If you want to learn how to model and print out 3D objects, in this guide, we’ve listed some of the best 3D printing classes/courses, tutorials, and books to help you get started.
While 3D printing is as trendy of an emerging tech as it was 4-5 years ago, the technology is changing the world as we know it (see How 3D Printing is Changing the World) and it still has a ton of potential to change it further. In fact, according to the Wohlers Report 2019, 3D printing is forecasted to be a $35.6 Billion industry by 2024. Needless to say, the industry is growing rapidly and that means a lot of opportunities for anyone who understands how 3D printers work.
So, in this guide, we’ve put together a list of a bunch of resources to help you get started in learning 3D printing. We’ve compiled some of the best 3D printing classes/courses, books, and tutorials that will help get you up to speed.
I. The Best 3D Printing Classes/Courses
If you’re looking for an introductory 3D printing class, or a course that will give you some hands-on 3D printing experience (you’ll need a 3D printer of course) or tutorials in 3D modeling, the options below will help you get up and running.
Length: 4 Hours
If you’re looking for an introductory course that will explain what 3D printing is and a bit of how it works, Designing for 3D Printing with Fusion 360 probably isn’t for you. However, if you want a hands-on look at how to create 3D models that are 3D-printing-friendly, then this course is what you need.
Taught by Vladimir Mariano and offered through Udemy, this course consists of four hours of on-demand video. The course will walk you through how to design ten different products with Audtodesk Fusion 360 that are both functional and practical, and that can be printed with a 3D printer.
So, if you’re not just interested in the 3D printing aspect of the industry, but in the 3D modeling side of things as well, this course is a good place to get some hands-on experience.
Length: 23 Hours
Price: Free or $79 for cert.
The Univeristy of Illinois offers a few different 3D printing courses via Coursera, but their 3D Printing Software course is more hands-on, where the other two (listed below) are more introductory type courses that cover the basics of what 3D printing is and how it is used.
This course is estimated to take about 23 hours to complete and it consists of five diferent modules and covers design sketching, how to use Tinkercad and Fusion 360 for creating printable models, and touches on 3D scanning.
The course is completely free to take through Coursera, but you can pay $79 to get a certificate after you have completed the course.
Length: 59 Hours
Complete Blender Creator: Learn 3D Modelling for Beginners is another course that focuses more on 3D modeling than it does on 3D printing specifically. However, it is a great course to learn 3D modeling, which is perhaps the most important skill you can develop if you want to pursue a career in 3D printing.
The course has a ton of content as it contains over 59 hours of video tutorials spread across 14 different topics. The course focuses on using Blender to create 3D models and will teach you Blender’s interface and how to create 3D models, as well as touch on other subjects like animation and using Blender’s physics engine.
The course is only $9.99 and it has been taken by over 150,000 students and has received an average 4.6 out of 5 star rating.
Length: 17 Hours
Price: Free or $79 for cert.
Another University of Illinois 3D printing course, 3D Printing Applications is a good place to start for beginners who are looking for a look at what 3D printing is capable of. This course goes over how 3D printing is being used across a variety of industries, including manufacturing, retail, and design.
The course consists of four different sections and it is estimated to take about 17 hours to complete. The course is free to take, but you can pay $79 to receive a certification upon completion.
Length: 2 Hours
If you’re looking for a simple 3D modeling tutorial that will help give you some hands-on experience creating printable 3D objects, the 3D Printing Quickstart with SketchUp Make is a good class to take.
The course isn’t as extensive as some of the other options on this list, with only 2 hours of video content. However, if you’re looking for a good primer on creating 3D objects that can be printed out, this course does just that in a quick and straight-forward manner.
Length: 12 Hours
Price:Free or $59 for cert.
Complete beginners to 3D printing might want to start with The 3D Printing Revolution from the University of Illinois offered through Coursera. This course will not only cover the basics of how 3D printers work, but it also lays the foundation for the potential that 3D printing offers.
The course will take about 12 hours to complete and it is free to audit. And, like most Coursera courses, you can pay to get a certificate upon completion. (This course costs $59 for the certificate.)
Length: 2 Hours
Fusion 360 for 3D Printing – Designing with Components is another Fusion 360-focused course from Vladimir Mariano that will help teach you 3D modeling. This course has about 2 hours of video content spread across 8 different sections and is considered to be the sequel to the Designing for 3D Printing with Fusion 360 course listed above.
The follow-up course costs $9.99, has been taken by nearly 1,000 students, and has received an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
II. The Best 3D Printing Tutorials on YouTube
The classes and courses listed above are a great way to get a solid understanding of 3D printing. However, if you’re looking for some 3D printing tutorials that will bring you up to speed quickly, the following videos on YouTube should do the trick.
1. The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to 3D Printing (3D Now)
2. Learn to 3D Print || Learn Quick (Mike Boyd)
4. 3D Printing 101 (Maker’s Muse)
III. The Best 3D Printing Books
If you’d rather check out some books on 3D printing, the options listed below will serve as a nice place to start.
If you believe that the best way to learn something is by doing it, then 3D Printing Projects by DK is probably the book for you. You’ll need a 3D printer to follow along with this book, of course, but it comes with a bunch of step-by-step 3D printing projects that will help you learn what the technology is all about. So, if you want a hands-on introduction to 3D printing, pickup this book (and a budget-friendly 3D printer if you don’t have one already.)
by Clifford T Smyth
Functional Design for 3D Printing: Designing 3D Printed Things for Everyday Use by Clifford T Smyth is another great 3D printing book. This book covers many different aspects of 3D printing, including what materials you can print in, how to design a 3D object that is suitable for printing, the limitations of 3D printing, the importance of support structures, and plenty more. While this book can be picked up by beginners, it is a bit more in-depth than some of the other options on this list.
by Liza Wallach Kloski
If you’re looking for an absolute beginners book to 3D printing, you might want to try Make’s Getting Started with 3D Printing by Liza Wallach Kloski and Nick Kloski. The book starts with a nice explanation of what 3D printing is, how it’s currently being used, and the makers who are driving the technology forward. The middles sections of the book cover the hardware side of 3D printers as well as offer some tutorials to help you get started. Overall, this is a great book for beginners who want more than just a quick overview of what 3D printing can do.
by Lydia Sloan Cline
Fusion 360 for Makers: Design Your Own Digital Models for 3D Printing and CNC Fabrication by Lydia Sloan Cline will introduce you to designing your own 3D models through Fusion 360 for 3D printing and CNC fabrication. The book contains tutorials to help you understand Autodesk’s Fusion 360 software, as well as a number of projects to help you drive home the lessons taught in the book.
by Samuel N. Bernier
Another option for those of you who are looking to get into creating 3D models that can be printed is Design for 3D Printing: Scanning, Creating, Editing, Remixing, and Making in Three Dimensions by Samuel N. Bernier. Like the book listed above, this book will introduce you to the fundamentals behind designing your own 3D models.
If you’re looking to get into 3D printing and you’re not sure where to start, this guide has a bunch of different resources to help you out. Whether you’re looking for an in-depth 3D printing class, some hands-on step-by-step tutorials, or a book that will introduce you to the technology, one of more of the options listed above should work for you.