We love when 3D printing is being used for education, especially at the elementary level - get 'em obsessed with 3D printing while their young! What we love even more, though, is when students problem solve using 3D printers on their own. Brooke Peterson, a fourth grade student from California, decided that the best way to create her California Mission project was to use her father's 3D printer. 

Brooke and her 3D printed California Mission


For those of you who are not familiar with the California Fourth Grade Mission Project, it's an assignment where students learn about the California Missions, a group of settlements along the old El Camino Real developed by Franciscan Catholic priests between 1769 and 1833. For part of the assignment, students are usually required to build a model of one of the twenty-one Missions. 

Map of the El Camino Real and Missions


Brooke selected the fourth California mission - Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, located in San Gabriel, California. "I liked the bell tower and thought it would make a great model," said Brooke. We agree - Mission San Gabriel Arcángel's bell tower is not a typical bell tower - it contains six bells, one of which is about 2,000 pounds. You can easily see why Brooke was drawn to the design of the Mission. 

The six bells of Mission San Gabriel Arcángel


Brooke decided that using her father's 3D printer would be the best way to make a model of the Mission. "It would be a unique way to do it compared to buying a kit online to build," said Brooke, adding that, "this way we could design it ourselves and I would learn more about 3D printing."

Incredibly accurate representation of Mission San Gabriel Arcángel's bell tower


Using Tinkercad, Brooke and her Father designed Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, which was the most difficult part of the project. "We had to use a lot of photos from the internet to help us," said Brooke. 

Once the model was finished she set out to print her model using PLA filament, PETG filament, and LayBrick Filament. 3D filament. Once the model was done printing, Brooke assembled the parts and began decorating and adding the details. The roof was made from LayBrick and then stained using a generic wood stain. 

The wood stained Laybrick roof


Brooke was the only student in her class to 3D print her California Mission, and she has decided to share the file on Thingiverse so other students will have the option to do so as well. Her friends at school thought the 3D printed model was great - way to keep spreading the word about 3D printing, Brooke! 

"3D printing teaches me to make things," said Brooke. She is currently designing her own jewelry, and even making a wheelchair for her family dog because her back legs don't work well anymore. 

With that maker mentality, we can't wait to see what else Brooke creates with 3D printing!

Mission San Gabriel Arcángel - 3D printed model


Want to be our next Hacker of the Month? Email rhonda.grandy@matterhackers.com, and tell us about your 3D printed creation - you could be featured in our next newsletter. Hacker of the Month wins 3 free spools of PRO Series PLA or ABS filament to further their pursuit of 3D printing greatness.