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5 Things School OTs Should 3D Print

Shows a 3D printer printing a 3 and a D with the title of the article

Lots of teachers and school occupational therapists I talk to think that in order to start 3D printing you have to know how to design things. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! You actually don’t even need a 3D printer but that’s a whole other post. Today I’m going to share some of my favorite things to 3d print for clients and where I found them. They are all downloaded as STL files from Thingiverse so you will need software capable of opening and reading an STL file. If you’re new to 3D printing, check out my blog post on getting started with 3D printing. Don’t let not having a 3D printer stop you from getting a Thingiverse account and “liking” or saving things you want to 3D print. To get you started, here is my list of 5 things School occupational therapists should 3D print for their students!

3D Printed Y shaped Pencil Holder 

This y shaped pencil holder was an immediate hit in our therapy department! So many students benefit from the shape of the y pencil but the mechanical y shaped pencils you can purchase are expensive and the leads fall out easily. With these pencil holders, not only are you able to use any small pencil (I tell teachers to save broken or sharpened down pencils) but you can also use crayon pieces. Credit to OTin3d for designing and publishing this great tool! 

Tablet and Document Stand 

Lots of occupational therapists recommend the Snaptype app for their students with dysgraphia. If you’re thinking “what is Snaptype?” do yourself a favor and check it out here!. Many kids that struggle to write are able to fill out worksheets by snapping a picture of the worksheet and typing the answers in using this simple app. But what about kiddos that don’t have the stability or coordination to take the picture?  Once again Thingiverse to the rescue!

By printing out this document holder by langelor_du_lac and this tablet stand by RenatoT you’ve created an easy to position set up for getting pictures of worksheets. One student’s teacher even used tape to mark on the desk where to position the tablet and the document holder. With the help of these simple 3d printed devices students have become totally independent using this dysgraphia app. 

Line Stencil 

Another one from OTin3d. This is an easy to print and use stencil for students that struggle to write legibly on worksheets with blank spaces. Lots of worksheets teachers hand out have bubbles or boxes to write in that don’t have lines and this can be a nightmare for some students. With this stencil, many students can independently draw straight writing lines on the worksheet. It has holes so it can go in a binder but it also fits in many pencil boxes!

Tablet Overlays 

There are a few different tablet overlays on the web. For example, this one is specifically for the GoTalk app. I like this because it provides some borders around the choices but the iPad is easier to activate than the GoTalk devices which can require a lot more pressure. 

Something else that I’ve found is this amazing, CUSTOMIZABLE, AAC app overlay on Thingiverse. You just enter in the device, layout, and some other customization directly into the Thingiverse customizer and within minutes you have a file ready to be downloaded, sliced, and printed. 

3D Printed Cookie Cutters!!!

These 3D printed cookie cutters are perfect for play-doh, putty, actually making cookies, you name it! I have found so many awesome designs on Thingiverse. Here is one collection of cookie cutters by hopewithus on Thingiverse! My favorites are the dominoes, puzzle piece, batman, and the sugar skull!

The Future is NOW!!

While 3D printers used to be somewhat of a novelty, they are now pretty commonplace. This is especially true in schools and libraries where maker spaces have become popular. My advice to any occupational therapists looking to use 3d printing in their practice is to go online and start finding designs you want to try. Once you know what you want to make there are many resources for finding a 3D printer and materials. 3D printed devices are often cheaper than similar items purchased retail and can often be customized to meet your student’s or client’s needs and interests. 

Leave a comment if you have a question or want to share how you’ve used 3D printing in your practice! 

Follow me on Instagram @yoursch00lot for more blog posts and ideas about 3D printing, virtual reality, using switches, and more for school based occupational therapists! You can also follow amandabeasonot on Thingiverse to see all the cool things I’ve found!