Introduction to 3D Printing:
From Design to Fabrication

Download the full curriculum guide for grading tools and more detailed information on each unit below. The curriculum guide contains all unit guides listed below.

Unit 1: Course Introduction

Welcome students to the course and introduce the syllabus, course structure and major assignments. This week’s lectures highlight the major technology shifts in human history that have set the stage for 3D printing.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
COURSE OVERVIEW
Classroom/ Lecture
HISTORICAL REVIEW Historical Review (PPTX) Classroom/ Lecture
FROM CAD TO CAM From CAD to CAM (PPTX) Classroom/ Lecture
CAD OVERVIEW
Computer lab/ CAD instruction
FINAL PROJECT EXAMPLE

Inspiring Case Study (PPTX)
Something That Moves Something (STL)

Computer lab/ Lecture
FINAL PROJECT PROPOSALS Unit 1 Guide (PDF) Homework/ Hands-on

Unit 2: Introduction to 3D Printing

The special advantages of 3D printing are illuminated by a comparison to other technologies, both ancient and modern. Students learn how various 3D printing technologies compare in terms of applications, advantages, relative precision and material use.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
HOMEWORK REVIEW   Classroom/ Discussion
3D PRINTING OVERVIEW Intro to 3D Printing (PPTX) Classroom/ Lecture
3D PRINTING TECHNOLOGY 3D Printing Technologies (PPTX) Classroom/ Lecture
INTRO TO 3D MODELING   Computer lab/ CAD instruction
MEET THE 3D PRINTER
Fabrication lab/ Tour
FINAL PROJECT PROPOSALS Unit 2 Guide (PDF) Homework/ Hands-on

Unit 3: What is a Mesh?

Students learn the fundamentals of preparing CAD files for 3D printing. Before introducing industry-standard build preparation software, this week’s lectures explain how layer slicing works and what build parameters students must consider.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
HOMEWORK REVIEW   Classroom/ Discussion
WHAT IS A MESH? What is a Mesh? (PPTX) Computer lab/ Lecture
MOVING FROM 2D TO 3D
CAD instruction/ Computer lab
ADVANCED CAD COMMANDS
CAD instruction/ Computer lab
MAKING BY SHARING Making by Sharing (PPTX) Computer lab/ Activity
WEEKLY ASSIGNMENT Unit 3 Guide (PDF) Homework/ Hands-on

Unit 4: Ctrl + P

A review of geometry terms conveys the concept of a 3D mesh, and students learn about the process of converting 3D CAD files into machine movements. Students are also introduced to mesh repair software and the CAM software used to prepare files for 3D printing.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
HOMEWORK REVIEW   Classroom/ Discussion
CAM SKILLS Catalyst (PPTX)
Insight (PPTX)
Objet Studio (PPTX)
CAM Instruction/ Computer lab
MESH REPAIR What is a Mesh? (PPTX) CAD instruction/ Computer lab
GET TO KNOW THE 3D PRINTER
Fabrication lab/ Tour
WEEKLY ASSIGNMENT Unit 4 Guide (PDF) Homework revision/ Hands-on

Unit 5: Closed Gear Systems Part I

Students will discover the advantages of 3D printing for interlocking parts. They will learn about gear system characteristics and forces and begin converting 2D drawings to 3D models.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
HOMEWORK REVIEW   Classroom/ Discussion
GEAR SYSTEMS Gear System (PPTX) Computer lab/ Lecture
CASE STUDY Da Vinci case study (PPTX) or
Gear Systems case study (PPTX)
or Gear Ball case study (PPTX)
Gear Systems (STL)
Da Vinci (STL)
Classroom/ Lecture
DESIGNING GEARS IN CAD   Computer lab/ CAD instruction
WEEKLY ASSIGNMENT Unit 5 Guide (PDF) Homework/ Hands-on

Unit 6: Closed Gear Systems Part II

This unit will build on Unit 5. Students will improve on the gear designs they created last week.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
HOMEWORK REVIEW Classroom/ Discussion
KINEMATIC MODELS Cornell Case Study (PDF) Classroom/ Discussion
CASE STUDY See Unit 5. Classroom/ Lecture
Redesigning 2d Raster Gear Systems in 3D
Computer lab/ CAD instruction
WEEKLY ASSIGNMENT Homework revision/ Hands-on

Unit 7: Dynamic Surfaces and Chains

A dynamic surface is an array of connected surfaces in which a movement of one surface moves all other surfaces in a predictable way. Students will learn considerations like tolerance and support material removal when designing 3D printable models with dynamic surfaces.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
HOMEWORK REVIEW Classroom/ Discussion
DYNAMIC SURFACES Dynamic Surfaces (PPTX) Classroom/ Lecture
CASE STUDY Multiplier Case Study (PPTX) Classroom/ Lecture
MATERIAL BEHAVIOR
Classroom/ Lecture
NESTING Nesting (PPTX) Classroom/ Lecture
DYNAMIC SURFACES AND CHAINS Coming Soon (STL) Computer lab/ Fabrication lab
RESOLUTION, TOLERANCE AND SUPPORT MATERIAL
Computer lab/ CAD instruction
WEEKLY ASSIGNMENT Homework/ Hands-on

Unit 8: The Future of Fabrication

Students will be introduced to emerging trends in 3D printing and will begin working in pairs to examine case studies that demonstrate novel uses of the technology. Students will present their findings in pairs throughout the remainder of the semester.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
HOMEWORK REVIEW Classroom/ Discussion
REVIEW
Classroom/ Lecture
CASE STUDY ANALYSIS
Classroom/ Lecture
FUTURE OF FABRICATION Future of Fabrication (PPTX) Computer lab/ Fabrication lab
CASE STUDY ASSIGNMENT Unit 8 Guide (PDF) Computer lab/ CAD instruction
WEEKLY ASSIGNMENT Unit 8 Guide (PDF) Homework revision/ Hands-on

Unit 9: Midterm Exam

Students will complete a written mid-term exam and the first pair of students will present their case study.

Topic Venue/ Format
MIDTERM EXAM Classroom/ Written test
STUDENT CASE STUDIES Classroom/ Student presentation
FINAL PROJECT Homework revision/ Hands-on

Unit 10: 4D Printing

Students will explore the ways in which the fourth dimension, time, impacts the design and fabrication process and will imagine new possibilities it could bring to design.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
4D PRINTING 4D Printing (PPTX) Classroom/ Lecture
STUDENT CASE STUDIES   Classroom/ Student presentation
FINAL PROJECT RE-EXAMINATIONS   Computer lab/ Student Presentation

Unit 11: Parametric Design

Students will begin to understand the changing role of designers with the rise of parametric design and mass customization.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
PARAMETRIC DESIGN Parametric Design (PPTX) Classroom/ Lecture
STUDENT CASE STUDIES   Classroom/ Student Presentation
STUDENT PRESENTATIONS Unit 11 Guide (PDF) Computer lab/ Hands-on
FINAL PROJECT REVISION   Homework revision/ Hands-on

Unit 12: Prototype Printing

Students will begin 3D printing their final project prototypes and will maximize lab time to work on final projects with instructor guidance.

Topic Venue/ Format
STUDENT CASE STUDIES Classroom/ Student Presentation
FINAL PROJECT PRINTING Computer lab/ Hands-on

Unit 13: 3D Printing and Testing

Students will continue 3D printing and testing the models they’ve created for their final projects.

Topic Venue/ Format
STUDENT CASE STUDIES Classroom/ Student Presentation
FINAL PROJECT PRINTING Homework/ Hands-on

Unit 14: Final Presentations and Demonstrations

Students present and critique final projects, explaining their design processes, challenges and learnings.

Topic Venue/ Format
STUDENT CASE STUDIES Classroom/ Student Presentation
FINAL PROJECT PRESENTATIONS Classroom/ Student Presentation
FINAL EXAM Classroom/ Written test

Extra Units

Unit A: Sound Printing

Students learn about sound waves and how a physical, 3D printed model can be used to direct and amplify sound. They design and print a model to amplify sound from their cell phone.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
SOUND WAVES AND 3D PRINTING Sound Printing (PPTX) Classroom/ Student Presentation
TWO-WEEK ASSIGNMENT Unit A Guide (PDF) Homework/ Hands-on

Unit B: Fluid Dynamics

In this recommended unit, the instructor demonstrates 3D models that simulate fluid dynamics.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
3D PRINTING AND FLUID DYNAMICS Unit B Guide (PDF) Classroom/ Student Presentation

Unit C: Post Processing

Students will learn and practice post-processing techniques for FDM parts.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
POST-PROCESSING Coming Soon
Post-Processing (PPTX)
Classroom/ Student Presentation
IN-CLASS WORK    
ASSIGNMENT Unit C Guide (PDF)  

Unit D: Factory of Tomorrow

Students will discuss the social, environmental and economic impact of personal fabrication. They will imagine and write about new factory models that use new and emerging technology to reinvent the future.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
FACTORY OF TOMORROW Coming Soon
Factory of Tomorrow (PPTX)
Classroom/ Discussion
WEEKLY ASSIGNMENT Unit D Guide (PDF) Homework/ Hands-on

Unit E: Field Trip

Instructor will lead a class field trip to a traditional fabrication workshop or to the closest digital fabrication lab.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
VISIT LOCAL WORKSHOP Unit E Guide (PDF) Field trip

Unit F: 3D Manufacturing Regulations and Carbon Footprint

Students will become familiar with environmental regulations they must consider in manufacturing, including how to dispose of waste.

Topic Resources Venue/ Format
HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL Coming soon Classroom/ Discussion
WEEKLY ASSIGNMENT Unit F Guide (PDF) Homework/ Hands-on

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