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3D printing has been hailed as a solution to all manufacturing problems. Obviously that is exaggerated, but what is it good for, and when is traditional manufacturing still the better choice? In this course, you will learn how to separate the real promise of the technology from the hype, and understand the workflow for a consumer-level 3D printer. You will become familiar with some typical online databases of objects available to print, and get a bit of experience with free or open-source software for all stages of the process. This class will be primarily focused to introduce you to the tools of the open 3D printer ecosystem, but the principles will apply to consumer  3D printers in general.

Recommended optional e-book: Horvath, Mastering 3D Printing (Apress: 2014) [discount code for U Got Class students will be available]


Unit 1: What is a 3D Printer?
-Understanding additive manufacturing and how it is different from traditional subtractive manufacturing
-How 3D printers work – different types
-The 3D printing workflow: modeling, slicing, printing   
-The state of the art in consumer printers

Unit 2: Getting a 3D Model
-Free and/or open source modeling software (Tinkercad, OpenSCAD)
-Scanning in a model
-The model databases (Thingiverse, YouMagine)

Unit 3: Slicing Your Model
-Design rules for consumer 3D printers
-What is slicing?
-Infill, overhangs, rafts, skirts
-Finding and using free and open source slicing software (MatterControl, Cura)
-Materials choices for consumer 3D printing

Unit 4: Using Your Printer
-Classroom application examples: learning by making 
-Applications for teaching the visually impaired 
-Using a 3D printer for home tinkering 
-Bigger picture and the future: medicine, construction, more.

 Question MarkAbout online learning

Online learning is a fun, enjoyable and very productive way to learn. Millions of people are learning online each year. You will engage with the instructor and other participants. You will get to know your instructor and other participants. You may make friends. It’s easy. It’s fun.

GearsHow the Course Works

It is easy to participate in your online course. After you register, you will be given a web address to go to get into your online classroom. You will have a password and use your email address and password to gain access.

Once inside the online classroom, here’s what you can expect.

CalendarParticipate when you want

You can participate any time of day or evening. The online classroom is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
There are no live real-time requirements or meetings. You decide when you participate.
For the best learning, participants should log into the course on 2-3 different days of the week.

ChecklistWhat you will do

For each Unit, you will:

  • Read the print readings (about 20 pages a week)
  • Have the option of accessing the online readings
  • Listen to the audio presentation for the Unit and view the slides
  • Have the option of taking a self-quiz to see how much you have learned
  • Engage in written online discussion with your instructor and other participants

For best learning, you should make one or more comments at 2-3 different times each week.
The content (readings, audio lectures, slides) and self quizzes are accessible for the entire course, so you can work ahead, or go back and review again, at your convenience.

Next offering(s):
-Next session coming soon-

$195 USD

Ave. hours 16; 1.6 CEUs/ILUs

About Your Instructors

Joan Horvath and Rich “Whosawhatsis” Cameron are the co-founders of maker technology consultancy Nonscriptum LLC (www.nonscriptum.com) and previously were respectively VP of Business Development and VP of R&D at a small Kickstarter-funded 3D printer company. They collaborate on books for Apress, most recently “The New Shop Class.” Joan’s experience includes a 16 year stint in the aerospace industry, adjunct positions at several universities, and consulting in a wide variety of circumstances. She has degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT and an Engineering MS from UCLA. Rich is an open-source 3D printer guru who designed one of the early open source 3D printers, the Wallace, and later the commercially-available Bukito.

Course Objectives

- Learn about the realistic limitations of consumer 3D printers

- Discover the three stages of a 3D print: modeling, slicing and printing

- Find out how to locate and evaluate printable files in free online libraries 

- See case studies of real-world applications

- Learn how to navigate the free and open source software options available for each part of the printing workflow

Course Outcomes

At the end of the course, you will:

- Know the workflow process of a consumer-level 3D printer

- Understand the design issues for a 3D printable file

- Be able to navigate typical 3D model databases

- Be aware of the different materials available for consumer 3D printing

- Know about real-world 3D printing case studies

-Know how to find out more

Completion Requirements