The NIH (National Institute of Health) in the US has set up a pretty cool site that will help teachers integrate 3D printing into their science classes.

The NIH Print Exchange has a lot of downloadable and printable material available on it. From molecules to bacteria to cell models and tissues, there are a lot of items here that could be used in classrooms. There is even a section of downloadable and printable models of simple lab equipment for you to use.

Great stuff to explore.

A few words of warning though. Many of these models look like they would be challenging to print. Simply because of the shapes involved, many of these models will need to be printed with support or rafts to increase your chance of success.

As well, some of the material that is on this site is not downloadable as straight .stl files. I found a number that were .wrl or other file formats. This means that before printing, you will need to download the files and run them through a conversion process before attempting to slice and print them.

I downloaded a few files from the site and ran them through MeshLab


exporting them as stl files. After this easy step, I simply imported the stl files into Repetier-Host


and they were ready for slicing and printing.

Not a difficult process, but just be aware that you may need to do some work with the files before they are ready for printing.

Overall, this looks to be a great resource for schools and worth your time to check out.