3D Printing Curriculum

Teach a 3D Printing Course

Prepare your students for careers being reshaped by 3D printing technology. By combining in-depth lectures and class discussions with exciting hands-on projects, your students will gain the theoretical and practical knowledge they need to wield this transformative technology in the real world.

Download 3D Printing Curriculum from Stratasys today!

Introduction to 3D Printing

The next industrial revolution is all about personal fabrication, and it’s happening now. 3D printing is poised to unlock the potential in every student to create, innovate and fabricate. Stratasys Education has designed free downloadable 3D printing curriculum that will prepare students for their future careers.

Students can begin their careers equipped with practical 3D printing experience and a critical eye for the technology’s advantages and limitations.

Upon course completion, students will be able to:

  • Produce a fully functional moving part in a single print
  • Explain current and emerging 3D printing applications in the manufacturing field
  • Understand the advantages and limitations of each 3D printing technology
  • Evaluate scenarios and recommend the appropriate use of 3D printing technology
  • Identify opportunities to apply 3D printing technology for time and cost savings

Recommended Course Structure

This course is structured as a 14-week course with weekly class meetings. We recommend that each meeting take 4-6 hours. Alternatively, the weekly meetings can be split into 2 weekly lecture hours and 2-4 weekly lab hours.

The course is built in a modular fashion so you can focus on topics that cater to your students’ interests and fit within your yearly curriculum plan. We recommend that you start each course by adhering to the first four weeks of the course structure and add units and assignments as needed.

TIMEFRAME: 14 weeks (full semester)

WEEKLY HOURS: 4-6 weekly hours, consisting of: 2 lecture hours and 4 lab hours

WEEKLY MEETINGS: Each weekly meeting can be taught in one continuous 4-6 hour meeting, or can be split into two separate weekly meetings: one for the lecture (theory) and one for the lab work (hands on).

MODULAR UNIITS: The course consists of 14 units, one per week. However, to support varied student interests, five additional units are also available. The instructor can mix and match the units as desired. However, we recommend the instructor adhere to the first four weeks of the course structure.

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.

Topics Covered:

  • Course Overview
  • Historical Review
  • From CAD to CAM
  • CAD Overview
  • Final Project Example
  • Final Project Proposals

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.

Topics Covered:

  • 3D Printing Overview
  • 3D Printing Technology
  • Intro to 3D Modeling
  • Meet the 3D Printer
  • Final Project Proposals

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.

Topics Covered:

  • What is Mesh?
  • Moving from 2D to 3D
  • Advanced CAD Commands
  • Making by Sharing

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.

Topics Covered:

  • CAM Skills
  • Mesh Repair
  • Get to Know the 3D Printer
  • Weekly Assignment

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.

Topics Covered:

  • Gear Systems
  • Case Study
  • Designed Gears in CAD
  • Weekly Assignment

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.

Topics Covered:

  • Kinematic Models
  • Case Study
  • Redesigning 3D Raster Gear Systems in 3D
  • Weekly Assignment

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.

Topics Covered:

  • Dynamic Surfaces
  • Material Behavior
  • Nesting
  • Dynamic Surfaces and Chains
  • Resolution, Tolerance and Support Material
  • Weekly Assignment

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.

Topics Covered:

  • Case Study Analysis
  • Future of Fabrication
  • Case Study Assignment
  • Weekly Assignment

Unit 9: Midterm Exam+

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

Topics Covered:

  • Midterm Exam
  • Student Case Studies
  • Final Project

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

Topics Covered:

  • 4D Printing
  • Student Case Studies
  • Final Project Re-Examinations

Unit 11: Parametric Design+

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

Topics Covered:

  • Parametric Design
  • Student Case Studies
  • Final Project Revision

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.

Topics Covered:

  • Student Case Studies
  • Final Project Printing

Unit 13: 3D Printing and Testing+

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

Topics Covered:

  • Student Case Studies
  • Final Project Printing

Unit 14: Final Presentations and Demonstrations

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

Topics Covered:

  • Student Case Studies
  • Final Project Presentations
  • Final Exam

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.

Topics Covered:

  • Sound Waves and 3D Printing
  • Two-Week Assignment

Unit B: Fluid Dynamics+

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

Topics Covered:

  • 3D Printing and Fluid Dynamics

Unit C: Post Processing+

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

Topics Covered:

  • Post-Processing
  • In-Class Work
  • Assignment

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.

Topics Covered:

  • Factory of Tomorrow
  • Weekly Assignment

Unit E: Field Trip+

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

Topics Covered:

  • Visit Local Workshop

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.

Topics Covered:

  • Hazardous Waste
  • Weekly Assignment