momius - Fotolia
Education has been earmarked from the start as one of the key markets for 3D printing but one of the problems is that it is a sector that has to operate within fairly aggressive spending limits.
The result is that the idea of buying a 3D printer is not something that most educational institutions can entertain, preventing children from getting to grips with a technology man are predicting will revolutionise the manufacturing process.
Channel print specialist Danwood has come up with an answer launching a 3D printer rental scheme aimed specifically at schools.
“3D printing is seeing rapid adoption and schools are starting to realise the many benefits that adding 3D printing to the curriculum can have, from inspiring pupils to helping to teach complex ideas. Being able to rent a 3D printer on a monthly basis removes the upfront investment while ensuring full compliance with procurement processes, and opens up the opportunity for all schools across the country who want to equip their students for the future," said Richard Wells, national sales manager at Danwood.
Under the scheme schools can rant a Kyocera Cube 3D printer for £145 a month, a price that also covers delivery and installation plus consumables and a 12 month warranty.
The CubePro, which comes from the 3D Systems range uses a technique of plastic jet printing that is popular with those building concept models and prototypes for the engineering field.
The move into the schools rental market comes at a point where the demand for 3D printing continues to grow on the consumer front, even if it has stalled slightly on the larger ticket commercial products.
Distribution has been actively getting involved with the market over the past 18 months and more of the mainstream printer manufacturers, like Kyocera, have added 3D printing to their portfolios either through organic development or partnerships.
Danwood quoted the pilot programme run back in 2012/13 by the Department for Education, which allowed 21 schools to work with 3D printers to see what the benefits were in STEM teaching.
The project found that the printers had a significant impact on pupil engagement as well as showing real potential as a teaching resource.