PrintLab Partner Interview: 3D Printing in education with Puzzlebox 3D

We love to catch up with our global network of PrintLab partners. We had a quick catch up with Justin from Puzzlebox 3D, our official partner for The Philippines, who gave his insight on 3D printing in education….

12th September 2016 News

Firstly, could you tell us about Puzzlebox3D and your background? What attracted you to get involved in 3D printing?

Puzzlebox 3D was born out of our passion for making things. When the recent 3D printing revolution started, we were immediately amazed about this great tool and we rushed to get our first kit. Our ecstasy quickly turned sour as the kit wasn’t what we thought it was at first as it was very difficult to get it running. We’re glad that we kept up with it and we used this as an inspiration to learn and eventually design and build our own ready to print 3D printer, the Puzzlebox, using locally sourced parts.

Envisioning the many benefits that 3D printing can bring to a lot of different businesses and institutions we decided to educate people with it. Starting from this, we were able to be pioneers in the country though doing tours, talks, lessons and basically spreading the benefits of this technology to anyone who wants to hear. Be it educational institutions, professional firms, businesses and industries. We’re very fortunate that the reception is very warm and most if not all of them had our same initial amazement upon seeing it in action. Further down the road, we realized that different institutions have different needs. Now given that they all have different requirements, there is not only one 3D printer capable of addressing all their needs. Thus, we began bringing in different types of 3D printers in order to better suit the different market’s requirements and eventually integrate 3D printing into more industries.



Why do you think it is important for young people in education to learn about 3D printing?

I’ve read somewhere that 3D printing is the next industrial revolution. It’s indeed a very powerful tool. It’s quite a leap forward for individuals to be able to envision, create and learn. 3D printing boosts young people’s creativity and skillset. Not only that but in a very practical and engaging manner as well. It opens up a new world for exploration, discoveries and inventions as opposed to learning things only in theory. We can then create future skilled workers, inventors, designers, engineers, professionals etc. that will bring the country to greater heights.


What advice do you have for educators looking to integrate 3D printing at their school or university?

First off, educators will need some sort of curriculum. Without a good 3D printing lesson plan, your 3D printer may just be left in the corner collecting dust. Many times, this is a hurdle but seek partners who can provide you solutions. PrintLab through Makerversity and Kideville is a great start. We can even customize to tailor fit the schools requirements on time and objective.

Secondly, there are a lot of educators that get discouraged because they jump in head first and buy the first printer they see. Keep in mind that different 3D printer brands/models have night and day difference in functionality. Many times educators get carried away and end up with some contraption that doesn’t work. Look around first, do research and make sure to invest in a 3D printer that has a good reputation and more importantly, local support.



A common problem we see is teachers getting a 3D printer for their school but due to time and the fact this is a new technology, they struggle to provide lessons and apply learning to key curriculum areas. How do you assist educators with this?

That is very true. Our team consists of very capable specialists who have worked on and experienced a lot of different 3D printing techniques and 3D printer machines. Therefore, we make sure our 3D printers work so that the educators will have that focus to do what they do best, to teach. We also work with teachers in providing a clear and organized lesson structure and provide the necessary training to carry it out. We all know 3D printing is a new technology so we strive to provide the best support for our partners. We do this through re-training sessions, visitations and 24/7 phone support for any troubleshooting that may problem that may arise. We partner with our educators in order to give them peace of mind and the best tools to teach effectively.


A while back, you told us the inspiring story of how you built your very own unique 3D printer from scratch at the age of 24. This is incredibly motivating to students who are looking to learn about 3D Printing technology, what did you learn during this process?

The most important lesson during that time was patience. Building something takes time, making it work takes even longer. Do not keep malfunctions and failures from stopping you to create, in fact, treat them as a lesson. You’ll learn and become better. Once you have a plan, keep at it no matter the cost, no matter how frustrating it is and once you reach your goal, it will be an experience like no other.



What is your opinion on 3D Printing in Philippines at this current time?

3D Printing is still in its infancy in the country, although its rapidly gaining steam. In fact, we have recently seen a movement of FabLab constructions throughout the country which will include 3D printers in every facility. We are very optimistic on the future of 3D printing here as many schools are adopting this for their classes. Albeit they are quite limited to only engineering and architecture fields as of now, our hope is that more and more students and users from various fields of art, medicine, robotics and business get to benefit from this technology.


Can you tell us about a project that you have been involved in that has inspired you more than any other?

We’ve recently done a 3D printing class for a group of underprivileged kids who through the efforts of a local charity organization, get to learn about computers and programming. The charity organization provides access to computer labs and we were very fortunate to be able to teach them about simple CAD and 3D printing. We taught them Sketchup and working with the Ultimaker for two days and on the third day, most of them were creating their dream houses from CAD and eventually 3D printing them. It was a sight to behold, that these kids, whom most of which never finished elementary, were actually doing CAD and working their imagination. Who would’ve thought that the saying “turn dreams into reality” could have been realised so literally.


What are your thoughts on the future of 3D printing in education?

It’s definitely very bright! We have a lot of educators who are passionate about what they do and see the benefits that 3D printing can provide to their classes and students. We exist to help these educators jumpstart their vision and setup their 3D printing class. We find that more and more are growing as word spreads around from first adopter schools to the rest of the community. This clearly means that the first adopters find 3D printing to be an indispensable teaching tool in the future. Accessibility is key and through partnering with PrintLab, we’re becoming more accessible to these educators. This is crucial because they’ll definitely need all the help they can get to start their school with 3D printing!



Finally, please share with us any future plans for Puzzlebox

Puzzlebox will continually be providing new and better products for Philippine schools, businesses and users to have access to. We’ll aim to bring the latest technological advances in 3D printing and make it available in the Philippines at the same time as the rest of the world.  Our view is that we need to catch up and the way to do it is through education and making technology accessible. Partnering with PrintLab takes care of the former. For the latter, we’ll have 3d scanners, larger format 3D printers and maybe, hopefully, a perfectly working dual extrusion model coming really soon! I’m not allowed to say more, but the future is looking to be a really really exciting one!

A big thanks to Justin from Puzzlebox3D. You’ll hear more and more views from our global PrintLab network throughout the year.