Current Challenge in 3D Printing
3D printing is now being adopted in all types of industries and the number of applications is on the rise. Industries like aviation & aerospace, mobility, defense, oil & gas, fashion, footwear, food, and many others are now actively incorporating the technology. This only means that as the adoption increases, the need for skilled manpower will also grow.
Today, finding the right talent is a huge challenge in front of companies. Companies have to hire people from other industries and spend time and effort on training these candidates in the technology. This is a tiring process and it puts investment in the candidate even before he/she starts working for the organization which is not desirable.
But as the adoption grows, more and more institutes and companies will engage in offering formal education, training, and hands-on courses to fulfill the requirement and it will become easier to learn 3D printing. In time, it will be just like any other industry where the skilled manpower is more than the available jobs.
Why a Non-Skilled Candidate is Undesirable?
As mentioned earlier, 3D printing technology is seeping into every industry. It is finding new applications in various sectors and a whole lot of companies are exploring options to incorporate the technology in all of their verticals.
Time & Effort
Companies are currently satisfying their hiring requirements by hiring candidates from similar fields and training them in 3D printing technology. While this may seem like a standard course of action, but the organization has to invest a lot of time and effort in the candidate upfront. This time and effort come at a cost which is something that not all organizations are willing to spend. It has been observed that not all candidates are eager to learn new technologies in the later stages of their career and so either do not grasp the technology or switch soon after the training period increasing the cost to the company. And so, this is highly undesirable to most companies.
Additive manufacturing is principally quite different from traditional manufacturing technologies and so it is not possible to assimilate a new candidate working in traditional manufacturing space for a long time to change his understanding of how things are manufactured. The fundamentals of additive and subtractive processes are poles apart and thus switching to the new principles is difficult for new learners of the technology.
If the candidate does not grasp the fundamentals of additive manufacturing, then he/she will not do justice to the technology and the job at hand.
No Alternative to Skilled Manpower
Since the product development and manufacturing process in additive manufacturing is different than traditional processes, the senior management has to take a lot of critical decisions based on this knowledge. While the domain knowledge of the sector like aerospace or automotive or even healthcare is important, there is no alternative to a candidate skilled in additive manufacturing technology. There is no alternative to an employee with a formal education in technology. He will be an asset and can make decisions faster and better than others.
Trial & Error Methodology
The additive manufacturing technology is not completely developed and a lot of activities or projects are still conducted as trial and error. Companies are still learning and qualifying technologies, machines, materials, software, processes and post-processes, and even applications. There are a lot of moving parts and so the employee has to be quick on his feet and highly knowledgeable about the technology. The decision-maker must be highly skilled to successfully execute new projects and so it becomes all the more difficult for companies to hire a candidate who isn’t already received a formal education in the technology.
3D printing technology is being continuously innovated. New technologies, machines, and materials are evolving and so the decision-maker has to be well-informed about the latest developments so he can take full advantage of the technology. Without being nimble, he will always fall behind hampering the company’s competitive position in the market.
Setting up processes
As mentioned earlier, the technology is new and is ever-evolving so it is a given that the manufacturing processes may be flexible and slight changes are to be expected. Sometimes the changes may not work and so they will have to be reversed or modified to be better. The decision-maker will have to set up new processes unless he finds the perfect fit for his organization. This can be daunting for most employees and so if the technology is new the candidate may be detrimental to the entire production process and so hampering the company.
Learning 3D Printing is Important
By now, you must have understood that it is a no-brainer that companies desire employees who have a fundamental knowledge of 3D printing technology. This understanding can only come from a formal education from reputed educational institutes, or top companies delivering such training courses or hands-on training through 3D printing education companies.
The very least a candidate seeking employment in the 3D printing industry can do is complete any type of course, either online or in-person. It is getting all the more crucial that the candidate seeking employment in the 3D printing industry has fundamental knowledge of the technology.
Courses to Learn 3D Printing
Below we will explore the various courses to learn 3D printing available for all types of users from school students to experienced professionals.
Schools all across the world are incorporating STEM instruction into their curriculum, and 3D printing is an important component of that. Educators worldwide must now embrace 3D printing to harness the technology to improve educational delivery. To accomplish this, educators must first learn 3D printing to apply its principles to everyday subjects such as mathematics and physics.
First, the educators themselves must learn the fundamentals of 3D printing either on their own or through the initiative of management. This is precisely what MakerBot Education can help with. It offers a multitude of tools to help teachers, whether they are new to 3D printing or have familiarity with the technology. The only disadvantage is that the resources only work with their 3D printers and supplies.
MakerBot offers two kinds of certification programs – For Students and Educators:
The MakerBot Certification Program is an online training program that gives middle school and high school students a proven edge with hands-on design thinking and 3D printing skills training. It includes content developed by design education professionals and 3D printing experts. Students learn the fundamentals of 3D printing and 3D design and develop their creativity, design thinking, and problem-solving skills. Students gain confidence in operating a MakerBot 3D printer, applying learned skills to real-world applications, making strategic design decisions, and applying advanced 3D printing skills to build high-quality prototypes.
The certification modules include 3D printer operator, Design thinking, Applied Design Thinking, and Design for 3D Printing
The MakerBot Educator Program is a network of outstanding educators who employ 3D printing technology in innovative and inspirational ways. These are the teachers who work hard to push the frontiers of educational possibilities by incorporating new and creative technologies into the classroom, such as 3D printing. We gather opinions of such inspiring educators on our new products, take help in creating high-quality educational content and identify excellent projects and works completed in the classroom.
Tinkerine U Platform
Tinkerine provides self-paced courses curated and delivered by 3D printing experts. Tinkering has made learning 3D printing easier by breaking down the courses into bite-sized videos that may easily fit into any hectic schedule. The progress is automatically saved, so, even if any video is left off mid-way, it can be picked up where it was left off.
The courses target all types of users from students, makers, entrepreneurs, and small businesses. A few courses are already up and running while many are being developed and will be uploaded soon. Some of the courses cover topics such as Intro to Additive Manufacturing, Learn Tinkercad, Intro to Onshape, Reverse Engineering, etc. It is interesting to note that a few courses are offered for free. Learning 3D printing could not be any easier.
Learn by Layers
Learn By Layers is a UK-based startup that creates a 3D printing curriculum to assist educators in gaining access to high-quality educational resources. Instructors can now learn 3D printing and understand how 3D printing works, how to teach the technology to their pupils, and what works with children.
In addition to the 3D printing curriculum, Learn by Layers also provides CAD Lessons, coding lessons that go into coding for 3D printing, and courses on specialized design applications such as Onshape and Fusion360. The courses are available not just for schools but also for homeschooled students.
Users can also have a look at a few free classes to get a sense of how the courses work.
PrintLab, also a UK-based Startup, aims to teach educators through online 3D printing lesson plans. The lesson plans are available for purchase by educators, schools, and even parents. PrintLab Classroom is a web-based platform that combines 3D printing lesson plans with a recognized teacher training course. The program is tied to a variety of standards across several topic areas and encourages students to create assistive technology, reusable packaging prototypes, hands-free virus remedies, and other projects.
The PrintLab team is always developing and publishing new and fascinating lesson plans so that kids can stay up to date on technology and its capabilities. It is now available in over five languages globally, including Spanish, Dutch, and Polish.
For new customers who want to see how the lesson plans work before deciding whether or not to buy, the company offers a 7-day free trial.
Clarkson College offers a certificate in ‘Medical 3D Printing Specialist' for qualified radiologic technologists who want to utilize 3D printing technology in the health care area. The course aims to provide students with an understanding of the 3D printing process as well as the ability to apply that knowledge to improve patient care. To be eligible for the course, radiologic technologists must have at least six months of experience in an advanced modality, such as CT, MR, CI, VI, or DMS, or have completed an externship in one of these modalities, or be a health science professional in an applicable discipline.
The certificate program will teach students the principles of making 3D printed models and will allow them to use numerous advanced theories and concepts in the creation of 3D medical prints. Advanced 3D printing technology enables physicians to create comprehensive anatomical models from computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), angiography, and ultrasound pictures. These models can be utilized to help minimize surgical time, enhance surgical preparation, reduce fluoroscopy time, cut patient costs, and boost patient education and interprofessional collaboration, all of which will lead to better patient outcomes.
University of Wollongong
The University of Wollongong's Graduate Certificate in Biofabrication is a hands-on online course designed for professionals working in science, health, engineering, and technology, as well as those interested in pursuing a career in biofabrication.
The course covers the fundamentals of biofabrication through case studies of clinical applications such as 3D Printing Ears, Islet Cells, Cornea, and Brain-on-a-Bench. Students will be able to build practical and technical abilities that will allow them to 3D print products and post-process them at UOW's ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science.
This is an excellent opportunity to study the principles of biofabrication from world-class UOW researchers and teachers. Being an online course, students can learn at their own pace and comfort their home/office. According to the institution, full-time employed postgraduates earn 13% more within three years after graduation.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is one of the first universities in the world to offer courses in additive manufacturing. It provides both online and offline courses in 3D printing. This prestigious university offers a 5-day course that focuses on the fundamentals of 3D printing, provides insight into the many technologies utilized, materials involved, and teaches you how to run various types of 3D printers. Another 12-week course focusing on the consequences, applications, and principles of printing for manufacturing and design is Additive Manufacturing for Innovative Design and Production.
The online course was created with manufacturing, design, and engineering professionals in mind from industries that would be influenced by AM-enabled products, tools, and business models in mind. The training is also appropriate for individuals who are already utilizing AM in an engineering context or those who are in charge of adopting AM in their organizations.
The course participants gain the vocabulary needed to navigate the complex, multivariate world of additive manufacturing equipment, materials, and applications. The 12-week online course provides professionals with hands-on training on how the technology works, in addition to academic understanding. For example, finishes with an in-depth case study in which professionals use AM expertise to solve real-world design or business strategy difficulties.
The Additive Manufacturing Certification course, offered by Purdue University in collaboration with Barnes Global Advisors, aims to provide training with a clear focus on the 3D printing market and AM technology, as well as insights on essential Additive Manufacturing skills that can be directly applied to projects.
The self-paced course is available for three types of students: For Engineers and Managers, For Executives, and Honors. The three levels have different curriculum structure but mainly includes Additive Manufacturing Essentials, AM Technology, and AM Materials. Depending on the level, courses like AM Design and AM Business Economics are applicable.
For anyone interested in learning 3D printing from a reputed institute, this course is perfect.
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University offers provides a two-semester full-time Master of Science in Additive Manufacturing degree program (MSAM). The course offers practical approaches for a better knowledge of Additive Manufacturing technologies, providing hands-on experience with modifying, manufacturing parts, and designing with the use of current AM technology.
The Ohio State University
The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Ohio State University provides an additive manufacturing course. The University offers five courses, namely, Introduction to Additive Manufacturing, Additive Manufacturing for Bio-Medical Devices, Design for Additive Manufacturing, Additive Manufacturing Computational Modeling, and Design and Science and Engineering Foundations of AM. To complete the AM course, students must select any four of the five courses.
Penn State University
The Penn Penn State World Campus provides an online course in Master of Engineering in Additive Manufacturing and Design (AMD). This course is offered in conjunction with Penn State's College of Engineering and the School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs. This 30-credit course examines the role of additive manufacturing in altering several industries. It also teaches you how to use additive manufacturing technology and how to apply it in various sectors.
Ultimaker 3D Printing Academy
Ultimaker, one of the leading desktop 3D printer manufacturers, has produced online courses listed under Ultimaker 3D Printing Academy. These courses are for businesses to train their employees to ensure that the organization is maximizing the use of 3D printing technology. The courses are interesting in that they are role-specific, allowing individual employees to build deep knowledge, skillsets, and competence in a given subject. Among the prominent roles are:
- Application Engineer – The student will learn to identify high-value applications and drive innovation in the organization.
- Operator – The student will study the fundamentals of Ultimaker 3D printing, such as workspace setup and hardware maintenance.
- IT Admin – The student will learn to ensure a stable adoption of Ultimaker solutions in an enterprise IT infrastructure, for a smooth transition into 3D printing technology.
However, not everyone has access to these classes, therefore Ultimaker has established two routes to the 3D Printing Academy.
1. Access to the Ultimaker Academy is included in all Ultimaker software plans. More user seats and courses will be accessible based on the subscription level.
2. If the user possesses an Ultimaker 3D printer, he can register it on the website and gain access to a free onboarding course that covers setup and operating.
According to Ultimaker, the various skill levels in the courses will enable a student to level up from a beginner to an expert where he/she can overcome complex challenges and enable the organization to scale the technology.
Leapfrog 3D printers is a Dutch maker of professional 3D printers with an emphasis on education. The company has developed several 3D printing classes, the majority of which are free, to help newcomers learn about this fascinating technology. The courses are sold in packages that include 3D printers and materials. Their products are perfectly designed and developed for the classroom. The Bolt 3D printer is ideal for classroom use because it has a limited build capacity and a filter for clean air emission. On its website, Leapfrog also provides a variety of free 3D printing lesson ideas.
Markforged, a leading additive manufacturing platform for manufacturing and factory floors, provides a comprehensive training program for modern manufacturing. Markforged University is a multi-day certification program for engineers and managers that accelerates mastery of Markforged Composite and Metal 3D printing technology, allowing businesses to maximize their investment and assure successful adoption.
The course can be accessed in three ways:
Learn Online – Upskill the workforce from the ease of an eLearning platform.
At Your Location – Markforged experienced trainers will travel to the user's location to give a company-specific training curriculum to engineers, managers, and other employees.
At Markforged – Candidates can join the Markforged team in Watertown, Massachusetts, for intensive in-person training with skilled Markforged University faculty.
Tooling U-SME has been training manufacturing workforces for 90 years, gaining unrivaled knowledge in developing dependable training solutions. Tooling U-SME has designed a comprehensive workforce development additive manufacturing training program for a variety of additive manufacturing topics such as design, safety, and production.
Their training solutions include Online Classes, Instructor-Led Training, Certifications, Turnkey Training, and Learning Services.
Tooling U-SME curates training solutions based on the applicant, whether an individual, a high school CTE program, a college class or certificate program or a group of employees.
Trimech is an engineering firm that provides a variety of end-users with professional design and fast prototyping solutions. With extensive knowledge and skill in 3D printing technology, the company also provides professional 3D printer training courses on a variety of equipment, applications, and technologies such as FDM, PolyJet, SLA, and SLS.
Trimech offers nine 3D printer courses that can be taken online, in-person, or on-site. 3D printing fundamentals, Design for Additive Manufacturing, PolyJet machine training, and other classes are among those offered.
ASTM, the international standards body, offers professional certificate programs such as the AM Personnel Certificate Program, which are intended to address the high demand for qualified labor to support the rapid implementation of AM technology. These certificate programs are designed to close the AM knowledge gap by providing world-class training from industry professionals to provide the future AM workforce with highly valued technical capabilities.
ASTM offers two types of Personnel certificate programs: The General AM course which provides a thorough understanding of all aspects of AM technology, and the Role-based course that assists in the development of skill sets for specialized AM professions such as Designer, Application Engineer, and Quality Engineer.
Coursera is one of the most reputed massive open online course providers. Aside from a diverse range of courses, Coursera offers The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign course on 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing Specialization. For knowledge seekers who do not find time to attend in-person courses, this is the perfect way to learn 3D printing from the comfort of their workspace.
Through a series of four cohesive courses and one hands-on capstone course, this specialization course will introduce students to the world of 3D printing. This course creates a unique blend of academics and industry knowledge through partnerships with industry leaders such as Ultimaker and Autodesk.
The final course, which includes a capstone project, allows students to turn their ideas into reality by applying the skills they learned in previous courses.
This Specialization includes the following five courses:
The 3D Printing Revolution: This course will cover topics such as understanding how 3D printers work, their applications, the 3D printing ecosystem, and the technology's future.
3D Printing Applications: This course will delve deeply into the applications of 3D printing in a variety of domains such as design, manufacturing, and retailing. This course will also give you an overview of design thinking and how to use it to develop ideas that can be turned into objects.
3D Printing Software: As the name implies, this course will cover the technology's software aspects. It will teach students how to use software such as Tinkercad and Fusion 360 to create digital designs that can be turned into physical objects. It will also include some reverse engineering using 3D scanners.
3D Printing Hardware: This course will take you on an in-depth tour of desktop 3D printing hardware. From the history of 3D printing and how it evolved, to how it is made and how it works. This course will also teach you how to use and repair a 3D printer in detail. This course will also cover the various materials in use and how to select materials based on your applications.
3D Printing Capstone: Finally, the capstone course will integrate the learning from the previous four courses, allowing students to use the skills to turn their ideas into a product in a step-by-step process. The designed product can also be 3D printable through Shapeways, Coursera’s corporate partner.
edX is a Harvard and MIT-created American massive open online course provider. In collaboration with MITx, it offers a 12-week Fundamentals of Manufacturing Processes course that teaches how products are manufactured, the various manufacturing processes, and how to turn designs into finished products, among other things. This free course is perfect for anyone interested in manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing is covered in the sixth week of the course. Here, students will learn about the spectrum of additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, their key applications, and the reasons for their rapid growth and significance this week. The emphasis will be on three of the most common AM processes: FDM/FFF (Fused Deposition Modeling/Fused Filament Fabrication), SLA (Stereolithography), and SLM (Silicon Laser Melting) (Selective Laser Melting)
Udemy provides by far the most comprehensive library of online courses on a wide range of topics. It also offers a series of 3D printing classes. These are largely connected to design and the fundamentals of 3D printing and are conducted by individuals rather than companies or large institutes, but still, some of these courses are truly valuable. Udemy offers both free and paid courses, however, because Udemy routinely runs discounts on courses, even paid courses are available at enormous 50-90 percent discounts.
Designing for 3D Printing with Fusion 360 is one of the most popular 3D printing courses on Udemy. It is provided by Vladmir Mariano (a designer and 3D fabricator), who has already taught over 10,000 pupils how to design for 3D printing. This is an excellent resource for anyone interested in 3D printing design. Learning 3D printing was never so accessible as Udemy has made possible.
Many similar courses on designing for 3D printing with Blender, Tinkercad, and other software packages are available. Udemy also has other courses on topics such as the fundamentals of 3D printing, 3D printer programming, building a 3D printer, and so on.
Autodesk, the software giant, is known to every engineer and product manager. They have a vast stream of design software applications that enable product designing. Besides developing path-breaking software packages, Autodesk also has a course platform called Autodesk Design Academy. This is a great resource for all types of users (from beginners to experts) to learn various software, aspects of designing, and fundamentals of designing.
This platform also offers a variety of courses on Autodesk 3D printing software applications such as Fusion 360, Revit, and others.
Users can find a suitable course by using appropriate filters and browsing through multiple courses.
Barnes Global Advisor
Barnes Global Advisors is a leading independent AM engineering consulting firm that assists businesses in expanding their operations. They offer several courses that cover different aspects of additive manufacturing. Designing for AM is a course that covers topics such as AM Technology & Materials, Design for AM, and AM Business Case Economics to teach working knowledge of the technology. It's a four-module, 20-hour certificate course that can be taken in person or online.
The firm also offers two specialized courses in addition to this core course:
Powder Production: This course focuses on metal powder production and how the manufacturing process affects powder behavior, as well as how to characterize powder and write a successful specification.
CT for Process Development: This course covers Computed Tomography (CT), how it works, and how to apply it to powder selection, determining the best AM technology for your application, and designing and manufacturing CT parts.
Radiological Society of North America
The RSNA 3D Printing Course is a highly specific course offered intermittently. Dates are given far in advance, and the next session is now scheduled for April 2022 in Chicago, USA. It is a three-day workshop that focuses on therapeutic applications of 3D printing for a wide range of subspecialties. Attendees discover how 3D printing might help their organizations advance medical treatment.
The learning objectives of the course include understanding the fundamentals of 3D printing technology, the obstacles and prospects for 3D printing in hospitals, how to set up a 3D printing lab, current clinical uses of 3D printing processes, and the quality and value of medical 3D printing (quality assurance, CPT coding, billing, etc.).
EDDM is a Spanish educational institution that delivers a variety of courses making learning 3D printing much easy. One such course is a specialized one in Biomedical 3D Printing. This comprehensive 1-month/50-hour on-site training course is designed for experts who want to understand and master 3D printing for biomedical applications.
It focuses on the application of 3D printing in the medical sector through the integration of medicine and engineering. It also covers topics ranging from the creation of medical images to the various applications of the generated models, whether physical or virtual, such as surgical assistance via 3D printing.
Design, simulation, and 3D manufacturing for biomedical bone and tissue engineering supports for bio models, preoperative surgical planning, and anatomical replicas are among the most recent medical applications presented in the course.
EDDM also offers 3D printing specialized courses such as Product Design for 3D Printing, Structural Analysis for 3D Printing, and Metal 3D Printing.