There is no doubt that the academic discipline has inducted 3D printing or additive manufacturing as a whole new science and art worthy of independent study. But what may come as a surprise to some people is the thought of the kinds of 3d printing courses out there. And no, we’re not talking about the plethora of techniques and methods people have developed from their garage experiments. We’re talking about the different ways /outlooks that you can take for receiving this kind of education. For that we, at 3DPrintingPrices.net decided to categorize the kinds of courses available to the user base and/or newbie-aficionado populous looking to explore this field as either a hobby or a profession. Read on for more information on what we think are the potential (and most promising) ways of staying up to date with what’s happening in the 3D printing world.
Web-based tutorial series
Have you ever visited a website to learn about something specific? Perhaps not a discipline but certainly a skill such as developing MVC applications with PHP. If you have then, (and chances are that you have) then you’ve been involved in web-based tutorial series where the focus of the website is divided so as to focus on different student/disciple paths while covering everything possible in the said context. The content is placed in sections clearly labeling the skill or material/subject matter that the content will be covering with help provided often in the form of notes, video snippets, screenshots, and case scenarios.
- Independent of many logistical constraints
- Requires being connected to the internet
- One-on-one or specialized training is often priced and exclusive to corporate
YouTube is a good example, if you’re thinking of examples, because literally any how-to video can be found on YouTube. Better than all the rest is the one option of multiple uploads over the same thing with each user presenting a new way of doing the same thing. If that’s not enough the numerous comments below the videos always help with details and other kinks that may be usually invisible or easily ignored. The diversity of the content coupled with the diversity of the subject matter makes YouTube or any other tube based tutorial video series one significant and healthy source of training and guidance.
- Diversity of content can mean ease of accessibility
- Multiple sources of feedback, validation
- Often requires internet for streaming, downloading is priced
- On general tube-video sites, diversity of content can also be overwhelming
Online courses are perhaps the best option for those living far away from university campuses or simply people who don’t want to be bothered with the campus-based activities of student life. Also, for those who can actually sit and focus enough to study in a self-regulated and disciplined manner, this can be a great option which will ultimately allow one to pursue a career or other hobby with the saved time and effort of studying from home. As said before, diversity and accessibility are both a criteria and often the most important factor in what option is best for you. With simply being online, you have diversity at your fingertips. Accessibility however can come for a price. This compiled version of subject matter and guidance is obviously only available through an enrolment or association hence can come at a pretty steep cost, almost the same as a campus program of the same credentials. But with such courses the developments in the industry and the community’s exchange of information is always a win-win for everyone involved.
- Guided and specific in approach to material
- Web-based, custom profiles for each user/student for evaluation
- Free/demo/trial material will be specific, payment for complete access
- There are very few physical resources to turn to when help is needed
Online or campus based, universities offer degrees, certifications, and diplomas for all things 3D. You can go through a huge list of schools to choose from with each varying in its level of specialization and industrial exposure/influence. Each school will have something different to offer and most importantly will be your placement departments. These departments or officers are people responsible for keeping an eye on when you are about to complete your studies so they can help you land jobs and start your careers the right way. These programs, apart from these extra features offer you the opportunity to interact with people who are seriously involved with the discipline. This in turn leads to a greater understanding as well as brainstorming sessions worth the energy input.
- Discipline specific community
- Industrial exposure/influence/penetration
- Mostly campus based
Support & Management
ShapeWays and Instructables are names synonymous with 3D printing. These two services were started as small time projects and quickly attracted huge user bases, leading up to the establishment of franchises. Where ShapeWays offers 3D printing services, Instructables teaches you the basics of 3D printing (and also designing for 3D printing). But the thing that interests us the most are the training these companies now have to offer. ShapeWays actually offers courses in technical support for 3D printing (or designing) where as Instructables has a community which religiously responds to the training and experimental material that the site receives as user’s feedback and input. The two mentioned have their own style of communication and like the rest offer a vast amount of information on how to prepare models for printing, optimizing models for printing settings amongst other things. These certifications and trainings might not help you get on the design team for the new Mercedes’ luxury make but will definitely land you at the back of the scenes where the real magic is done.
- This kind of education is unavailable with other options
- The people delivering this information have literally “written the book” on these practices
- Technical/back-end job/careers
- Has very little to do with actual designing in practical life
We can see how 3D printing has evolved. It’s growth was unexpected and unprecedented, but undoubtedly phenomenal hence the large number of options for exploring your career and academic options. Think about these choices clearly, with some of the options making it possible for you to check them out for a while before pausing them (for continuing later or comparing with another option) or dropping it completely.