Ideas and empowerment come from all kinds of sources. One of the most popular sources today is through technology. Through technology comes possibility. Let me explain what I mean.

My name is Heike Roberts. I began my career as a teacher. Together with my husband Ben Roberts, an electronics engineer, we founded Modfab ( We supply training to hundreds of primary, high school and TAFE teachers in our BOSTES accredited 3D Printing and CAD course. We have never done anything like this before, and it has been a real journey for both of us.

Modfab has been operating for 3 years and has helped empower students to stretch their imagination and grow confidence through technology.

We have developed partnerships in a wide variety of areas with the Australian Design Centre (, Teacher Training Australia (, scientists, TAFE NSW (, fashion designers, Universities, and Regional Development Australia’s Me Program in the Hunter (

As a teacher, I marvel at the unique creations Modfab students come up.  When you give students the opportunity for Higher Order Thinking and to blue sky problems and ideas mixed in with some collaborative and project based learning, what they can do with CAD and 3D printing is magical.   

Earlier this year a group of year two students created a quadcopter which they pitched as part of a mock bid to have their product included on the shelves of Toys R Us.  Students pick up CAD and 3D Printing relatively easily and love being able to create, re-evaluate and pitch in a collaborative environment. All while mixing creativity with critical thinking and focuses on skills of the future.

We’ve even taken 3D printing and our courses to the heart of Indigenous Australians in remote Arnhem Land communities, an honour and a privilege by anyone’s standards.

Modfab was asked to teach Yolngu adults to train students at schools. We were employed by ALPA (Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation a 100% Indigenous owned by community members in Milingimbi, Ramingining, Minjilang, Gapuwiyak and Galiwin’ku.



ALPA’s Plastic Fantastic Project ( is led by Indigenous cultural beliefs from planning through to delivery.  The ALPA members from Milingimbi and Ramingining own the Plastic Fantastic project and receive their training from Modfab in 3D printing. The aim is to empower the people to pass on what they learn from us to build their own future for themselves, their families, children and communities. This is what Indigenous self-empowerment looks like in action. To see how Yolngu digital entrepreneurs are using 3D Printing, CAD and recycling check out this link for great teaching ideas.  

As Christmas is just around the corner, we’ve got a gift for readers of Aussie Ed. Click to receive your, perfect for both primary and high school teachers.  Click to receive your free lessons

Lesson 1:  Basic Navigation

Lesson 2: Basic Object Manipulation

Lesson 3:  Creating the Hexagon Ring

Lesson 4: Assembling the Molecule

After you have made your molecule in Tinkercad you can download it and print it.

Modfab welcomes the opportunity to work with any teachers, schools or projects that are looking to discover the wonders of CAD and 3D printing. You can find us at and follow the journey at

Wishing all the teachers, makers and creators out there a happy and safe holiday season.

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