Saturday, December 31, 2016

Reflecting on a Wonderful 2016 M3D Year

Looking back, M3D gave me, The YouthQuest Foundation (The organization for whom I work.) and the cadets we serve a wonderful new chapter in our quest to use 3D design and printing to make the lives of at-risk young people richer and fuller.

By making the M3D Micro so affordable and easy to use, we were able to initiate a new opportunity for our cadets to become mentors to other at-risk young people in their own communities.  As the year is closing, we just ordered the first M3D Micros to be given to our first prospective mentors in the second week of January.

We are extremely excited about this new initiative and so are our sponsors who have committed to underwriting it.  We'll have more on that with our January 1, 2017 post!

As I reflect on the year and how much impact that 3D Design and printing has made in the lives of students this past year I am filled with gratitude.

First, there are the cadets of the 3 Youth ChalleNGe Academy sites with whom we work.  This year marked the 200th 3D ThinkLink cadet to graduate since we began.  For the first time, some of our cadets were able to print with flexible materials thanks to the M3D Micro.

Secondly, 2016 marked the pilot 3D ThinkLink pilot program with the Phillips School in Annandale, Virginia serving autism-spectrum students.   Not only did the students do well, they thrived and excelled!  This year the program will be expanded to a second campus!

One of the cool things for me was that I had actually worked with Piper Phillips more than 30 years ago when I produced a series of video documentaries for what was then called The School for Contemporary Education.  It was wonderful to renew that connection.  

I will never forget my first visit to the wonderful Horizons summer program in Hampton Roads, Virginia.  It was here that we first had the opportunity to introduce the M3D Micro to students.  They loved working with the flexible materials and were enthralled by the color changing chameleon materials.  It was here that we came to appreciate the value of creating wearable art.

I cannot even begin to fully explain how the M3D Micro impacted our program this past year.  While the printer is a bit too slow to become our primary 3D printer in the classroom, it is, nevertheless, an important tool in allowing us to better train and build enthusiasm among our instructors and permitting us to begin our mentoring initiative among our cadets.

Lastly, 2016 saw the birth of this blog after years of blogging about other 3D printers.  This blog is  dedicated to helping M3D 3D printer owners get more out of their 3D printing experience.   If this was an M3D Christmas at your household, I hope you find this blog to be helpful.  While 2017 promises to bring us the M3D Pro, we will still spend a great deal of time and effort focusing on making the M3D Micro experience a fun and rewarding one.  I love this little printer.

Between now and January 9th, 2017 I will be creating some videos for YouthQuest to help our new mentors get the most out of the M3D Micro printers they will be using to mentor other at-risk students in their neighborhoods.  I will share the links to those videos as they are completed.

In the meantime, if you have any issues or questions about your new M3D Micro, please feel free to contact me at tmeeks[at]  I do not work for M3D; but, I am a user and a fan and I am always ready to help other users whenever I can.

As the year ends, I want to thank all of our classroom teachers and our loyal supporters for working so hard and selflessly to make this a wonderful year.

And, yep.  2016 WAS a wonderful M3D year!  :)

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