Introduction To 3D Printing

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Introduction to 3D Printing

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.


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.

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