Free weekly introduction to 3D printing and training in 3D design

Last week The 3D printing industry has welcomed new 3D printer manufacturers and owners to the world of 3D printing. If you were lucky enough to get a 3D printer for Christmas, or are just planning to buy one for the New Year, there are a growing number of free 3D printing training options.

I visited the iMakr store in London this week to meet new designers and see how people are getting their start with 3D printing at this long-running event.

Store manager Julien De Muyter welcomed around 40 visitors to the central London store for the first training event of 2017. The a free event takes place every Tuesday and is organized via MeetUp.

Free introduction to 3D printing at iMakr. Photo by Michael Petch.

There is also a 3D design training event taking place on Thursdays, those interested should also register via MeetUp in advance.

Learn the basics of 3D printing

A show of hands by attendees indicates that only one person in tonight’s group has previous experience with 3D printing. Unsurprisingly, the questions abound as Julien presents the basic principles of 3D printing and the variety of technologies that fall under this generic term.

Using a 3D printed fish, Julien explained the fundamental differences between the options for creating a 3D model. The store manager describes how 3D modeling using software such as ZBrush is more suitable for organic shapes, while parametric design software, for example Fusion 360, is more commonly used for making mechanical designs.

3D printed fish model from 3D printing training at iMakr London.  Photo by Michael Petch
3D printed fish model from 3D printing training at iMakr London. Photo by Michael Petch

Organic 3D design

Of course, it is possible to combine both organic 3D design and mechanical functionality. A point that Julien illustrates with a 3D printed figurine. As Julien walks the group through the different steps of creating a 3D print, he gives examples of the different possibilities. A series of 3D prints circulate around the room and with each new material and model, the public becomes more aware of the possibilities that 3D printing can offer.

A wall of MakerBot Replicator 2 at the iMakr store.  Photo by Michael Petch.
A wall of MakerBot Replicator 2 at the iMakr store. Photo by Michael Petch.

As someone who writes about 3D printing on a daily basis, it is possible to forget that people outside of this world are still not as familiar with this technology as regular readers of the 3D printing industry. It was great to see so many people getting their first taste of the 3D printing industry.

Free 3D printing training at iMakr London.  Photo by Michael Petch
Free 3D printing training at iMakr London. Photo by Michael Petch

If you want attend a free 3D printing class or 3D design event, you can register here.

Featured image shows Julien De Muyter explaining the role of supports in 3D printing. All photos by Michael Petch.