3D Printing & Digital Manufacturing, Future Technologies Series
An introductory course on 3D printing and digital manufacturing exploring how these technologies have been applied in various fields and their potential societal impact. Beginners welcome!

Knowledge tags
3D printing
Product Design
Additive Manufacturing
Emerging Technologies
Digital Manufacturing
Manufacturing Aid
Software Development
4th Industrial Revolution
Health Technology
Product Development
Sustainable Development
Labor Market
Zero Waste
Labour rights
Machine Ethics
Exercise tags
Prior Understanding
Summing up
Taking action
Giving feedback
Multiple Choice Quiz
Course Description
Ever wondered what goes on behind closed doors of a digital manufacturing company that uses 3D printing to create parts of MAJOR infrastructure like planes and windmills? This course takes you on an exclusive tour of Thürmer Tools where their CEO and lead engineer explains how 3D printing works how it is used to create incredible things! You will also explore how 3D printing is already disrupting the food, housing and medical industry! BUT, this course is a deep-dive in our “Future Technologies” series, where we explore the basics behind the 3D printing to really understand the impact of technological developments our everyday lives. Join in major debates: Who controls the creation, sharing and selling of 3D printing blueprints? What happens when blueprints for guns come into the equation, or when 3D printing parts for vehicles is replacing people’s jobs? That's why we have Aarhus University researcher Jessica Sorensen explaining important considerations and impact of ethics & 3D printing!

Unit 1 Breaking Down 3D Printing
To understand 3D printing, it is helpful to compare it with regular ink-paper printing. Did you know that with regular printers, the ink does not stain the paper? It actually sits on the paper or is “bonded” to it. In the case of 3D printing, ink is replaced by different materials such as functional plastics, metals, ceramics, sand and even biological materials like sugar and chocolate. 3D printing is also referred to as additive manufacturing - the processes by which a physical object is created by adding material layer by layer. We've handpicked the resources in this unit to give you the best overview- from input to output- that will shed some light on how something as mind-blowing as 3D printing actually works!
Unit 2 Inside Thürmer Tools: A 3D Printing & Digital Manufacturing Case Study
You've got the basis of how 3D printing works, but does it even have an impact on the real world or are they just used to make cool figures in your home? Well, 3D printing is already revolutionising many industries, in this unit we will explore how they are applied in a present-day manufacturing industry: Thürmer Tools. The video lectures led by Adam Kazmierczak are the focus of this unit as they provide valuable insider knowledge on the parts that make up a 3D printer, how it works and real-life examples of application of digital manufacturing.
Unit 3 Disrupting the Manufacturing Industry
Let's zoom out from the individual pieces that make up a 3D printer and think about the impact of this emerging technology in the manufacturing industry. Starting with the video lectures by Erick Thürmer and Adam Kazmierczak, we explore the benefits of 3D printing compared to traditional manufacturing, the challenges of this emerging technology and Thürmer Tools’ vision of the future. The online resources in the materials section explore present more opinions on the benefits and challenges of 3D printing. To explore the topic of the future of manufacturing further, you can hear Erik’s talk on this topic at Singularity University in a video presentation titled “The Future Factory: Digital Manufacturing”.
Unit 4 Revolutionary 3D Printing Applications
The 3D printing revolution has been disrupting various industries for years! In this unit, we introduce you to examples of 3D printing technology at use to produce tissues and organs, build houses in a matter of days, and even create food arts. We do not only present various cool examples, but push you to think, critique and evaluate the impact 3D printing technology has on industries, the economy and how we live our everyday lives!
Unit 5 The Ethics of 3D Printing
But what would happen if someone sells a blueprints to 3D print guns? This actually happened in the United States and it has raised huge concerns about the potential harms of this new technology. 3D printing technology also means that fewer materials will have to be shipped to production sites, and fewer consumers will need to wait for international shipping. What would this mean for the workers of the manufacturing industry? Whose jobs will stay on, and whose will disappear? Is this solution more sustainable? There are many ethical concerns when it comes to 3D printing, that is why we have ethics and robotics researcher Jessica Sorenson from Aarhus University who provides important insight on this heated debate!