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The best free 3D printing online courses

3D printing can be a quite complicated concept to grasp. To help people get a better understanding of the basics of 3D printing and its general principles, there are many online courses about 3D printing available for all. These online courses, trainings and MOOCs about 3D printing can be very useful resources.

3D printing is indeed getting more and more popular. Also known as additive manufacturing, 3D printing is a technology gaining a lot of traction not only in the makers community but also as a rapid prototyping or production technique across many industries. Often presented as an industrial revolution, 3D printing remains a blurry concept to many.

How does 3D printing work? What can you print with a 3D printer? How to design a 3D model for 3D printing? If you’ve been asking yourself one of these questions, or if you are simply curious and eager to learn about 3D printing and 3D printers, then maybe it is time to go back to school. To be more accurate, go back to a virtual classroom!

We have selected for you some of the best free online 3D printing courses. These online classes, delivered via videos through specialized e-learning platforms, target all kind of 3D printing users, from beginners to advanced makers.

Whether you want to get a basic understanding of 3D printing or to hone your skills in 3D printer operations, there is a online 3D printing course for you!

Alison – How to use a 3D printer – FREE – 3 hours
This course is an introduction to the basics of 3D printing. The goal is to learn how to set up and use a 3D printer, using the example of the Printrbot Simple. This 3D printing online course also covers important topics such as how to prepare 3D models before 3D printing. A great introduction for entry-level users willing to get a clear understanding of what is 3D printing.

Udemy – 3D Printing Basics – FREE – 38 min
As the title says, this course will teach everything you need to know about 3D printing. if you’ve heard about 3D printing and would like to understand how 3D printing works and what you can actually print in 3D, this free 3D printing online course is made for you! You don’t need prior 3D printing experience to fully enjoy this class. In fact, it was designed for beginners so don’t expect to learn how to actually operate a 3D printer. The content will cover entry-level topics about 3D printing, how it works and what are the types of 3D printers available on the market for example.

SKILLSHARE – An easy start to your first 3D printing design – FREE – 1 hour
When thinking about 3D printing, most people will picture a desktop 3D printer magically building a 3D object out of thin air. But that’s forgetting a major part of the 3D printing process: getting a 3D model of the object you want to print in 3D! There are several ways to obtain this 3D model, from downloading an existing 3D file to scanning a real-life object using a 3D scanner… or designing yourself a 3D model using a 3D software! This online courses, taught by Shapeways’ designer evangelist Lauren Slowik, will take you through the basics of creating your first 3D design on your computer. The course also covers the final steps to make your 3D model come to life with a 3D printer. An excellent 3D design online course for beginners!

Lynda – Rapid prototyping for product design – FREE – 1.5 hours
3D printing is often used as a rapid prototyping technique. But what’s the actual process behind this concept? This online course will show you, through actual examples, how designers use 3D printing in a workshop to make concept come to life using 3D software and 3D printers among other things. Product designer Gabriel Corbett will take you to the differents steps of prototyping using 3D printing and share his experience and feedback on the best machines, tools and prototyping processes. A must if you’re intending to leverage 3D printing as a product development tool!

FutureLearn – Bioprinting – FREE – 2 hours x 4 weeks
If you’re reading this, you probably know that 3D printing is a great fabrication technique to create small plastic objects using a desktop 3D printer. But did you know that it will soon be possible to 3D print organs and human tissues? That technology is called bioprinting, and it’s a revolution in the making for the medical world. This online course, created by the University of Wollongong in Australia, aims at giving a comprehensive overview of the state of bioprinting and its potential evolutions for the decades to come. The class will start on July 4, 2016 and will run for 4 weeks. Don’t miss this occasion to get up speed on the mind-blowing potential of 3D bioprinting!

A few paid options of 3D printing online courses we found interesting:

Udemy – Advanced 3D Printing Techniques – $20 – 33 min
In this video by Eli Dvoskin, you will learn some useful advanced tips for 3D printing. From getting your 3D prints to stick to the printing bed to mastering the fine-tuning of your 3D printer settings, this class is targeted to experienced 3D printing users wishing to improve their skills. The video also contains some of the best tips and tricks to become a true master of 3D printing. We recommend this 3D printing online course only to users with solid hands-on 3D printing experience.

GetReady43D – Introduction to 3D printing – 29€ – 2 hours
The team behind GetReady43D aims making 3D printing accessible for all through education. Diogo Quental, a well-known member of the 3D printing community, and Nadia Yaakoubi have put together this course to teach you the fundamentals of 3D printing and its ecosystem, along with the business aspects of 3D printing.

Coursera – Specialization in 3D printing – from $59 per course
This one is a full Specialization from the e-learning platform Coursera, designed to get students “obtain the knowledge, skills, and tools to help [them] turn ideas into objects via 3D printing.” The syllabus for the online 3D printing course is the result of a collaboration between Illinois Makerlab, 3D software giant Autodesk and Dutch 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker. At $337 for the full package, it can be a bit expensive but certainly an investment to consider if you’re willing to take your 3D printing skills to the next level and get academic credit for it!


Do you know other online courses or training about 3D printing? Share them in the comments section below!

About this author

Martin Lansard

Martin Lansard is Aniwaa’s CEO and co-founder. Based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, he manages the team and operations while overseeing the company’s strategy and growth. Highly organized and methodical, he makes sure to infuse these qualities throughout the company. Martin studied Management at EDHEC Business School and Loyola Marymount University in California. In 2008, he joined Google in Ireland then moved to New York 2 years later to join the company’s Marketing department. After working for 5 years at the tech giant, Martin chose to dedicate himself full-time to Aniwaa.