A 3D printer can be used to teach science and math in two ways: when a teacher creates an accurate 3D model of a concept for students to handle, or to design a “starter set” model that students can then alter and use as the basis for explorations. The instructors will impart ideas for developing appropriate content of concepts ranging from kindergarten to grad school and will teach participants to use the free and open source 3D modeling program OpenSCAD. The class assumes participants already know the basics of using a 3D printer, from the UgotClass “Intro to 3D Printing” or equivalent experience.

Recommended optional e-book: Horvath and Cameron, 3D Printed Science Projects (Apress, 2016).


Unit 1: 3D printable math and science models
  •             Best practices for developing models: visualization vs. experiment
  •             Using the third dimension in novel ways
  •             Making a model easy to print
  •             Avoiding common problems with 3D printable models                  
Unit 2:  Creating alterable (parametric) models
  •             The OpenSCAD programming environment
  •             Altering an existing OpenSCAD model
  •             Basics of programming for the non-programmer
  •             Creating your own simple OpenSCAD model                   
 Unit 3:  Creating a visualization model
  •             Types of math and science models lending themselves to visualization
  •             Deciding what to keep in and keep out
  •             Examples
  •             Creating your own visualization
Unit 4:  The 3D print as experiment
  •             What is a 3D printable “experiment?”
  •             How much variation is it practical to build in to a base model?
  •             Examples
  •             Creating your own experiment
 Question MarkAbout online learning

Online learning is a fun, enjoyable and very productive way to learn. Millions of people are learning online each year. You will engage with the instructor and other participants. You will get to know your instructor and other participants. You may make friends. It’s easy. It’s fun.

GearsHow the Course Works

It is easy to participate in your online course. After you register, you will be given a web address to go to get into your online classroom. You will have a password and use your email address and password to gain access.

Once inside the online classroom, here’s what you can expect.

CalendarParticipate when you want

You can participate any time of day or evening. The online classroom is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
There are no live real-time requirements or meetings. You decide when you participate.
For the best learning, participants should log into the course on 2-3 different days of the week.

ChecklistWhat you will do

For each Unit, you will:

  • Read the print readings (about 20 pages a week)
  • Have the option of accessing the online readings
  • Listen to the audio presentation for the Unit and view the slides
  • Have the option of taking a self-quiz to see how much you have learned
  • Engage in written online discussion with your instructor and other participants

For best learning, you should make one or more comments at 2-3 different times each week.
The content (readings, audio lectures, slides) and self quizzes are accessible for the entire course, so you can work ahead, or go back and review again, at your convenience.

Next offering(s):

3D Printed Science and Math: Visualizations and Experiments
July 3 - 28
October 2 - 27

Introduction to 3D Printing
June 5 - 30
September 5 - 29

Add Certificate To Cart
$345.00 USD
Ave. hours 16; 1.6 CEUs/ILUs

About Your Instructors

Joan Horvath and Rich “Whosawhatsis” Cameron are the co-founders of maker technology consultancy Nonscriptum LLC (www.nonscriptum.com) and previously were respectively VP of Business Development and VP of R&D at a small Kickstarter-funded 3D printer company. They collaborate on books for Apress, including the 2016 releases, ”3D Printed Science Projects” and “Practical Fashion Tech.” Joan’s experience includes a 16 year stint in the aerospace industry, adjunct positions at several universities, and consulting in a wide variety of circumstances. She has degrees in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT and an Engineering MS from UCLA. Rich is an open-source 3D printer guru who designed one of the early open source 3D printers, the Wallace, and later the commercially-available Bukito.https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/Pafugu7scfJubdh2uoKaH9Tnzr-9yQF1q0YyaScedPBQCvqgQ0Zl_s3PX3cI6MOZpT4zj3ttz69Jol6NCu98tv6JxSz6N2EHGFZgqbczbsvQaw7PemnldlXzbN1JLm0WusDliow

Directional ArrowsCourse Objectives

  • Learn best practices for developing math and science 3D printable models
  • Learn the difference between a visualization model versus an exploratory one
  • See examples of existing models and how they were developed
  • Learn the basics of the OpenSCAD modeling language

Puzzle PiecesCourse Outcomes

At the end of the course, you will:

  • Understand the design issues for a 3D printable science visualization
  • Understand the issues that arise in creating an accurate 3D printable experiment
  • Know the basics of the OpenSCAD modeling language
Completion Requirements