PrintLab

User Guide

Welcome to PrintLab! In this resource, we'll be providing you with some guidance to help you get started on your 3D printing journey. Let's begin by looking at the structure of our platform

If you're new to 3D design and 3D printing, we recommend participating in the following introduction pathway, which features 4 skill-building mini-courses

Here are our most popular beginner projects, which are perfect for beginner/intermediate users. Beginner projects focus on introducing you to 3D printing for iterative design, customisation and meaningful applications

Here are a selection of our most popular advanced projects, which focus on open-ended designs that positively impact the world. Advanced projects incorporate design-thinking and human-centered design principles

We look forward to supporting your design journey and we'd love to keep in touch!

We built PrintLab as a flexible toolkit of projects that you can pick and choose from to build your own learning pathway. We focus on key themes that have a positive impact on the world, which include assistive technology, the circular economy, STEM, manufacuring, architecture and more. The majority of our projects (excluding skill-building mini courses) have a similar structure, which is explained below.

 

 

1. Context: Projects generally begin by providing you with context about a certain topic, before the design challenge is introduced. This might come in the form of explainer videos and industry stories, as well as example design solutions that give you new knowledge and inspiration.

2. Skills: Before you embark on your creative design journey, you’ll participate in design tutorials that provide you with the necessary technical skills to bring your own unique creations to life. Projects generally come with 3D design tutorials in Tinkercad and Fusion 360 (both free for education and personal use) – allowing you to pick which software to use.

3. Design Methods: With your new knowledge, inspiration and skills in place, you’ll then be provided with guidance in developing a unique solution to the design challenge. Example resources include design-thinking templates and videos that provide instructions on performing creative design methods.

*Please note that some projects may vary and not follow the exact structure outlined above*

 

The basics of 3D printing

1. Intro to 3D Printing

Gain a thorough understanding of the 3D printing process and industry with the Intro to 3D Printing course. The course involves reading and viewing digital 3D models that explain 10 key 3D printing concepts.

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Designing in Tinkercad for 3D printing

2. Intro to 3D Design

Learn the fundamentals of 3D design in Tinkercad software in this step-by-step short course. Alternatively, if you're looking to use a more advanced software package, take on the Intro to Fusion 360 course.

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An overhang model for testing your 3D printer

3. Designing for 3D Printing

The Designing for 3D Printing course is a series of videos that teach you how to design 3D models that are 3D printable. Examples of both good and bad practice are highlighted throughout each section.

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excessive stringing on a 3D printed model

4. Slicing for 3D Printing

The Slicing for 3D Printing course is a series of videos about optimising the settings in your slicing software to achieve the best quality 3D prints. Tips are general and can be applied to most slicing software packages.

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a spinning top designed in Tinkercad software

Spinning Tops

Learn about angular momentum, friction and more before designing your own spinning top. The aim is to optimise the design to make the top spin for as long as possible.

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A 3D printed bag holder clipped on to a table

Quick Clips

Learn how to turn 2D sketches into 3D models to make clip accessories for the classroom, home or office.

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A render of a balloon powered dragster designing in Fusion 360

Balloon Dragsters

Learn about forces, motion and Newton's Third Law before designing and 3D printing a balloon powered dragster. The aim is to optimise the design to make the dragster travel as far as possible in a straight line.

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3d printed tactile matching game for people with visual impairments

Tactile Games

Learn how to design and make a 3D printed tactile game for an individual or group of individuals who have visual impairments.

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3D printed assistive devices that help people with various disabilities

Assistive Device Academy

Learn about assistive technology before designing and 3D printing a range of devices to help people with disabilities

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a hands-free handle design to limit the spread of viruses such as covid-19

Pandemic Products

Learn about virus transmission before designing solutions to limit their spread on hard surfaces

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An upcycled plastic milk bottle turned into a pen holder

Upcycling

Learn about upcycling waste materials for a circular economy before designing your own products

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Ergonomic Transformations

Learn how to transform an off-the-shelf product into an ergonomic solution customised for an individual

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Support

If you require any support or simply want to have a chat, feel free to get in touch!

Contact PrintLab

Sharing

If you're active on social media, we'd love to see images/videos of how you're using PrintLab and the designs you come up with. Tag @weareprintlab for the chance to be featured on our channels!

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