Seasonal Playdoh Cutters
This week, our class concluded a seasonal-themed Play-Doh cutter project that we have been working on for a while now. We focused on all the major seasons and holidays throughout the year, and we identified and created designs for cutters that pertained to each one. Our 8 themes (in order of the school year) were:
St. Patrick’s Day
Once we established the correct sizing and dimensions of the cutters, each 5-piece set ended up taking about 2 hours to print.
For each theme, we wanted to create a set of 5 cutters, which could then be used at Play-Doh activity centres in our Kindergarten classrooms. I divided my students into 8 teams of 3, and each group member was tasked with designing their own cutter. The remaining 2 cutters in each set of 5 were chosen by each group, using designs that we found online.
We wanted all the cutters to be roughly the same size, and after some trial and error, we decided on using a diameter of roughly 8 cm and height of 1.2 cm. I instructed my students to find and design only very basic cutters (i.e., a simple shape rather than a complex one) to make it easy for young children to remove the Play-Doh from the cutter.
Once we had made each shape, the students made a brim for each of the cutters in order to provide a comfortable edge (rather than a sharp one) for the user to push down on, which would result in cleaner lines in the Play-Doh cutouts the children made.
Problems We Were Able to Troubleshoot:
With this project, we ran into a number of problems that had to be overcome. We played around with sizing quite a bit, and we found that if the cutters were too big, they were too flimsy (and would take longer to print). But if the cutters were too small, the Play-Doh would get stuck in the cutter, which would make it difficult/frustrating for a Kindergartener to dislodge their shape from the cutter. We printed, tested, redesigned, and reprinted until we found the perfect size.
We had similar issues with wall thickness. If the walls were too thin, the cutters broke, but if the walls were thick, the cutters took a long time to print.
Our final test was to see if 4 and 5 year olds could easily cut them out, and our final measurements proved that they were in fact able to do that.
This was a very rewarding project, all around. As a class, we learned a lot about making adjustments to the products we were making in order to improve their function, and the Kindergarten students were excited to receive some new items to play with in their classroom.
We have received many requests for themed cutters from teachers who are working on various inquiry units (e.g., bugs, space, dinosaurs, etc.), and due to the high level of interest in this project from other teachers, friends, and the parents of my students, we are looking at producing and selling these sets of themed cutters as a fundraiser.
Links and Products used:
We used "www.tinkercad.com" to create our seasonal cutters.
We found various cutter designs on Thingiverse.com
We used "Ultimaker Cura" as our slicer to adjust and customize our print files.
We used an Ender 3 V2 and Eryone Star 1 to 3D print our designs