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Brook and his kidsBy , Make Magazine

Printrbot founder Brook Drumm built the first 3D printer kit he purchased (the MakerBot Cupcake) with the help of his two daughters and his son, intentionally involving them in the process. His kids have grown up with 3D printers being common tools in their household. Here he shares with us his insights on how 3D printers open a whole new world of possibilites for kids, and why he believes it’s so important to integrate them into schools.

Generation 3D by Brook Drumm

When I was a kid, I used to follow my dad around asking questions: “Why?” “What for?” “Why?” “What is that?” “How?” “Why?” He had an office in the back of the house full of wonderful gadgets, and he encouraged my desire to take everything apart to see how it ticked. He was always ready to explain what he knew about electronics and machines, which to a young boy sounded like pure magic. Somewhere along the way I acquired a soldering iron and I was in love. Being allowed to ask, explore, tinker, hack, and even fail set me on the course to being a maker.

I’ve carried on the tradition of encouraging my kids to ask questions and explore the healthy stash of electronics and gadgets I collect. Each of my three kids has tackled projects with me one-on-one, but we all converged on our first 3D printer in January 2011. I’d been inspired by the MAKE issue that featured Bre Pettis [of MakerBot, on the cover] and saved up for months to buy my Cupcake 3D printer.

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