Build & 3D Print Useful Stuff

Build & 3D Print Useful Stuff

All Ages


This lesson encourages Design Thinking and creativity. Students will build a "toothpaste squeezer" in Minecraft, 3D Print it, then design their own.

avatar Submitted By: Ben Parsons

December 1, 2017

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  • Creativity
  • Project Based Learning

Supporting Files

Picture of Toothpaste Squeezer

Learning Objectives

  • Design thinking
  • Students will build a 3D model of a toothpaste squeezer from a provided description
  • Students will use imagination to make their own design
  • Use a range of mathematical skills to design and export the model into a workable object

Guiding Ideas

Show picture/model: What do you think this thing is used for?

Why is important to brush your teeth?

Why is it important to not waste things like toothpaste?

How can we improve this thing?

Student Activities

In this lesson, students will build simple, yet useful things in Minecraft, then 3D Print them into the real world to use. They will first build a simple "toothpaste squeezer" and print it, then design their own. After seeing what is possible, they should be able to use their imagination to make lots of cool, useful, simple stuff.

1. Show students the model (or picture of the model provided) and brainstorm what it could be used for. (elicit "squeezing toothpaste out of a tube, but there are endless possibilities).

2. Tell students they are going to work together, either in groups or as a class, to recreate it in Minecraft and 3D print it.

3. I would not give students too much instruction - take a step back and see what they can do. There might be several builds that don't work, but that's where the real thinking takes place.

4. When students are ready to export their model and try it out, do the following:

Press "T" and type /give @s structure_block or /give @a structure block

Someone must then place the structure block near the model. Right-click to activate it. From there, the kids need to use their math and thinking skills to tinker with the X, Y and Z axis to get the model into the build area.

When they are happy with it, give it a name and click "export". The students will receive a .GLB which can be opened in Microsoft 3D builder and other CAD software, and printed on most 3D printers.

Performance Expectations

Simple: Students must create something that is SIMPLE and WORKS.


  • Creativity
  • Project Based Learning

External References

Supporting Files

Picture of Toothpaste Squeezer