Well, it’s no surprise you landed on this article.
When I started 3D printing in 2016, I was just as uncertain. I remember the moment as clear as day. I had been considering 3D printing for a few months and finally, on a whim, decided to buy an Anet A8. This was the kind of rash purchase you make on your iPhone (or Samsung – lol) and then wonder if you just made a mistake.
Have you ever felt like that? Uneasy, but hopeful.
Well, needless to say, my experience with 3D printing was very challenging at first. There’s a definite learning curve to working with 3D printer kits. But, if you want to learn the in’s and out’s of 3D printing, the best way is to build a 3D printer from scratch, slice up some models, and start printing.
A course can expedite the process of learning these skills.
So rather than three months of frustration, it might be three weeks. However, a course won’t replace the hands-on skills and experience you gain by building projects with a 3D printer.
In this article, we’ll share our findings of popular 3D printing courses from websites like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, and Udemy. Then we’ll talk about how to get printer-specific information and training through vendor and manufacturer websites.
By the end of this guide, you should have a good idea as to which 3D printing courses you should take, and how to get started with your 3D printer.
Ready to see what we found?
Why you should take a 3D printing Course
There are a handful of reasons why you should take a 3D printing course, and if you’re reading this article, you probably fall into one of these cases.
3D printing courses are for:
- Hobbyists new to 3D printing;
- Engineers and professionals looking to understand additive manufacturing; and,
- Educators introducing 3D printing to their classrooms.
Even if you’re not looking to own a 3D printer, and won’t be hands-on with slicing files, and post-processing, you may want to learn more about the high-level 3D printing process.
If you just bought a 3D printer, you might be feeling overwhelmed about how to get the printer assembled, powered, and working. Topics like bed leveling and Z-height might seem foreign. That’s why finding a good 3D printer course, tutorial, or startup guide can help.
3D Printing Courses on Coursera
These courses are best suited for engineers and working professionals who are looking to get a better understanding of what 3D printing is and the 3D printing process.
I wouldn’t recommend taking these courses if you just bought a 3D printer kit and want to learn how to get it assembled. Courses on Coursera tend to be more strategic than tactical. So, if you want to get a holistic understanding of 3D printing (or want credentials to show off), then taking 3D printing courses on Coursera makes sense.
Each of these 3D printing courses is beginner-level and taught by the University of Illinois. Expect to spend 5-6 weeks per course working through the material. You can enroll in each course separately or through Coursera Plus.
Let’s learn more about each of these courses and how they can benefit your 3D printing journey.
3D Printing Applications (Coursera)
This month-long beginner course will help you understand how 3D printing is applied in design, retail, education, and manufacturing.
While you won’t be hands-on with a 3D printer, you will gain insight into the 3D printing market and how to think like a designer.
3D Printing Revolution (Coursera)
Learn how 3D printers work and what you can make with 3D printers. Then familiarize yourself with the 3D printing ecosystem and how they are revolutionary to the modern economy.
3D Printing Hardware (Coursera)
Learn about the history of 3D printing and the components that make a 3D printer. In this course, you’ll learn how to build and repair 3D printers. The course also promotes a discount on Ultimaker printers if you enroll in the paid course.
I’m not sure to what extent the Ultimaker discount covers, or if it’s even worth the $79 price to receive the discount. It could be something to investigate further if you’re interested in hands-on work with 3D printers.
3D Printing Software (Coursera)
Learn how to design objects using 3D modeling software including Tinkercad, Fusion 360, and Sketchbook, and Sketchfab.
By the end of the course, you’ll have an understanding of how to design a wide variety of objects for hobby and professional projects.
Plus, if you’re looking for a beginner to an advanced course on Fusion 360, this is a great formal option.
3D Printing Capstone (Coursera)
Finally, the last of the 3D printing courses by the University of Illinois is a Capstone project. I don’t think this course is entirely useful unless you don’t have access to a 3D printer.
If you do have a 3D printer, skip this course, and go directly to making 3D models (and printing them out yourself). Instead of spending $79 towards the certificate, use that money towards a 3D printer!
But, if you’re interested in learning more about the capstone (or want a certificate to show that you’ve completed the series), you can enroll in the course here.
3D Printing Courses Lynda/LinkedIn LearningLinkedIn Learning is a great place to find short courses on very niche topics. These courses are carefully curated and are designed for working professionals. Once you finish a course, you can add the credential directly to your LinkedIn profile.
If you’re looking for a way to learn 3D printing concepts without going through homework assignments and quizzes, then LinkedIn Learning is a great option.
Master Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing: LinkedIn Learning
The first option is a six-course Learning Path on LinkedIn Learning. The Master Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing include 10-hours of video lessons to familiarize you with the basics of 3D printing.
By the end of the Learning Path, you’ll understand how to design CAD models and prepare them for 3D printing. This is a great option if your goal is to learn 3D printing and principals of Additive Manufacturing over a weekend.
Learn more about the Master Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing Learning Path, here.
Learning 3D Printing: LinkedIn Learning
This is a 1-hour and 16-minute crash course on 3D printing course designed for intermediate-level individuals.
Expect to learn about what you can make with 3D printers, how to design 3D models and use 3D scanners, and how to create watertight 3D designs. You’ll also gain insight into fixing corrupt 3D files and how to export CAD files for 3D printers.
If you’re looking to fill your lunch hour or an afternoon of professional development, then this could be a good course to add to your list.
Learn more about the Learning 3D Printing course, here.
Courses for Specific 3D Printer Models
You can go directly to the manufacturer’s website and look for courses, manuals, and training for your 3D printer. Some manufactures have free resources, while others make you purchase the curriculum. Also, the quality of the training materials will vary vastly between manufacturers.
For this reason, I’ve listed some popular 3D printer models and where to find reference materials and online 3D printing courses.
At a very high level, 3D printing processes are very similar regardless of the 3D printer you use. If you’re using a 3D printer kit, like the Anet A8, then you’ll have some additional assembly and calibration time to factor in.
However, the actual steps you’ll take to 3D print a component pretty much regardless of whether you’re using an Anet A8 or an Ultimaker S5.
Anet A8 Resources
The Anet website has some resources, but they’re not overly comprehensive. I recommend following the assembly instructions and YouTube Videos.
I also put together a 3D printing article for the Anet A8, which you can read here. There’s not a whole lot of resources for getting your 3D printer up and running, except for going through the process yourself and troubleshooting along the way.
Visit the Ultimaker website for support and reference guides. There’s a pretty thorough “Tips and Tricks” page for Ultimaker printers. I recommend using this page as a guide if you’re setting up a new Ultimaker printer.
MakerBot & Stratasys Courses
MakerBot has a great selection of courses and curriculum for Educators. Unfortunately, they don’t have courses or an academy for regular customers just looking for resources on 3D printing. I recommend searching through their support pages if you have particular issues or need help getting started.
Stratasys has an online academy for Stratasys customers. If your company currently owns Stratasys printers, then you may want to request access to their online portal.
Prusa Resources and Courses
Your best bet is to go directly to the Prusa website and look through their knowledge base and forums. Once your printer is assembled, grab a copy of their Basics of 3D Printing eBook and start reading.
And, if you can’t find a course on exactly what you’re looking for, there’s always YouTube.
Expedite your 3D printer knowledge with Online Courses
It’s no secret that 3D printing is a game-changer for schools, manufacturing plants, and hobbyists.
With a shorter lead time and a lower cost of entry, it’s no wonder that makers, teachers, and engineers want to break into the world of 3D printing.
Regardless of whether you’re looking to start a 3D printing hobby or add 3D printing to your factory floor, online 3D printing courses can reduce the learning curve, and make 3D printing more fun and enjoyable.
Which of these courses are you planning to take? What kind of 3D printers have you used? Let us know in the comments below!
And, good luck on your 3D printing journey!
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