This image shows a worksheet titled "Lantern Festival: 3D Printing STEM Challenge." There is a computer with a CAD model of a red lantern and an image of a 3D printed lantern.

5 Exciting 3D Printing Projects for Middle School STEM Students

Looking for fun and educational projects to engage middle school STEM students? Look no further! In this guide, we’ll explore five exciting 3D printing projects that will not only spark creativity but also teach valuable skills. From designing custom keychains to creating functional cell phone stands, these projects are sure to captivate students and foster a love for 3D printing.

Short on time? Check out these low-prep 3D printing projects!

This image shows a computer screen with a CAD design of a keychain wit a paw print that says "Go Bears." Next to the computer are two 3D printed keychains. One blue keychain that says "Go Bears" and an orange keychain that says "Johnson Middle School." The text reads, "Middle School 3D Printing."

Custom Keychains:

Teach students the basics of 3D design and printing by having them create their own custom keychains. They can experiment with different shapes, sizes, and designs to personalize their creations.

This project allows students to unleash their creativity and learn the fundamentals of 3D design and printing. Start by challenging students to create a keychain prototype that could be used in a school fundraiser. Have students research your school branding, colors, motto, mascot, etc. Then students can brainstorm ideas and create a digital model using a CAD program. Students will practice geometric modeling techniques as they combine shapes, create holes, and scale their keychain appropriately. Once the design is complete, they can send it to the 3D printer and share their prototype with the class. This project not only teaches students about design principles and spatial awareness but also allows them to express their individuality through their creations.

Cell Phone Stands:

Have students design and print their own functional cell phone stands. They can experiment with different designs and materials to create a stand that is both practical and visually appealing.

This project allows students to explore the intersection of design and functionality. They can brainstorm different ideas for cell phone stands, considering factors such as stability, adjustability, and aesthetics. Using 3D design software, they can create their own unique designs and then print them using a 3D printer. Students can test their stands with different types of phones to ensure they are compatible and functional. This project not only teaches students about the principles of design, but also allows them to apply their knowledge in a practical and tangible way.

This image shows a worksheet titled "Lantern Festival: 3D Printing STEM Challenge." It also shows a 3D printed lantern in the shape of a half circle. It's lit from within by a battery-powered tea light.


Introduce students to the Lunar New Year and traditional celebrations. Then they can use 3D printing to create their own lantern designs and illuminate them with battery-powered tea lights.

This project is a great way to introduce students to the cultural celebration of the Lunar New Year. Students can learn about the significance of lanterns in the festivities and then use 3D printing to create their own unique lantern designs. They can experiment with different shapes, patterns, and colors to make their lanterns stand out. Once their designs are printed, students can illuminate their lanterns using battery-powered tea lights, creating a beautiful display. This project not only teaches students about 3D printing, but also allows them to explore different cultures and traditions.

Prosthetic Devices:

Teach students about the field of biomedical engineering by having them design and print prosthetic devices for stuffed animals. This project allows them to practice empathy and explore ways to create functional prosthetics using 3D printing technology.

Students can research different types of prosthetic devices and learn about the challenges faced by animals who require them. They can then use their knowledge to design and print prosthetic devices that are tailored to fit stuffed animals with missing appendages. This project encourages creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills, while also fostering empathy and understanding for animals (and people!) with disabilities. Students can present their designs to the class and discuss the functionality and effectiveness of their prosthetic devices. This hands-on project not only introduces students to the field of biomedical engineering, but also promotes compassion and inclusivity.

Miniature Architecture:

Challenge students to design and print miniature models of famous landmarks or buildings. This project allows them to explore architectural concepts and learn about different architectural styles.

Students can choose a famous landmark or building that interests them and research its architectural style and unique features. They can then use 3D design software to create a miniature model of the structure, paying attention to details such as proportions, textures, and colors. Once the design is complete, they can print it using a 3D printer and assemble the pieces to create their own miniature architectural masterpiece. This project not only teaches students about architecture but also encourages creativity, mathematical thinking, and problem-solving skills as they figure out how to translate a real-life structure into a scaled-down model.

Looking for more support planning your middle school 3D printing projects? 

Do you need more guidance planning and implementing 3D printing projects? We’ve got you covered! Check out these ready-to-go 3D printing projects with printable and digital worksheets, links to background research, materials lists, helpful facilitation tips and tricks, and more! Plus all of our activities are designed to be fun and educational – perfect for getting your students excited about 3D printing technology!

So what are you waiting for? Grab a project and make this a memorable learning experience for your students. 

Show me the projects!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Blog Posts

Hi, I'm Trilby!

I help middle school educators like you facilitate high quality STEM lessons that engage and challenge students while saving time and energy.

Grab your free STEM lesson!