Course Spotlight: Introduction to 3D Printing 1241

Also referred to as additive manufacturing, 3D printing boasts a long list of applications that have the potential to revolutionize the world in terms of industry, art, education and research and even the legal system.

In “Introduction to 3D Printing 1241,” students will learn what 3D printing can be used for and how to implement the tools of an open 3D printer ecosystem. In the four-week course, participants will become familiar with how to operate a consumer-level 3D printer and with software that accompanies certain stages of the process.

Introduction to 3D Printing 1241 is one of two classes required to earn a certificate in 3D Printing for Educators through UWA Online. This online course is divided into four units, which are broken up as follows:

Unit 1: What is a 3D Printer?

  • Understanding additive manufacturing and how it is different from traditional subtractive manufacturing
  • How different types of 3D printers work
  • 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 and more

By the end of the course, participants should be able to fully understand the workflow process of a consumer-level 3D printer, be able to navigate typical 3D model databases, be aware of the different materials available for 3D printing and be familiar with real-world 3D printing case studies.

Introduction to 3D Printing 1241 will be offered Feb. 6 through March 3, April 3 through April 28 and June 5 through June 30!

If you are interested in signing up for this or other courses offered by the University of West Alabama Online’s Continuing Education program, visit!


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