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I have used several slicing programs to prepare my models for 3D printing, but none comes close to PrusaSlicer, which is open-source (free) for all to use.
Unfortunately, up until now, you need a “real computer” to use it as it needed to be installed. Now, the Linux build can be installed on a Chromebook, making a premier slicer available to any student with a CB. After creating their model on SketchUp, Tinkercad, or Onshape, they can export the STL file, import it into PrusaSlicer, orient it on the print bed, add supports, slice it and export the gcode.
Here is how to install it on an old, cheap CB I bought for $200 at Costco three years ago. I wish the audio had been captured better by Loom, but did I mention it was an old Chromebook :-).
This is a follow-up for students that completed modeling a basic chair with SketchUp. It uses the web-based version of SketchUp, like SketchUp For Schools. No prior experience with SketchUp is really necessary, making this an ideal project for any student. While students could build the table with most of the same skills as building the chair, this lesson goes one step further and introduces different methods that will expand the student’s toolbox and save time. Having said that, you might want to make the chair first 🙂
Actual software applications usually cannot be installed on a Chromebook, which usually means that editing video has to be done in the cloud, like at wevideo.com, which was neither free nor convenient for schools and students.
With the advent of being able to install some Linux apps on Chromebooks, developers have bundled together some Linux open-source applications that can easily be installed (You don’t need to know Linux) via Flatpak.
There are several choices, but my favorite is OpenShot. It is a typical non-linear video editor that students can learn easily. It even comes with a nice library of transitions and effects.
You are not going to be able to edit the next Star Wars movie with it on a Chromebook, but for presentations, science experiments, debates, book reports – you name it – it provides the best option for editing video on a Chromebook.
For 99% of the image editing tasks, GIMP and Photoshop can do the same thing. Of course, GIMP is much-lesser known as it is a free open-source program that does not have Adobe’s multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, but nevertheless, it gets the job done and more!
Now with many schools adopting Chromebooks, full-featured image editing has been limited. No more, as you can now easily install GIMP on most Chromebooks. I managed to install it on my 3-year old $225 Costco Chromebook and it runs great. This is the full version of GIMP, not some watered-down web version.
When I started planning this project, I was asking myself what could be fun for kids, have supporting media, and be short/easy. I think I hit the first two perfectly, but I kept wanting to introduce new skills. Before I was done, I realized I had created a monster, but a fun monster indeed.
Anyone can do this project, but it is helpful to have some prior SketchUp experience – explaining every move for a total beginner would result in something no one could use. However, for those that don’t, they can refer to my online indexed guide for all of SketchUp’s moves and grooves.
Here is a brief excerpt from A Grand Day Out to get your students fired up.
This is a series of video screencast tutorials that demonstrate how to create a pencil using SketchUp. It is a great introductory activity.
Students love doing these activities, but they don’t want to have anyone show them for 70 minutes on a projector screen and then set them free. They also don’t want to have to figure out written directions (did you ever open up the shrink-wrapped manual?). They just want to jump in and create. This format allows students to start from the beginning and model as they watch. If they skip a step or have trouble, they can go back and rewatch that portion of the tutorial. If they find another way to do the same thing, that’s even better. If a student misses a day, they have not missed any instruction.
The screencast is indexed giving students the advantage of quickly find out where they left off from the day before or go back and rewatch a segment for better understanding.
Directions, supplemental files and SketchUp files saved at various stages can be found by downloading the document below.
A year or two ago, Trimble released a web-based version of SketchUp. Branded as SketchUp Free, it was somewhat limited compared to the desktop version but now has blossomed into a decent version. They discontinued free desktop version (Make 2017), but it can still be downloaded for a few more months.
Trimble then adapted the web version for education as SketchUp for Schools. It is 95% the same as SketchUp Free with the main difference being that it uses Google Drive for cloud storage instead of Trimble Connect cloud storage(free). The user/student must have a google account AND your district IT department must set it up for your school(s) to work with G-Suite for Education or Microsoft Education. For most users, either version will do whatever you want it to for school, so just choose what works best for you.
The full-blown version of SketchUp Pro is still available for schools in states participating in the free grant program, so this is great news for schools that have more developed programs with computer labs.
For schools using Chromebooks, SketchUp Free or for Schools are the only options. Files are freely interchangeable regardless of the version, but since software can’t be installed on a Chromebook, the web-based version is the only option. As long as you have a basic 3-button mouse, it runs well. From what I’ve read, using just the trackpad really slows down the experience.
The interfaces and menus do differ between the versions. Most of the same keyboard shortcuts work as well which is about all I use whenever I can. I did create an indexed demonstration for students of most of SketchUp’s commands with the web version to help translate the commands between the versions.