3D Printing Applications

About this course: This course will help you understand how 3D printing is being applied across a number of domains, including design, manufacturing, and retailing. It will also demonstrate the special capabilities of 3D printing such as customization, self-assembly, and the ability to print complex objects. In addition to business applications, this course will also examine how individuals, including those in developing countries, are using this technology to create solutions to the problems they face. This course will also provide an overview of design thinking and how you can use this framework to develop ideas that can be turned into objects. Learners who complete this course will obtain a rich understanding of the capabilities of 3D printing and how to think about designing objects for this new technology.

Who is this class for: This course is meant for anyone interested in learning more about 3D printing applications and does not require any background in the field. It will be useful for learners of all ages, students, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and corporations.

Created by:  University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Vishal Sachdev
    Taught by:  Vishal Sachdev, Director, Illinois MakerLab
    Business Administration
Basic Info
Course 2 of 5 in the 3D Printing Specialization.
Commitment4 weeks of study, 3-4 hours/week
How To PassPass all graded assignments to complete the course.
User Ratings
Average User Rating 4.4See what learners said
Course Orientation
You will become familiar with the course, your classmates, and our learning environment. The orientation will also gives you an overview of the entire course. 
1 video5 readings
  1. Video: Welcome to 3D Printing Applications
  2. Reading: Syllabus
  3. Reading: About the Discussion Forums
  4. Reading: Glossary
  5. Reading: Updating Your Profile
  6. Discussion Prompt: Getting to Know Your Classmates
  7. Reading: Social Media
Module 1: 3D Printing – A New Way of Making
In this module, we continue the discussion from the first course with Aric Rindfleisch, and explore further the reasons why 3D printing is considered a paradigm shift and a revolutionary change. We will hear from people working in the field, from academics, venture capitalists, and even lawyers. We will focus mostly on accessible desktop 3D printing but will look at applications across a spectrum of 3D printing technologies.
10 videos5 readings
  1. Reading: Module 1 Overview
  2. Video: A New Way of Making
  3. Reading: Module 1 Readings
  4. Video: Complexity Is Free
  5. Video: 3D Printing: A Paradigm Shift
  6. Video: A Look into the Past and the Future
  7. Video: 3D Printing Use Cases
  8. Video: A Venture Capitalist's View of the Industry
  9. Video: A View from the Trenches
  10. Discussion Prompt: 3D Printing Industry Trends Discussion
  11. Video: Cutting Edge Applications
  12. Video: Bioprinting
  13. Discussion Prompt: 3D Printing – On the Edge Discussion
  14. Video: Webinar- 3d Printing with Soft Materials(Bonus)
  15. Reading: Webinar- Whats the Hype around 3dPrinting
  16. Reading: Webinar-What's all the hype around 3d printing
  17. Reading: Webinar- 3d Printing Comes of Age
Graded: Module 1 Graded Quiz
Graded: Module 1 Peer Review Assignment
Module 2: 3D Printing – On-Demand Manufacturing
In this module, we will discuss examples of how 3D printing enhances product customization as well as the development of on-demand manufacturing. We will look at how individuals, entrepreneurs, and businesses can leverage the ecosystem to turn ideas into objects. Finally, we will consider the importance of intellectual property issues in 3D printing.
8 videos2 readings
  1. Reading: Module 2 Overview
  2. Video: On-Demand Manufacturing
  3. Reading: Module 2 Readings
  4. Video: A Market of One – 3D Hubs
  5. Video: A Market of a Few
  6. Video: On Demand and Local – TechShop
  7. Video: Learning by Making and Making for Fun at the Fab Lab
  8. Video: For Businesses and Entrepreneurs
  9. Video: Careers in 3D Printing
  10. Discussion Prompt: Everyone Can Be a Maker – Discussion
  11. Video: 3D Printing and the Future (or Demise) of Intellectual Property
  12. Discussion Prompt: 3D Printing and IP Discussion: Does IP Matter?
Graded: Module 2 Graded Quiz
Graded: Module 2 Peer Review Assignment
Module 3: 3D Printing for Development and Education
In this module, we will consider the role of 3D printing in revolutionizing education and the role it can play in development in underserved communities in both developing and developed countries.  
9 videos2 readings
  1. Reading: Module 3 Overview
  2. Video: 3D Printing in Development and Education
  3. Reading: Module 3 Readings
  4. Video: 3D Printing and Subsistence Marketplaces
  5. Video: Illinois Marketplace and Maker Literacy Program
  6. Video: From Trash to Objects
  7. Video: Enabling the Future
  8. Video: A Step Up with Bionic Hands
  9. Video: 3D4D with TechforTrade
  10. Discussion Prompt: 3D Printing for Development – Discussion
  11. Video: 3D Printing in Education
  12. Video: Girls in STEM: MakerGirls
  13. Discussion Prompt: 3D Printing in Education – Discussion
Graded: Module 3 Graded Quiz
Graded: Module 3 Peer Review Assignment
Module 4: From Ideas to Objects
The previous three modules have given you an overview of a wide variety of applications of 3D printing. In addition, if you work through the assessments and participate in the discussions, you will see the immense variety of applications shared by your peers. Before you start developing the skills in software and hardware, let's take a look at the process that will help you convert the problems/needs you see around you into potential ideas and, finally, into objects.
7 videos2 readings
  1. Reading: Module 4 Overview
  2. Video: An Intro to Design Thinking
  3. Reading: Module 4 Readings
  4. Video: What is Design Thinking?
  5. Video: Understanding User Needs
  6. Video: 3D Printing and Design Thinking
  7. Video: Utensil Grip Personalization
  8. Video: MultiPLY
  9. Video: City X Project
  10. Discussion Prompt: Design Thinking Discussion
Graded: Module 4 Graded Quiz
Graded: Module 4 Peer Review Assignment
Course Wrap Up
This brief module contains a course summary, previews the next course in our 3D printing specialization, and provides you with the opportunity to share your thoughts about your experience in this course. 
1 video
  1. Video: Whats Next?
  2. Discussion Prompt: Your Reflections about the Course
How It Works
Each course is like an interactive textbook, featuring pre-recorded videos, quizzes and projects.
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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a world leader in research, teaching and public engagement, distinguished by the breadth of its programs, broad academic excellence, and internationally renowned faculty and alumni. Illinois serves the world by creating knowledge, preparing students for lives of impact, and finding solutions to critical societal needs.

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