3D Printed Mandalas

By: Alex Curzi, Art Teacher- Murray Avenue School

For this lesson I wanted to demonstrate to students that shape, liscreen-shot-2017-02-24-at-1-19-41-pmne and form can
translate into emotions and human traits. From these Elements of Art the students then translated them into a mandala using radial symmetry. The students had a choice to print the mandala ‘flat’ to stamp with, or print the mandala using varying heights in order to stamp the mandala into a clay slab.

To introduce the lesson I used the app Aurasma, which is a free virtual reality app available on the iPad. Essentially the app uses the camera tool to search for images you have identified. Once they find the image whatever content you want will pop up for them to view on their individual screens. I had 3 images for the students to find in the classroom, one was an image, another a video, and lastly a reading.

To use the Aurasma app I created one classroom account which all pads were logged into. I felt that for ease of use in this app, having one account made the most sense. I then prepped the app by following these steps:

  1. On the iPad you are using have all the content you want to use saved into your photos.
  2. Take a high quality photo in the Aurasma app (the app will tell you when the image is high quality). Make sure the image will not move or change.
  3. The app will then prompt you to upload your content, which is easy to do if it’s saved into your photos.
  4. Done! Try it out on another app to make sure it went through.screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-1-16-36-pm

The students then drew out their mandalas on paper. Once completed we headed to the library to use the website, TinkerCad.

TinkerCad is very user friendly. It took me a moment to understand how the website moves in a 3D manner, but once I got that down it was a breeze. The students grasped on quickly. There are preset shapes that you drag onto your screen, and can edit those shapes into the desired form. I had the students create 1/4th of their mandala, then copy it 3 other times and place it together to ensure radial symmetry.

Before the students submit their completed form to you through either Google classroom or a drop box have them check:

  1. Is it the correct height, length and width?
  2. Are all pieces connected – You need to zoom into all angles of the form to check for this. I highly recommend this as it will save you time later! Also if you miss an area that’s not connected the printer will print it disconnected.
  3. Is there perfect radial symmetry

Next all the students’ files were collected and reopened in Meshmixer. This website helps identify any ‘floating’ pieces. If there are floating pieces they need to be corrected either by you or the student. Save the file to a SanDisk memory card. Insert the card into the 3D printer (Dremel 3D Idea Printer) and follow the instructions.

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