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University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

3D Printing Hardware

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign via Coursera


This course will provide an in-depth exploration of desktop 3D printing hardware. It will examine the history of desktop 3D printing and demonstrate how 3D printers are made and how they work. This course will also provide step-by-step instructions for how to use and repair a 3D printer. It will also explore the different types of materials that can be 3D printed and will demonstrate how you can create various objects using these tools and materials. Learners who complete this course will be able to successfully operate, repair, and upgrade a 3D printer. In addition, learners who enroll in the course certificate will be able to purchase a desktop 3D printer at a discounted price (provided by Ultimaker).

If you enjoy this business course and are interested in an MBA, consider applying to the iMBA, a flexible, fully-accredited online MBA at an incredibly competitive price offered by the University of Illinois. For more information, please see the Resource page in this course and


  • Course Orientation & Module 1 Origins of Desktop 3D Printing
    • In this welcome module, you will become familiar with the course, your classmates, and our learning environment.

      In module 1, you will learn about “desktop” 3D printing as opposed to any other sort of 3D printing. You’ll learn this and more by exploring the history behind the creation of desktop 3D printers, overviews of the different types of desktop 3D printers, expose a few of the common misconceptions about them, and explore where you might gain access to them for yourself, including details to help you make an informed decision about the class of desktop 3D printer hardware that suits your specific needs and budget.
  • Module 2: Exploring Desktop 3D Printing Hardware - Control and Mechanical Systems
    • From a distance, the process of 3D printing looks like magic. Step closer and see how all of the core systems and components work together to fabricate real physical objects from digital design files. We make our first of two excursions “under the hood“ to look at the core systems and components that together and in parallel bring function to 3D printers.
  • Module 3: Exploring Desktop 3D Printing Hardware: Materials and Extrusion System
    • Now that we have an understanding of the controls and motion system. Let’s take a closer look at the extrusion process and what makes 3D printer filament so special. Let’s learn about the materials and processing that they go through when being printed.
  • Module 4: Preparing Designs and Jobs for Desktop 3D Printing & Printing Services
    • Now that you have looked closely at the fundamental physical systems and components involved with how desktop 3D printers function, and how they can be operated in “normal” situations, it is time to explore the processes involved with preparing digital objects and creating the job files (G-Code, or variant) that will drive the fabrication process.
  • Module 5: Operating Desktop 3D Printer Hardware: Preparing to Print
    • Okay, you’ve taken a broad view of desktop machines in the context of the history of 3D printers, very close view of the specific components and systems underneath the hood, and have crossed back-and-forth across the virtual-physical divide -- now it is time to spend some time seeing what it is like to use them!
  • Module 6: Operating Desktop 3D Printer Hardware: Printing and What Follows
    • In the final module we will then wrap up our exploration of operating desktop 3D printing hardware, covering the moment you hit print to fabricate a part, through to the stages that follow. We’ll wrap up the course with a section highlighting approaches to technical support, troubleshooting, and preventative maintenance, as long as some recommendations for common tools, mods, and add-ons we hope to help you on your own 3D printer experiences that will follow.

Taught by

Matthew Griffin


5.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

4.1 rating at Coursera based on 98 ratings

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