An Introduction to 3D Printing

630 TUTOR: Nick Tatlock

On this course you will learn about the technology and processes involved in designing and creating simple 3D printed items using relatively inexpensive 3D printers and software. This informative and interesting course will cover a wide range of topics focussing primarily on the hobbyist and homemaker. By the end of the course, you will understand the components involved, what they do, how they work, the differences in the type of materials and software used to create and print. Whether you are considering getting started in 3D printing or just want to know more, then this course is for you.

1 AM
AM course

Course Notes

This course will cover a lot of topics which you feel it might be a little too technical for you but please don't worry as everything will be fully explained in the simplest of terms so that you understand the all the basic principles. The course is focussed on using relatively inexpensive 3D printers which are widely available. Like most modern-day technology, things can change and move forward quickly so unless there are any significant technological advances which I feel need including between the time when this course was put together the start of the course, the course content will remain as detailed. Should there have been any necessity to make any changes, they will be detailed at the start of the course.

A Laptop computer (Mac or Windows) would be useful as all course material and other information and filles will be loaded onto a USB stick/ SD card which will be provided, and you can take away with you. It is also recommended that you bring a computer mouse as it is easier to manipulate and use some of the software, we will be looking at using a mouse rather than an in-built track pad. Don't forget to bring your own laptop power supply / and batteries for mouse etc.

If you are unable to bring a laptop it will not be possible to provide you with one.

Notebook and pens/pencils will be provided.

As you will learn throughout the course, designing and printing an object can be quite time consuming. Depending of the size and complexity of the object, it can take anything from a few minutes to many hours or even days so in order to make best use of available time on the course, you will see a demonstration of the whole process. If time permits there may also be an opportunity for you to create a print a simple object or your own.

Weekly Schedule;


History of 3D printing

·How it all started to current technology.

Design of 3D Printers

·Differences in the types of 3D printer and their operation:

·Cartesian / Delta / CNC with -3D printer add-ons / Resin printers

Hardware and Software requirements covering both MAC and MS Windows

·To cover running a MAC with Bootcamp and MS Windows or Virtual PC (Parallels)

Buying a 3D printer

·Consider different options: Buying New/Used. Ready-made or build it yourself. Open-Source architecture. Typical Costs and Cost vs Quality

Round-up and questions


Components of a 3D printer

·What each component does:

Gantry / Box (enclosed) construction, Footprint (Physical size), Stepper Motors, Drive Belts and Tensioners, Build-Plate(Bed), Size of print area, Heated Beds and Bed Surfaces (smooth/textured), Filament adhesion to bed surface, Filament extrusion, Hot-ends, Heat-Breaks, Nozzles, System Boards and Firmware, Interfaces and Connections (SD Card, USB stick) USB socket (connected to PC), LAN (connected to network) Calibration / Self-test, Bed levelling, System Errors.

3D printer Filament

·Different types of filaments and typical use for each type.

Round-up and questions


3D model design and associated software

·CAD/CAM software used for the creation of 3D models. Review types available and relative merits of each; Freeware, Paid-for, Subscription service e.g Tinkercad, Freecad, Shapr3D, Fusion360

3D Printing File Types

·G Code, STL, etc. Using software to create own files ready for 3D printing

Round-up and questions


Production of an object / model ready for printing

·Walk-through of the whole process from start to finish

Preparation of a design for 3D printing using software- 'Slicing' and exporting files.

·'Slicing' your 3D model using software to get your model ready for the 3D printer.

·To include using ready-made files from various sources on the internet such as Thingiverse, Prusa, STL Finder etc. Will also include release conditions associated with files such as copyright and reverse engineering.

Printing an object or model- practical demonstration

·Live demonstration of 3D printer in operation printing a simple model

Round-up and questions


Options for remote operation, control and monitoring of 3D printer(s) using additional hardware and software

·When and how to keep it clean and what to check.

3D Printer General maintenance and cleaning

·Filament issues, Bed, Calibration, etc

Common 3D printing Issues and problems

·Raspberry pi with Octoprint or Repetier Server Operating Systems and associated Apps (IOS/Android) with connected webcam for real-time and time-lapse viewing and control

Options for selling 3D printed items on Etsy, Ebay, Facebook Market etc

·To include release conditions and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for third-party files. Estimation of cost of production using slicing software

Sources for 3D printing information

·YouTube, software, files, User Groups, Facebook, forums etc

 Final wash-up and questions

Course Tutor

Nick Tatlock

About Nick

I served a 27-year military career which included a variety of interesting, diverse and challenging roles of which the most exciting and fulfilling was spent as an army helicopter pilot and qualified helicopter instructor. Working with new technology and its interaction with people has always fascinated me, so upon leaving the services I embarked on a second career in Project Technical Management and Project Delivery for a variety of Defence Research and Equipment Procurement Programmes. I am always keen to embrace technology and learn new skills but also enjoy being able to teach others as well. I retired from full time employment 2 years ago but like to keep active through a variety of voluntary activities and hobbies. I enjoy travelling and getting out into the countryside especially on my electric mountain bike.

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 11 Jul - 15 Jul

WK 2 18 Jul - 22 Jul

WK 3 25 Jul - 29 Jul

WK 4 1 Aug - 5 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM