Kids Design to 3D Print

Updated: Jun 9, 2019

Today at the Engineering Design Club we learned about designing to 3D print! In our first lesson, we used the SOLIDWORKS App for Kids to learn about the fundamentals of CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and worked on phone case designs to learn the design process (read about it here). Today, we designed robots to 3D print, again with the SW App for Kids.

Why Teach Kids to 3D Print?

3D printing is one of the key future technologies, enabling businesses and makers alike to produce lighter and stronger parts, reduce time to market, and to cut costs. 3D printing is seen across many different fields and is both fun and practical. You can print in many different materials, from steel, to wax, to ABS plastic.

Enabling kids to materialize their digital ideas helps them see that there are so many possibilities, and helps them boost their critical thinking skills, ultimately leading them towards an inventive path of success. 3D printing helps kids identify inconsistencies and errors in reasoning, understand abstract concepts, approach problems in a systematic way, and begin to justify their assumptions.

The Lesson Objectives

  1. Learn how CAD plays a role in 3D printing

  2. Understand how a 3D printer works

  3. Comprehend the diverse applications of 3D printing & its importance

  4. Boost CAD skills with the SOLIDWORKS App for Kids

  5. Design a robot through CAD that can be 3D printed

Example & Explanation I designed this robot on the SOLIDWORKS App for Kids. This simple robot helps teach overall program competency and boosts design skills for kids. This is their second time using CAD, so this project is the perfect way to learn in a fun way. (If you would like to download this little guy, scroll to the bottom of this post.)

I used the Shape It tools to create the robot, and the Style It tools to color the robot and add a background. I used this example as inspiration for the students.

The design criteria was:

  1. Title your SOLIDWORKS App for Kids design (name the robot)

  2. All shapes have to be connected

  3. Has to look like what you think a robot would look like or how you would like a robot to look.

  4. The robot needs a way to get around (legs, treads, etc)

  5. Riff another robot if you need inspiration and create off of it

Results Rob Maldonado, a mechanical engineer, CAD expert, and longtime supporter of STEM education, printed out the little robot on his multicolored printer! Here are the results:

Our Class Results


Today she learned: "That you can make more stuff than plastic with 3D printing, how to make shapes on the SOLIDWORKS App for Kids bigger, how to delete them all at once, and how to see different perspectives of your creations."

Ella designed this robot from scratch and did a wonderful job!


Today he learned: "How to riff objects and edit other peoples work into a new and original design. I learned that you can 3D print with food and like chocolate and ears for medical research."

He calls the robot Owl 365. He first sketched his design and then later made it on the SOLIDWORKS App for Kids based off of a design that he riffed.


Today she learned: "How to use the SOLIDWORKS App and to design a robot. Also, I learned how to add shapes to the robot."

This robot designed by Irene was inspired by a bunny.


Today she learned: "How to use the SOLIDWORKS App for Kids better and sharpen, riff, and remove parts of a project." 


Today he learned: "The basics of 3D printing and making a robot model."

Om's robot seems very Minecraft esque.

Vinaya She forgot to fill out the "Today I Learned" form.

Vinaya did a wonderful sketch of the robot beforehand, with an electrical inspired design.


Today he learned: "How to design a robot on the computer."

Akshat named his robot Bubsee. I love the colors he chose!


Today he learned: "3D printed objects are made up of filament. You can 3D print ears."

Dhruv is our youngest student in the class and has done an exceptional job so far. He calls this robot "Planet Bot" and was riffed off of my example bot.


Today he learned: "How to make a design about robots and how to use CAD."

Neel designed a drone, and after many different designs he settled on a drone with ninja star propellers.

Krish Today he learned: "How to move around objects better on my robot on my iPad."

Krish named his robot "Bot of Blue."


Today she learned: "How to CAD properly." 

Sophia made a robot version of her cat Ginger.


Today he learned: "How CAD works in 3D printing."

A good job to everyone for their work today! I absolutely love everyone's designs. I asked them what they want to learn about in the future in the Engineering Design Club, and they want to learn about: all of the possibilities of the SOLIDWORKS App for Kids, wheels, robots, and programming (especially Python).  Stay tuned for part two where I show how the kids prints turned out and their reactions to them. I will be using my SINDOH 3DWOX DP200 3D Printer, thanks to the kindness of SOLIDWORKS Corp. I will also have all of the kids designs up on GrabCAD if you'd like to print them yourself.

If you're interested in learning more about the amazing world of 3D printing, check out They upload engaging content covering different 3D printing industries often multiple times a day. If you would like to learn about my 3D printing efforts and how I use it in STEAM education, check out these articles courtesy of Fabbaloo: One. Two.

Download your own Robot: Cube Save this image to make your own 3D version of the robot.

Download your own Robot: STL

Or if you would like to 3D print this robot yourself, download it on GrabCAD here. You can also view it in a 3D viewer without needing a CAD software, which is pretty cool if you're showing it to kids.

The robot in SOLIDWORKS

I hope that you all enjoyed this post and that you'll stay tuned for more!


Contact Us

Our workshop and classroom is located at 330 E Maple Rd, Suite B, Troy MI USA, 48083. We are not open to the public. Thank you for this donated space, InVanse Technologies.

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 COPYRIGHT © 2021 by THE STEAM CONNECTION. All Rights Reserved. All art is illustrated and the property of Danielle Boyer.