The Replicator 3D printer from MakerBot.
The Replicator 3D printer from MakerBot.

As many builders and architects realize, real world applications for 3D printing are growing at an incredible pace. What was once the domain of select engineers and designers is now impacting consumer, commercial, and industrial markets--it's even for sale at Home Depot. But, it can be confusing to those not familiar with the technology, its processes, and applications.

A new online course from UL is geared to those new to or with an interest in this innovative technology. "Foundations of 3D Printing" is an interactive four-module course that presents comprehensive introductory knowledge of the 3D printing industry. Covering terms and definitions, software and hardware as well as discussing applications and case studies, participants will begin to understand the benefits of 3D printing in a way that is relevant to today's business needs:

Module 1. “Introduction to 3D Printing” provides a background of 3D printing, related terminology, a review of the seven unique 3D printing processes and basic applications. 

Module 2, “3D Printing Hardware & Software” explores the various software and hardware required for 3D printing. The module introduces computer-aided design, scanning and repair software as well as tiers of 3D printers, features and selection criteria considerations.

Module 3, “The 3D Printing Process” presents the four phases of the 3D printing process (digital file creation, preparation for printing, printing, post processing) in detail via a simulated case study. This module also begins to discuss quality and safety considerations specific to 3D printing. 

Module 4, “Applications of 3D printing” discusses applications of the technology within the aerospace, automotive, healthcare and consumer industries. In addition, the module introduces the 3D printing supply chain, end user categorization, and final considerations for implementing a 3D printing strategy.

UL is offering the course for $249. It takes about 2 ½ hours (30 to 40 minutes per module) to complete.