Introduction to 3D Printing

8 Lessons


The 3D printing process builds a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design (CAD) model, usually by successively adding material layer by layer. This is also called additive manufacturing. One of the key advantages of 3D printing is the ability to produce very complex shapes or geometries, and a prerequisite for producing any 3D printed part is a digital 3D model or a CAD file.

3D printing is a rapidly expanding field. The popularity and use of cases for 3D printers are growing every year. This course will provide the student a great introduction to this emerging field and share a wide range of technologies associated with 3D printing, an overview of 3D printers and materials that can be used to print, and an introduction to designing and printing your first model.

3D printing technology is actively being used to prototype parts that are difficult to manufacture, create replacement parts, and even utilized for printing medical implants and prosthetic parts. There are a number of limitations to traditional manufacturing. 3D printing is an enabling technology that encourages and drives innovation. It provides unprecedented freedom to design any object with sophisticated modeling tools. This design approach reduces prohibitive costs and lead times associated with traditional manufacturing and prototyping.

3D Printing is poised to have a broad and deep impact on many domains in the years to come. 3D printing used to be possible only for large companies due to the scale and economics of owning a 3D printer. Now, small form factor 3D printers with basic features can be purchased for under $1000. The price of 3D printers is continuing to trend downwards and is soon going to become a fixture in every house, much like the regular printers have become today.