to introduce students to computer programming, which will be taught during computer science classes starting from the first grade of primary school. Come 2017, classes designed to teach students how to properly “communicate” with machines will be conducted at all levels of education. Additionally, several Polish educational institutions have already started implementing 3D printing solutions.

Studies have shown that Poland accounts for at least 10% of the global 3D printing market. Poland has a thriving 3D printing industry; at least several other companies, apart from us, are trying to develop and export their products abroad. I am glad that Polish schools have noticed this trend and that a decision was made to incorporate 3D printing into their educational programs. 3D printing has brought on lots of changes, and I think that it’s very good news that more and more educational institutions have started making attempts to respond and keep up with these changes – comments Rafał Tomasiak, Zortrax’s CEO.

Zortrax M200 on a wooden table

Ranging from designers to agricultural technicians

3D printing solutions can be applied to many fields. Architecture, design and almost every manufacturing industry; they all benefit from having the opportunities for rapid prototyping which, ultimately, saves a lot of time and money. No wonder that 3D printing solutions have been incorporated in Poland’s various educational institutions.

Amongst other schools, Zortrax’s products are being put to use by students of the Agricultural Education Centre in Stare Lubiejewo, which operates under the authority of Poland’s Ministry of Agriculture. 3D printing technology has become an integral part of the learning process for agricultural mechanization technicians, mechanics and agricultural vehicle and machinery operators.

As part of the subject basic machine construction, our students learn about the foundations of 3D design. They use a program called SolidEdge along with 2D documentation as the basis for their projects. When an opportunity arose to actually use 3D printing technology, we decided that this would make an excellent combination; it would give us the opportunity to physically show what is being created via the computer and its software. After about 2 months of using our 3D printer, we already have several ready-made models. They are mainly mechanical parts – bushings, gears, hubs, etc., as that is what our curriculum consists of – says Andrzej Sakowicz, head of apprenticeship at the Agricultural Education Centre in Stare Lubiejewo.

Teachers at the Agricultural Education Centre do confirm that the school’s 3D printing technology sparked a great interest amongst its students. They are currently working on plans to organize a 3D printing club. Andrzej Sakowicz has emphasized that the relatively low cost of 3D printers and their components make it a reasonable investment for many schools. He claims that 3D printing offers many advantages; it helps develop a student’s imagination, their ability to combine theories with actual results, and helps them keep up to terms with new technologies.

Zortrax’s M200 3D printers are also being used by the students – and hopeful future designers – of Poznan’s prestigious School of Form. Thanks to Zortrax, the school has a total of five 3D printers at their disposal. They are used in teaching such subjects as computer-aided design, robotics, product design and parametric design. The school’s students are welcome to use the technology whilst writing their theses and dissertations. One of the school’s most interesting projects was entitled “Polish folk art seen through new technologies”. Its author, Basia Dżaman, worked under the guidance of Oskar Zięta and Dawid Wiener. Drawing inspiration from traditional embroidery (a popular form of lace embroidery in the Greater Poland region), a fully functional technology was created which enabled a robot, KUKA, to build structures out of various fibers (carbon, glass, Kevlar) which had been hardened in resin. This process gave rise to countless possibilities. The program used to generate the robots path is wholly adjustable, and depending on the number of points introduced to the support structure, it allows for the creation of a completely new, unique design. The tools utilized by the robot were all printed in 3D.

Warsaw’s Zortrax Store, which opened towards the end of the recent year, holds lectures for students from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. The aim of these courses and lectures is for future artists and designers to familiarize themselves with 3D printing technology, so that they can then benefit from using such technological solutions in their future work.

We wanted the Zortrax Store to perform many different functions, and I’m glad that we have been able to pursue these objectives. Our store is primarily, of course, a place in which you can buy our 3D printers, but it also serves as a place for people to discover and familiarize themselves with 3D printing technology. We believe that Poland needs to be educated on the benefits of 3D printing, which is why our Zortrax Store is a place which is open and willing to cooperate with the country’s educational institutions – says Rafał Tomasiak.

Mazovia is also printing in 3D

As part of a tender organized by the Mazovia Development Agency towards the end of 2015, Zortrax has provided 180 public institutions such as schools, libraries and community centers in the Mazowieckie province with M200 3D printers. Furthermore, Zortrax has organized specialized courses and workshops which are open to attendance by anyone interested in 3D printing. The company provided the necessary software and training materials, which include an e-learning platform, and has additionally supplied Mazovia’s public institutions with an annual reserve of printing materials and components. Zortrax’s 3D printing devices are made available to local communities as part of an initiative to popularize 3D printing technology, allowing for equal opportunities whilst also preventing the digital exclusion of smaller towns throughout the province.

Additional information:

More information about Basia Dżeman’s dissertation project can be found at: cargocollective.com/barbbasia. Videos are available on Zortrax’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/jQIHq26-LeE