Last week 3D Printing Industry welcomed new Makers and owners of 3D printers to the world of 3D printing. If you were lucky enough to get a 3D printer for Christmas, or are just thinking about getting one in the new year there are an increasing number of options for free 3D printing training.

I visited the iMakr store in London this week to meet some new Makers and see how people are taking their first steps with 3D printing at this long running event.

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

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

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

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

Learning the basic principles of 3D printing

A show of hands from the attendees indicates that only one person from this evening’s group has previous experience with 3D printing. Unsurprisingly there are many questions as Julien introduces the basic principles of 3D printing and the variety of technologies that come under this umbrella 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 modelling using software such as ZBrush is more suited to organic forms, while parametric design software, for example Fusion 360, is more commonly used to make mechanical designs.

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

3D printed fish model from 3D print 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 Julien illustrates with a 3D printed action figure. As Julien takes the group through the different stages of creating a 3D print he provides examples of the various possibilities. A series of 3D prints are passed around the room and with each new material and model the audience become more aware of the possibilities that 3D printing can allow.

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

A wall of MakerBot Replicator 2’s 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 3D Printing Industry. It was great to see so many people experiencing their first insight into 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’d like to attend a free 3D printing course or a 3D design event then you can register here.

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

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