Skip to main content

Hack A 3-D Printer 2020

About This Course

This online course is designed to prepare students for the four week Beaverworks Summer Institute course to be held in Summer 2019 at MIT. It will introduce students to key math, science, and engineering concepts that will be required on day one of the on-campus progarm! A large portion of this online course will be dedicated to CAD and students will be required to complete several CAD exercises.


Students should be familiar with algebra and geometry. Understanding how geometric relationships can constrain a shape will be important. Experience with 3D printing is useful, but not required.

Lead Course Staff

Course Staff Image #1

Michael Pavel

Mike Pavel studied astronomy and physics the University of Florida and Boston University, and he joined MIT Lincoln Laboratory after working at McDonald Observatory in Texas. He is currently leading several hardware test and evaluation programs focusing on visible and infrared imaging systems.

Course Staff Image #2

Jon Schoenenberger

Jon Schoenenberger is a member of the Structural and Thermal Fluids group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. He studied Materials Science and Engineering at Iowa State University where he became involved in Additive Manufacturing in 2010. Prior to joining the lab he worked for Nano-lab and the Department of Energy Ames Laboratory working on novel material development and characterization. He now developes novel materials for metal additive manufacturing.

Course Staff Image #1

Derek Straub

Derek Straub is the Additive Manufacturing Lead at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. He obtained his B.Eng. in Aero-Mechanical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and later specialized at Massachusetts Institute of Technology completing his M.Eng. in Manufacturing. He oversees the design and production of complex parts across seven industrial AM platforms while his research focuses on novel AM processes and the advancement of current AM processes and materials.

Course Staff Image #1

Sarah Willis

Sarah Willis joined MIT Lincoln Laboratory in 2015 where she is a member of the Systems and Analysis group. She has a PhD in Astrophysics from Iowa State University and a BS in Mathematics from Loras College. Prior to joining Lincoln Lab she worked on experimental infrared astrophysics at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and as a freelance science writer and astronomy instructor.

Frequently Asked Questions

I've never used a 3D Printer before. Should I take this course?

This online course assumes no background in 3D printing. We will take you through the process of going from idea to part, illustrating important concepts along the way.

Do I need to complete the online course to attend the on-campus course?

Yes! This online course contains the prerequisite information needed to succeed in the on-campus course. We will assume *ALL* on-campus students have covered *ALL* material here so that we can quickly get to designing and printing parts.

Is this online course just a bunch of slides and some questions?

Nope! A large portion of this online course is dedicated to teaching students how to use computer aided design software. We hope you will spend more time actually creating parts than reading text.

I already know how to use CAD/AutoDesk/Solidworks/Inventor/Sketchup/etc?

Great, then you should have no problem learning how to use OnShape!

What web browser should I use?

The Open edX platform works best with current versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

Onshape currently supports these tested and approved browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari (Mac OS only), and Opera. Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer are currently not supported.

See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.