Think it, make it, sell it! 3D Printing for Fun and Profit!
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Think it, make it, sell it! 3D Printing for Fun and Profit!

3D Printing and Design for Art, Jewelry & Rapid Prototyping. Design 3D objects and earn extra income by selling online.
4.1 (21 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
506 students enrolled
Last updated 11/2014
Current price: $10 Original price: $25 Discount: 60% off
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  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 2 Articles
  • 6 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Design and build products in a variety of software systems that could be 3D printed using your own printer or online services.
  • Students will learn to rapid prototype objects and structures, then prepare files for professional printing, sale or mass production.
  • Participants will work on a variety of projects focusing on objects for art, functional design, jewelry, engineered products, industrial design and architecture.
  • Learn to build your own online store to sell your designs and make extra money.
  • Learn to design and build things in 3D
  • Review a variety of software titles and systems that are free or license-based. This course contains a variety of reviews and tutorials.
View Curriculum
  • Access to any or all of the following software titles: Blender 3D, TinkerCad, 123D Create, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, MakerWare, Cubify, and others as new options become available.
  • Access to download free software tools, or establish accounts online as needed
  • Working knowledge of internet browsers and computer applications
  • Persistent internet connection
  • General knowledge of design terminology is helpful but not required.
  • Access to a PayPal account for online sales (not required)

The world needs makers, builders and designers! Your ideas could really change the world. With some really cool ideas, a modification of some 'thing' that exists, or even a new spin on an old object, the world of rapid prototyping has opened doors for the everyday thinker/tinkerer to bring his or her ideas to market. Let me show you how to take your ideas, model them, prototype them, and sell them online!

In this course we will look at how to design and create real 3D printed objects and designs. The course material is based on the fastest developing trend in technology "3D Printing". If you have a natural curiosity for tinkering, building, or engineering your own designs, this is a course in bringing those designs to life, and to market!

The lectures in this course will provide you with the background knowledge you need to design in 3D covering skills like; modeling, meshing, extruding, rapid prototyping, 3D printing, and more. All of the materials in this course are based on developing real-world experience in designing printable products and selling them online.

*Even if you don't have access to your own personal 3D printer, I will show you several options to handle this small problem.*

You DO have options for getting your ideas printed for prototyping before they go to market!

The course is comprehensive in nature and starts with an overview of what 3D printing technology is, some of the leaders in this space, and how the process works. As the course progresses, students will see how simple ideas can quickly come to a design, and how those designs can be printed within hours. Further, I will show you how to create an online store and sales system for marketing and selling your ideas. A start to finish process of idea -> design -> prototype -> product for sale.

The course can be taken in small bits, and could easily be completed in a few days. If you stop to work through the projects, it could easily take up to two weeks. Move as you see fit through the projects based on your comfort and experience level.

The course is updated frequently as new projects, technologies and trends become available. Last updated October 14, 2014.

Who is the target audience?
  • Artists, artisans, designers, architects, engineers and tinkerers will all love the technology and trends in this course.
  • This course is designed as a basic entry level course in 3D design thinking and building.
  • The course also covers software for intermediate and advanced users willing to take their skills to the next level.
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
29 Lectures
The Latest and Greatest on 3D Printing
7 Lectures 11:53

Many of the lectures and projects in this course have links to external resources beyond the video tutorial or the lecture description. These resources are important for the course, and are you way to find out more, learn from someone else, sign up for a community, or download some free software. Each of the resources is available from the 'view resources' tab. If you aren't familiar with that, here's how to find it.

Keep in mind, the project files for this course, the samples, download links and more are typically contained within that panel.

DON'T MISS OUT!!! There are some real gems in there!

Preview 01:42

3D printing is a new way of thinking about manufacturing and producing 'things'. 3D printing is sometimes referred to as 'rapid prototyping', and i a way to take ideas for products, artistic designs, functional objects, and bring them into reality. 3D printing enables us to see what your objects will look like if they were going to be manufactured in the traditional sense, but without the expense or time investment.

This industry is growing by leaps and bounds, and you can get in on the action at any level. There are desktop printers available for reasonable prices, and materials for printing are also inexpensive.

For those that don't have the funds for their own printer, there are loads of other solutions to test and print your 'things' without making a major purchase - I'll show you how, and where to go!

The lectures through this course will introduce you to designing and building things in 3D, and then printing them. Many of the tools I'll show you here are free to download and use, and printing services I'll show you are very reasonable. Depending on the size of your models and the materials you choose to print in, prototyping and printing for fun can be very inexpensive.

So let's get going!

Preview 01:37

Take a look at this short viedeo on 3D modeling vocabulary. I would love to have made one on my own, but this one is so cool, why reinvent the wheel? Some of the key terms you will run into in this course include; extrude, revolve, scale, round and fillet, pattern, spline, vector, and more. Get started and get inspired, then move on...enjoy!

Preview 00:17

In this document, you will find some helpful resources to get your designs printed - without your own 3D printer. The world of design is available to anyone, using simple and complex design software, and now the fabrication and rapid prototyping community is available too! From your public library, to community colleges, to some consumer office supply retailers, to online print and ship companies, resources are available all the time for you to bring your ideas to market - quickly, cheaply, and efficiently. This document will change frequently, so please check back for further updates.

To stay in touch with what is happening, you can always visit the live version of this file as a web-based Google Doc called: "Where to go to 3D print - if you don't have a printer available" from 'external resources' attached to this lecture.

What if I don't have a 3D printer?
1 page

I have created a way for you to follow all the latest and greatest things happening in 3D printing. You can view, read, watch, and subscribe to my daily newsletter by following the link in external resources to my ezine called: 3D Printing and Design Magazine.

You can also follow me on Twitter @trendingedtech to get tweets, updates, pictures and videos about 3D design and printing.

Where can I learn more about this fast growing industry?

Thingiverse is a website by the Makerbot company. It is their version of a social network designed to be a place where artists and designers can showcase their work, and provide access to files other people can download and print. If you have come up with something cool that you think others would like to print, you can add your designs to the Thingiverse world. Create your own collections of objects, favorite objects and artists, download files for free and print your own cool 'things' from Thingiverse .

This short walkthrough takes a look at how to get started, where to go, how to upload your own things, and how to find other stuff to print on your own.

Once you have a collection of things to print, you can download the common .stl files, add them to your printer's software and print - it's just that easy.

Head over to and sign up to get all sorts of access to free, printable designs to help get you going in printing. Everything there is free to use and remix or share again.

Preview 07:47

3D Printing Strategy - The Question of In-Fill
5 pages

So far so good, let's make sure you are on track with a few simple questions...

Let's review the 3D printing basics!
3 questions
Software Systems to Use :: Tinkercad
6 Lectures 29:48

Here's a quick checklist of the things you should look out for, and try within your new and free account. If you don't try it - you can't learn it. Get in there and give it a whirl. Here's a few things to get you started. The next lecture will walk you through the account set up process. If you are good to go there, just skip to the building and modeling section. Build On!

Ready to Build? Let's start with Tinkercad
1 page

SO...let's get making! Head on over to Tinkercad and set up a free account. If you are not sure how, take a look at this quick tutorial with some tips to save you time and another username and password! Sign in with Twitter or Facebook and check it out!

Tinkercad Basics
02:49 is very easy to learn. Working through the basic tutorials on the site is an excellent way to get your feet wet in 3D systems. For students who have never worked in all three dimensions before, Tinkercad does a great job of teaching the basic approach. Remember, in 3D, you have to design for every view of an object. You can't just worry about left and right, top and bottom, now you have to pay attention to the front and back of your objects and scene too!

Use this lecture to walk through the basics, modeling, building projects, and getting started building your first customized objects.

Building and Modeling in Tinkercad

Here's a challenge for you - now that you know the basics behind using Tinkercad! Take me up on the 'how to design' challenge in this lecture - wont you? The challenge is to create a replica of the 'ball in the box' featured as the cover logo for this course...also shown here as a photograph. Are you up for it? Why don't you try it first, and if you get stuck, take a look at this lecture. Well, I would suggest you look at this lecture anyway - there are some great tips on modeling, and ultimately downloading the file you need for 3D printing - so have at it!

For speed, this ball in the box puzzle was printed at draft quality. Later on, I will show you how to increase and decrease the fill volume of objects you print for greater detail...

Preview 08:13

Ok fine, so maybe the ball in the box puzzle challenge wasn't to big of a deal for let's take it up a notch. What do you say to a red box and blue ball? How about a two color print using a single color printer? Can you figure it out? The classic ball in a box puzzle, done on a 3D printer. After you make prediction, take a look at the video segment attached to this lecture.

Level it UP! 2 Color Ball in Box Challenge!

So you have a design are ready to go. It is ready to be printed and prototyped. How do you get your design off of Tinkercad and into the printer software. Here, I take a look at preparing the file, downloading it, and adding it to the Makerbot printer software. I cover specific file types available from Tinkercad, and alternative options to printing at your local printer.

There are several online sources, and physical print centers you can use to print your designs. These vary by region and by country, so be sure to check your nearest location and shipping availability before spending any hard-earned cash on printing.

Finishing and 3D Printing Files from Tinkercad

Hopefully by now you have made your first model, and build your first object for printing. Let's take a few minutes to review what you have learned.

Tinkercad Review
4 questions
Generate files to print custom designs using text and corporate logos
4 Lectures 24:30

In the second part of this process we will look at how to use Illustrator's tools to create a design file we will use for a 3D printed object. The process of downloading and printing is the same whether you use your own drawing or a designed object in Illustrator. As long as the graphics end up as vector objects, they can be easily converted and manipulated in 3D software like Tinkercad.

If you have experience designing in Adobe Illustrator, this process will be very familiar to you in the creation of a simple shape. If you have worked in Illustrator before, the save options will also look familiar, but will now have context as to where they belong.

Preview 08:51

In this activity, we will look at how to take a custom design of your very own, and convert it to a 3D object. This particular method uses Adobe Illustrator. If you are a designer, then Illustrator should be in your toolkit already. If you don't have access to Illustrator, in the next lecture, I will show you how to achieve the same results using free and inexpensive software alternatives.

This special process uses an original design that could be scanned or photographed. You could use a clean version of a corporate logo, your name, or other graphics for this example. I will show you how to take a simple object like text, or a complicated object like a school logo and get it ready for printing in 3D.

This lecture covers the creation of an original piece of text in Illustrator that can be manipulated in 3D applications like Tinkercad. Universal file formats are addressed here as well.

Rendering your logo file in Illustrator - Part 1

In the second part of this workshop, we look at how to import a logo from the web. File sizes, image quality, and other options are discussed here to make the process of importing existing artwork easier.

*Please note: the use of copyrighted materials can be a violation of many local and international laws, especially when done for profit. In this example, I look at how to use an existing logo to create a 3D object. In no way are the files used in this 'for demonstration only' video for sale, or legal to reproduce and share. Please take caution in using other people's logos or identities - if you are not sure, always get permission first!

If you have access to a scanner or a digital camera to take high quality photos or scans, those are just fine to use instead of the web. Logo creators are most likely using Illustrator to start with, so finding an Illustrator file, pdf, .ai, .eps, or similar shouldn't be a problem when using a corporate or personal logo. You can also draw and scan, trace, or photograph your work and then use Illustrator to conver the drawing to a .svg file.

This tutorial will work through the steps of converting, live trace, manipulation and uploading for printing.

Rendering your logo file in Illustrator - Part 2 - Send it to Tinkercad

Getting your model and file ready for printing is important, but adding your image to your store to finally sell is even more fun. In this last step, I'll show you a quick review of how to produce the Illustrator file correctly, render and troubleshoot it, then upload it to your 3D printer store online. From there, you can pick your materials, set your prices and markups, and even start your promotions.

Rendering your logo file in Illustrator - Part 3 - Print Online and Repeat

You made your first custom 3D design object using Adobe Illustrator - let's make sure you remember all the steps that it took, and the file systems involved.

Adobe Illustrator's Process to 3D printing
4 questions
3D Design Software Free and Not-So-Free
5 Lectures 32:04

Let's take a look at a few options other than Adobe Illustrator and Tinkercad. There are tons of options out there for both PC and Mac, and even iPad and Android. Here, I highlight a few options you have to create, upload, print, and sell designs.

Preview 01:30

3D Systems has been a major player in the world of 3D printing for some time. They are one of the industry's top producers of both creative processes and techniques, as well as the hardware to make those processes a reality. They make machines to bring designs to life, and a suite of software applications to purchase to build models and ready them for printing.

3D Systems Cubify

SketchUp is a FREE product available for download to your Mac or your PC. It is free, but does require a basic registration on the website to enable the download. SketchUp Make is a product designed for consumers, and is very easy to use. If you are a hobbyist, student, or someone who just needs a simple free too to build and tinker, then SketchUp is certainly an option. It's free to use, so why not, right?

That being said, some people that use SketchUp have reported issues with creating models using the Makerbot printer. There are some ways around this problem, and you can quickly find the solutions if you decide to use SketchUp and a Makerbot printer. If not - just go get the free software and off you go - print on!

SketchUp offers both a free Maker version, and a pro version. The pro version is geared for students and more advanced users, but costs around $600. It has quite a few more functional elements like BIM, or CAD, LayOut, and even a slick presentation module. It's definitely for pros, or users wanting to get in to the 3D modeling, engineering, architecture, or product design industries.

Preview 04:54

Autodesk is another major player in the 3D world. They are the creators of the famous AutoCad application that has become the industry standard 3D design and modeling application for professionals. They also have a complete suite of professional tools for architecture, BIM, and animation. Some of the biggest software titles in this space are from Autodesk including; Autocad, Revit, 3DsMax, Maya and Alias. The consumer market has demanded some lighter, friendlier products, and Autodesk has responded with a wealth of free tools for consumers to use that are largely based on their other more sophisticated products. This two-lecture series highlights the offerings from Autodesk for your PC/Mac and iPad/Tablet.

Autodesk and the 123D Series for Desktops

3D Tin is a web-based modeling application much like Thingiverse. It is hosted in the cloud, so there is no software to download. It runs in just about any web browser. 3D Tin is a simple and effective visualizer for 3D objects and has some nice additional geometry creation tools that other platforms like Tinkercad do not have. The builder is very fast, and there are some cool colors shapes you can create to build your models.

This application was based in India, and was very effective at generating a following across the globe. It has been used in schools around the world, and was recently bought out by Lagoa. Lagoa has it's own design platform that looks really amazing. Just having discovered it, I don't have too much experience using it. However, it is clearly built for the slightly more advanced designer. Take a look at the products page in the pdf attachment to this course for resources and mentions. Their licensing is reasonable, and their basic subscriber (tinkerer) membership is always free...we love free!

3D Tin Design Tools
Bringing your ideas to market
6 Lectures 32:06

So you have an idea, you have a model, and you want to sell it online - well, let's take a few minutes to see what options you have build a turnkey online store with just a few clicks. The services shared here will get you started thinking about your online presence and how to best market and sell your objects. Each of these services produces very high quality results, and each has its strengths. In these lectures that follow, I will profile several online store options, as well as some additional print and ship companies you can use to get your ideas made in a variety of materials.

Preview 01:01

You have a design you have made in Illustrator or and you downloaded the file for printing. One of the best options you have for getting your designs printed in a variety of materials is Shapeways. enables you to build an online store to produce and share your creations with the world. They will handle all the order processing, shipping and fulfillment you need.

All you have to do is set up the store, link-up your PayPal account, then upload your designs and set up sales. Shapeways allows you to pick which materials your designs can be printed in, and what the markup should be on each item in your store. You can customize the store header, logo image, and other shop options like store name or business name.

Shapeways is very easy to use, has a wide assortment of printable materials, and quickly helps you build products to share and sell online.

Shapeways Part 1 - Set Up the Account and Store - add your first product!

Now that you have a design created in Illustrator or in Tinkercad, it is time to get that idea to market, pick your materials and decide on price. In this lesson, we look at how to take your design from the software you created it in, and add it to your new Shapeways store. I look at how to create a simple store page with your designs, how to configure your products for sales, markup and materials.

This lesson is the second part of the previous lesson on establishing your Shapeways account.

Shapeways Part 2 - Add Products, Select Materials, and Set Prices

Sculpteo is one of the highest rated modern print and ship companies. They offer some excellent solutions for printing simple and very complicated and delicate objects. They are known for their ability to process complicated objects with amazing quality and flexibility. Sculpteo can take the files you generate as .stl or .obj formatted models and convert them to objects to share.

Once your objects are in their sales platform, you can make use of several of their tools to help you perfect your model for printing. Their interface is very easy to use, and works well on different browsers. The options for materials is not as diverse as Shapeways, but the print quality is excellent.

Setting up a store on Sculpteo out of the box is very simple, but certainly lacks the ability to do any sort of product branding - as far as I can see. I'm in the process now of creating and modifying some objects to seel, so please be sure to check back on this lecture for more on building a Sculpteo store.

Sculpteo - Print complicated art objects, simple store, lots of material options

Worldwide, people are discovering the joy of 3D printing… as well as the unique challenges and needs that come with the territory. To help you get the most out of 3D printing, i.materialise offers an entire range of solutions and services that go beyond just printing your designs.

i.materialise allows you to upload your own designs, as the other options discussed here will, and goes a step further to ready those files for printing. Using their expertise, i.materialise productions are pre-screened for quality, and rechecked before printing and production.

There are a host of solutions available that will ensure your project gets built correctly, quickly, and is shipped quickly. They offer some very unique tools for developers to use their API, and interface with their community in a deep and meaningful way.

Users can build a collection of objects, select materials and deliver those objects to market. i.materialse also runs contests and build-offs to encourage students to create things and make them real. One of the featured integrations is to use 123D Creature from Autodesk (covered in a previous lecture) and build a multi-colored model that could be printed at i.materialse.

Very easy to use, great tools for perfecting your design project and getting it online to sell.

Using i.materialize online store module for printing and selling

The files you produce from Tinkercad or any of the other systems we looked at in this course can all be printed in one of four very similar venues; Shapeways, i.materialize, Ponoko, or Scuplteo. There are a host of other resources you can use online to print your designs and have them shipped to your door. These, of course, are not the only options you have.

Other options are available from printer companies like:

  • XYZprinting - US, Canada, China, and Japan
  • Moddler
  • Electric Geisha
  • Purple Platypus

The world of 3D printing is constantly changing, so be sure to check back to this list as it will be updated frequently! If you have other resources you stumble upon, please share in the discussions - or email them to me and I'll include them here!

Be sure to follow me on Twitter @trendingedtech and my 3D Printing and Design Twitter referenced in external materials.

Preview 1 page

Let's review how and where to print your designs online.

Print Your Designs Online - Review
5 questions
The Wrap Up
1 Lecture 00:47

The "BIG" idea in 3D printing, design and selling will always be coming up with great ideas to bring to market. What you can do to start is look around your house, your office, workspace, or shop, and see what 'things' exist in that space. Are there tools that you could make better in some way? Are there objects that could use a refresher? Have you always wanted to design your own charms for a bracelet - or maybe that unique family holiday tree ornament?

Well 3D printing and design can make all of those things a reality for you. This course - and this section of this course will show you how to take your ideas to market. If you can get an idea designed - you can get it printed and fabricated and shipped right to your door.

Don't let those great ideas go to waste - bring them to market today!

The BIG Idea - Finish it up - put it all together!! Get selling!
About the Instructor
Jonathan Jarc, M.Ed
4.2 Average rating
48 Reviews
3,922 Students
4 Courses
Teacher, Technology Coach and Free-Lance Graphic Designer

Jon is a teacher and technologist at St. Ignatius High School, the Jesuit preparatory school in Cleveland, Ohio. Jon works with teachers integrating technology to their classrooms.

He supports student learning and faculty professional development across the curriculum. He works with both IT staff and school administration to offer sound technology advice on planning and integration projects throughout our camps as well as conducting ongoing professional development.

With a wide range of IT experiences, and a Masters Degree in Educational Technology, finding solutions to specific teachers' needs is his specialty.