Review: Coursera “3D Printing Applications”

I found the other Coursera course on 3D printing it is called “3D Printing Applications”. It is fact the second in the series between “The 3D printing revolution” and “3D printing software” both of which I have already taken. The course is summarised in the introduction:

  • “This course will help you understand how 3D printing is being applied across a number of domains, including design, manufacturing, and retailing.”

Like the other two courses it is several years old – probably made in 2014/5. I didn’t find the content engaging and so only skimmed the content. For me this course didn’t introduce anything new, but for someone who was really new to 3D printing it could provide some inspiration.

I do feel Illinois should review their 3D printing courses and at least introduce some new material, as this is a quickly developing area.

Review: Coursera “3D Printing Software”

At the start of the year I took an introductory MOOC from Coursera on 3D Printing. I decided it was now time to follow up this with learning about “3D Printing Software” – it turns out this course is third in the series – I will have to go back and find out what the second is.

The course is divided into 6 weeks:

  1. Course Orientation and Design Sketching for 3D printing
  2. Tinkercad
  3. Basic Fusion 360
  4. Advanced Fusion 360
  5. 3D Scanning
  6. Course Conclusion

The first week took us through learning a software package “Sketch Book”, I am not totally sure how this fits in with the rest of the course

The second week introduced us to a free web-based software package called Tinkercad, we were directed to follow lessons in the software. i really liked these lessons and they gave me ideas of things to make.

The third and fourth week concentrated on Fusion 360 – a paid for software – I can access this via my university but if I wanted to use it outside education it costs and I am not sure it would be value for money for my purposes. All the videos seemed to be the lecturer showing how to use the software – I suspect it within these videos there is a link to sketching introduced in Week 1. But I wasn’t prepared to spend hours watching some software I am not sure I want to learn.

The week on 3D scanning was interesting with the range of ways to scan included using mobile phone cameras. Unfortunately the mobile software they chose to use was discontinued 2.5 years ago and so the option most readily available to me was left as a footnote listing possible mobile phone software they hadn’t tried.

All in all it was a well presented and taught me stuff I don’t know. But I feel if this was a course I had a hand in I would want to update it.

Review: Coursera “The 3D Printing Revolution”

I have known about 3D printing for a long time, and we had one at the University but I never had call to use it. Last year my son and daughter-in-law bought one, primarily for Gem’s Concrete Gems. I was mulling over challenges for 2019 and I thought learning to use 3D printing software would be something challenging and potentially useful. I had a look at courses on offer and Coursera’s “The 3D Printing Revolution” came up as good place to start. This was a short course (nominally 2 weeks – 12 hours) and started immediately. When I was first involved in MOOCs I thought short courses, without a fixed start date were a bad idea, but the world has changed and this suited me!

The course was in 3 parts:

  1. Orientation
  2. Module 1: What Is 3D Printing?
  3. Module 2: Why Is It Revolutionary?

The Orientation, indicated the course wasn’t very social with only 12 responses, but then I wasn’t here to be social.

Module 1 introduced me to a lot of the jargon and different ways in which 3 D printing is actually realised. My main take away point from this week is that 3D printing in additive as opposed to traditional to the subtractive approach of traditional manufacturing, Mapping this to my everyday life knitting is additive, with items made layer upon layer, only using the yarn needed. Whereas dressmaking is subtractive, with the pieces needed cut out and then joined, the material cut away is discarded.

Module 2 had lots of examples of the uses of 3D printing. I was only auditing the course so wasn’t intending to do any assignments. But the Week 2 peer reviewed project was to look at Thingiverse and to find something to remix, and remix it. I hunted around and found something I liked and remixed. I then asked Gemma to print it for me, the print wasn’t successful as my object fell off its raft! And so outside the course I was introduced to the world of Cura. After a second attempt, this time with supports, and a bit more work I had a usable crochet hook! This exercise really got me hooked on thinking what I could design and print.

My 3D printed crochet hook

All in all this was an excellent course. I would recommend it to anyone wanting an introduction to the potential of 3D printing. My only gripes are minor:

  1. The course was produced in 2015 (I think) it would benefit from an update – especially when talking about what might happen in the next 5 years.
  2. Some of the inline questions/polls were a bit leading.