Ari Pikkarainen, Heidi Piili, Antti Salminen


Learning environment is a physical environment which enables and supports interaction and learning of an individual. Practical learning happens usually in a physical learning environment allowing students to learn through using a certain technology when engineering education is in focus. 3D printing offers a low-cost and easy to access way to learn technology through different 3D printing technologies. There is lack of proper guidelines and solutions how to design practical and safe 3D printing learning environment in current literature. The design of a 3D printing environment consists of designing the physical environment and the operational model for the environment. The most important issue in the design work is the occupational safety of the environment including identifying different risks for health. This study presents a process of designing a 3D printing environment in Lapland University of Applied Sciences mechanical engineering degree programme (B.Sc. degree) including layout and operational planning from educational point of view. The study emphasizes the importance of connecting technology with learning in engineering. This study also includes an educational process model presenting the actions which the environment enables from educational point of view. Functionality of the environment refers to the possibility to learn by doing and work in the environment in a way that enables diverse learning possibilities. The process model presents how a 3D printing learning environment can be connected with other functions in a university or in a company and therefore be a part of a manufacturing chain from educational point of view.

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, learning environment, laboratory, occupational safety

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