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.

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Unit B: Fluid Dynamics

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

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Unit C: Post Processing

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

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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.

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Unit E: Field Trip

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Unit 9: Midterm Exam

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

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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.

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Unit 11: Parametric Design

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

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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.

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Unit 13: 3D Printing and Testing

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

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Unit 14: Final Presentations and Demonstrations

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

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Extra Units