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MOST Delta filament as guide.JPG This page was part of an MTU course MY4777/MY5777/EE4777/EE5777: Open-source 3-D printing

Please leave comments using the discussion tab. The course runs in the Fall semester. It is not open edit.

MY4777/MY5777/EE4777/EE5777 Open-source 3-D printing

Athena top.JPG

(Fall 2015)

  • 9:35 am - 10:50 am, TR
  • Grover C. Dillman Hall 0101
  • Aug 31, 2015 - Dec 11, 2015

Instructor: User:J.M.Pearce

Why 3-D Printing? A recent report from data company Wanted Analytics found that in one month 35 percent of engineering job listings from a variety of fields, including biomedical, software, and transportation industries, required applicants familiar with 3-D printing.[1] Forbes explains why 3D printing is such a big deal.

Why open source? You will make more money, because OS is more valuable. Recent analysis shows that jobs with the keywords "Microsoft Windows" have an average salary of $64,000, while jobs with the keyword "Linux" have an average salary of $99,000. [2]

Course Description

This course provides an introduction to distributed additive manufacturing using open-source 3-D printing. First this course will provide an overview of open-source hardware and technological development in theory and practice. Both the use of software and user communities will be highlighted and demonstrated. Next, the course will detail the design, use and maintenance of the open-source electronics behind the development of self-replicating rapid prototypers. Then the technological evolution of the open-source 3-D printing technology will be covered with a focus on developing innovation for improved performance and materials selection. Each student will build a customized RepRap and the course will cover hardware, firmware, slicing and printer controller software for operating and maintaining the device. Finally the material properties, applications and ramifications of RepRap technology will be discussed.

The course is meant for advanced undergraduate and graduate students in Materials Science & Engineering, and Electrical & Computer Engineering, while students in other areas of engineering or science with a strong interest in this topic are also welcomed. Graduate students are expected to complete all coursework assigned to the undergraduates and an in depth project.

Credits: 3.0 Lec-Rec-Lab: (3-0-[0-3]), (3 lecture hours and 0-3 lab hours)

Required Course Material

There is a $500 course fee for this course. This fee will be used to purchase a MOST Delta RepRap 2 kit for you to use during the course. At the end of the course you keep the printer you built and modified. The design will be somewhat like the image above - but note that it is a rapidly evolving technology so by Fall the design will have improved.

Textbook: J.M. Pearce, The Open-Source Lab (Elsevier,2014). Other reading will be handouts in class, on-line reading, and emailed pdfs. See hyperlinks in schedule.

Course Organization

This course will be run as an intense seminar meeting as a group. Students will be expected to read the course material before class and actively participate in discussions. The majority of class time will be spent on projects in a flipped class format. Each student will be responsible for building a RepRap 3-D printer to use to complete the projects. Students will be responsible for giving short presentations on their projects on each sub-topic in front of the class at the end of the semester.

Graduate students will take the same lecture and projects as the undergraduates, however, they will also be expected to complete a significant improvement to the RepRap design by the end of the semester. They will demonstrate their mods for the class.


Letter Grade Percentage Grade points/credit Rating
A 93% & above 4.00 Excellent
AB 88%– 92% 3.50 Very good
B 82% – 86% 3.00 Good
BC 76%– 81% 2.50 Above average
C 70% – 75% 2.00 Average
CD 65%– 69% 1.50 Below average
D 60%- 64% 1.00 Inferior
F 59% and below 0.00 Failure
I Incomplete; given only when a student is unable to complete a segment of the course because of circumstances beyond the student’s control. A grade of incomplete may be given only when approved in writing by the department chair or school dean.
X Conditional,with no grade points per credit; given only when the student is at fault in failing to complete a minor segment of a course, but in the judgment of the instructor does not need to repeat the course. It must be made up within the next semester in residence or the grade becomes a failure (F). A (X) grade is computed into the grade point average as a (F) grade.

Grading Policy

Grades will be based on the following:

RepRap build 100
Rock Wall Project 100
Viking Project 100
Science Equipment Project 250
OSAT Project 250
Big Money Project 200
Total Points 1000
  • Grad students must also complete an improvement to the RepRap OR a 3-D printed automated Scientific Apparatus worth 1000 points and be graded out of 2000.

Late Assignments

Deduct 10% per day, up to 5 working days, then 0 grade. Only exception is for documented illness. Missed projects are penalized by the negative square of the percent total.

Course Policies

Appropriate behavior, attendance, participation and collaboration with your peers on group assignments is expected. Collaboration/Plagiarism Rules Collaboration is encouraged on the group project but the individual project and exams must be completed alone. Calculators are allowed for exams but electronic communication devices are prohibited.

University Policies

Academic regulations and procedures are governed by University policy. Academic dishonesty cases will be handled in accordance the University's policies. If you have a disability that could affect your performance in this class or that requires an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, please see me as soon as possible so that we can make appropriate arrangements. The Affirmative Action Office has asked that you be made aware of the following: Michigan Technological University complies with all federal and state laws and regulations regarding discrimination, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. If you have a disability and need a reasonable accommodation for equal access to education or services at Michigan Tech, please call the Dean of Students Office at 487-2212. For other concerns about discrimination, you may contact your advisor, Chair/Dean of your academic unit, or the Affirmative Programs Office at 487-3310.

Course Schedule

Please Note: Readings will be updated periodically before we get to the module.

Date Class Class description Assignment
09/01 1 Intro to class, big money, grad and build assigned Syllabus, Schedule, M0.1
09/03 2 Get kits -Start Building Your 3D Printer! Bring bags/boxes for large part and a sealed container for small parts. Safety, Start building, M0.2
09/08 3 RepRap software chain, Get rest of parts, solder Bring big box/bag M0.3,M0.4
09/10 4 OSH definitions, development, business M1.1
09/15 5 OS licenses, legal discussion M1.2
09/17 6 Arduino M1.3
09/22 7 Trouble shoot, solder 3D4EDU
09/24 8 Franklin/Blender Tutorial/Onshape M3.2, M0.4, Franklin use video
09/29 9 RepRap community, Printing tricks, Intro to wiki- Appropedia M2.1-3, Create and populate Appropedia user page
10/01 10 OpenSCAD M3.1 MY4777 Rock wall project assigned
10/06 11 RepRap show and tell (monster build) RepRap built, BRING IT TO CLASS
10/08 12 OpenSCAD show and tell, rock climb M3.3, M3.4, Rock wall project due
10/13 13 Mashup Mashup Viking décor project assigned, M3.5
10/15 14 Mashup project
10/20 15 Mashup show and tell Viking project due
10/22 16 OS scientific hardware – lab partners M4.1, M4.2, 777 OSH Science project 2015 assigned
10/27 17 Science Teams Post lab partners-projects, M4.3
10/29 18 Science Teams (no class - meet in lab) ** No class - meet in lab
11/03 19 Science Teams - MTU Makerspace! November 6,6:00 - 8:00pm. Sign-up ( , Cyclop survey and Cyclop bug reports Science prototype due (online post)
11/05 20 Test prototype, revise, trouble shoot Graduate students - choose project and list it on MOST Delta mods or Automated 3D printable scientific equipment
11/10 21 Science Show and Tell Science revisions due, with data posted NIH/Github/Appropedia Gallery
11/12 22 Open source appropriate technology 777 OSAT projects 2015 M5.1
11/17 23 OSAT project OSAT project chosen, M5.2
11/19 24 OSAT Project/Big Money Project 777 Big Money Project Assigned
11/24 No School Thanksgiving
11/26 No School Thanksgiving
12/01 25 Inventive thinking/OSAT Project/ Big Money Project category:4777 TRIZ 3D printers
12/03 26 Inventive thinking/OSAT Project/ Big Money Project M6.1 File:Husky statue.stl Open TAZ mini giveaway
12/08 27 OSAT Show and Tell OSAT final due
12/10 28 Last day – The Future, Money Project and Grad Money Project, Graduate Project Due: MOST Delta mods or Automated 3D printable scientific equipment

Readings and Media

OSL= Open-Source Lab textbook

Module 0: RepRap Build

  1. Watch RepRap video, The RepRap project- Ranellucci
  2. RepRap build OSL Chap. 5, Delta Build Overview:MOST, Athena_Build_Overview, Need help email:
  3. Software - Delta Software:MOST, Slicers RepRap Magazine 1, Slic3r, Cura,Skeinforge, RepRapPro Slicer, tweak AtoZ Cura plugin
  4. Printer controllers - Printrun, Repetier-Host, Franklin -- How to Install Franklin on your 777 printer

Module 1: Introduction to OSH

  1. OSL Chap. 2 OSH Introduction, Cathedral and Bazaar, Microsoft OSH, OSH intro video, TEDxBoulder - Nathan Seidle (Sparfun)- How Open Hardware will Take Over the World, Lulzbot factory tour and discussion of OSH business by Jeff Moe, The Law of Accelerating Returns by Ray Kurzweil, Do Makers Propose a More Open Source Future? - Idea Channel, PBS Digital Studios, 2015 the Year OSS went nuclear, Can Open-Sourcing Transform Electronics Hardware?
  2. OSL Chap. 3 OS License OS License, Creative Commons copyright licenses, OS software for GNU-Linux, The Future of 3D Printing: Smarter IP Strategies, Less Lawsuits
  3. OSL Chap. 4 OS microcontrollers Arduino Tutorials , Makershed comparison, Jeremy Blum TED talk, Nathan Seidle- SparkFun

Module 2: Community

  1. RepRap IRC, RepRap Forums, RepRap Groups
  2. Arduino Forum, Arduino google group
  3. Free and open repositories of designs,
  4. Tricks: support, raft, parts, orientation, fill, slicer choice, pictorial guide to problems,pictorial guide to reprap print trouble shooting, calibration photos, RichRap Slic3r is Nicer
  5. Appropedia, 777 demo page

Module 3: Open source CAD

  1. OpenSCAD, OpenSCAD manual, OpenSCAD for 3D Printing Kindle Edition, MOST SCAD Libraries on Github, Object oriented OpenSCAD, RapCAD
  2. Blender, Using Blender to Model for 3-D printing, 2D to 3D in Blender
  3. FreeCAD, Bram de Vries FreeCAD video tutorials Using OpenSCAD tricks in FreeCAD
  4. Tricks - Multicolor, A few ways to strengthen 3D printed parts, 3D print from McMaster-Carr
  5. Converting 2D images to 3D for printing using open source software, Celtic Knot SCAD, Bezier curves and knots script for Blender
  6. MOST Delta mods - see also: Github MTU-MOST repositories, Open-source syringe pump, Open-source metal 3-D printer
  7. Open Source Photogrammetry, Open source 3D scanners

Module 4: OS Science

  1. OSL Chap. 1 examples 3D printable science equipment, Tekla Lab requests
  2. OSL Chap. 5
  3. OSL Chap. 6
  4. OSL Chap. 7

Module 5: OSAT

  1. Case for Open Source Appropriate Technology, 3-D Printing of Open Source Appropriate Technologies for Self-Directed Sustainable Development, Open source 3-D printing of OSAT, How 3D Printers Are Boosting Off-The-Grid, Underdeveloped Communities - MotherBoard
  2. Recyclebot, Open Source Ecology TED talk


  1. The Economist-- A third industrial revolution, Where we go from here - types of OS3DP Open-source metal 3-D printer

Other good watching: First International Workshop on "Low-cost 3D Printing for Science, Education and Sustainable Development, 25. Hopes and Fears, 27. Open Hardware and Arduino, 31. Prehistoric Collections: Digitizing the Leaky collection and interesting perspectives on digital rights and proprietary museum collections, 33. Bringing a CAD model into a physical object: Ranelucci video, 54. The future of 3D printing: Another Ranelucci video.