This online course will teach you the fundamentals of how to CODE and 3D print, using scratch code blocks by TinkerCAD. TinkerCAD is used by over 20 million people around the world and is one of the easiest ways to create models for 3D printing. They have recently launched the TinkerCAD code blocks application which uses scratch CODE blocks to create 3D models.
The course is a fun and friendly way to learn the principles of CODE and how to 3D print. The instructor, Phil Cotton is a teacher and founder of learnbylayers and has taught in the classroom for over 10 years.
Included in the course are printable worksheets that can be used for self-study or for homeschooling children. These are the same printable worksheets that form part of the teacher curriculum from learnbylayers.
The course structure will take you through 6 lessons split into bitesize mini-tutorials and a final end of course assessment and certificate;
Lesson 1. 3D printing and where they are used in society and the benefits they bring.
In this lesson, you will learn the basics of how 3D printers work. The important parts of the machine will be explained and a basic overview of how they work. The main focus of the lesson details where 3D printers are being used in society and the advantages they bring to our every day lives. Interesting topics are covered including the use of the technology in medicine, veterinary care, movie production, construction, and sports. By the end of the lesson, you will have a firm understanding of where 3D printers are being used.
Lesson 2. The 3D printing process – how the technology works.
This lesson focuses on how the technology works. Topics covered include the different stages to creating a 3d printed model e.g. designing the model, slicing the model, and then 3D printing the model. Also, the study of X,Y and Z coordinates and how they relate to the movement of a 3D printer is covered along with different examples of 3D models that can be printed. A basic overview of slicing is covered, along with layer height and infill. (This is covered in details in a ‘slicing master class in lesson 6). Finally, technical terminology such as CAD and CAM are briefly explained.
Lesson 3. The basics of CODE and how to create basic 3D models using scratch CODE blocks.
In this lesson, the basics of design and coding are covered and a breakdown of how to use TinkerCAD code blocks is taught through a series of step by step tutorials. Important factors such as X,Y and Z axis are covered and how coding relates to this. There are multiple video tutorials using the software that build your skills in coding 3D models with scratch code blocks. Tasks are steadily built up with easy to follow tutorials that will teach you the basics of coding models for 3D printing. In this lesson, there are 3 coding video tutorials.
Lesson 4. How to create more challenging 3D models using CODE skills.
During this lesson, you will learn how to apply the basic coding skills to create more challenging models. The focus of this lesson is using repeat patterns and tessellations to create visually impressive, easy to print models using code. The basic code skills learned in lesson 3 are developed further to a higher level with easy to follow tutorials. More challenging code blocks such as adding ‘variables’ to sequences of code and using ‘repeat’ code blocks are covered, allowing you to code impressive designs for 3D printing. In this lesson, there are 6 different coding video tutorials.
Lesson 5. Applying your CODE skills to a series of CODING challenges.
This is a ‘code challenge’ lesson, where you are tasked to demonstrate your coding skills learned during the previous lessons. The lesson starts with a mini-tutorial on how to create repeat patterns in 3D, building on lesson 4. Then the main challenges are explained and demonstrated in with extensive video tutorials. The challenges are differentiated into Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinium levels, with each challenge getting progressively more difficult. All code challenges come with printable worksheets with the example code sequences listed on them. By the end of the lesson, you will know how to code multiple different models for use around the house. In this lesson, there are 6 coding video tutorials.
Lesson 6. How to prepare 3D models for 3D printing and the different types of materials 3D printers use.
This lesson focuses on a ‘masterclass’ on how to prepare the 3D models for printing using CURA slicing software. The video tutorial takes you through layer height, density, scale, print speed, nozzle size, support structure, and print analysis. This will allow you to set the correct settings for your model and check your print will work before sending it to the 3D printer. CURA is free to download and is the most widely used software for slicing models for 3D printing. By the end of the lesson, you will be completely confident that your prints will be sliced the correct way for successful 3D printing. Also in the lesson is the study of different materials used in 3D printing and the differences between PLA and ABS.
Lesson 7. An end of course assessment.
During the assessment, there are a series of questions that will test your knowledge on everything that you have learned during the last 6 lessons. Questions will be based upon all the learning topics and are followed by an end of course assessment.
By the end of the course, you will be confident in creating 3D models from CODE and be able to understand the basics of 3D printing enabling you to confidently create models to print.