Make an Assistive Writing Aid

Students learn about tolerance and flexibility of materials before designing an assistive writing aid

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**This lesson is part of The PrintLab Classroom lesson portal. To view details or to get access to the full portal, CLICK HERE**


In this 4-part lesson, students will design and 3D print their own assistive writing aid in the form of an attachable pen grip. The lesson begins with small-scale experiments called tolerance and flexibility checkers, where students design and 3D print various sized clips to determine the optimal shape for the clip. Students then go on to develop their concepts and design their writing aids in Tinkercad software. The final part of the lesson involves 3D printing, testing, analysing and suggesting improvements to their end-product. Enrolling in the lesson will give you complete access to the teacher training material and lesson documents. This includes content to help you prepare and deliver the lessons along with design tutorials so you become familiar with the process prior to teaching it in the classroom.

*Credit to Mark Chester, Product Designer and MSc Industrial Digitalisation student, for providing us with the idea to run tolerance checkers*

Subject Areas

The lesson can be incorporated into the study of maths, biology, design technology and computing. The material can be adapted for ages 8-15. The curriculum is aligned to NGSS, CCSS and UK National Curriculum standards. A comprehensive list of standards met is included in the lesson platform.

Learning Criteria

In this project students will:

  • develop an understanding of tolerance and flexibility for 3D printed parts
  • conduct an experiment to explore the tolerance and flexibility of 3D printed clips with varying shapes and dimensions
  • use design-thinking and sketching skills to develop a concept for an assistive writing aid
  • use 3D modelling software to design their own assistive writing aid
  • use 3D printers to manufacture an assistive writing aid
  • analyse their work and the work of their peers to suggest improvements to their designs

Equipment List

Each student will require:
1 x laptop/computer with mouse and internet access to use Tinkercad software
1 x caliper measuring tool (students can share measuring tools)

1 x pen/pencil

The teacher will require:
1 x 3D printer and PLA filament (http://weareprintlab.com/products)
1 x laptop/computer with mouse, internet access and slicing software (or Polar Cloud) for the 3D printer

5 x pens (different sized diameters preferred but not essential)