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How to start a career in 3D printing

3D printing is revolutionizing manufacturing, construction, medicine and design. The growing demand for 3D printed objects has also led to the creation of new job profiles for artists, engineers and graphic designers.

If you want to switch roles for a career in 3D printing, here’s how.


Why pursue a career in 3D printing?

A lucrative career in an emerging technology field is the main reason to pursue a career in 3D printing. But it is not the only reason. Here is an overview of the scope of the field, the demand for 3D printed products and the qualifications required to start a career in this field:

Scope of 3D printing

According to a Fortune Business Insights report, the 3D printing industry is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 24.3% to become an $83.90 billion industry. This globally thriving industry is witnessing a surge in employment in industry sectors such as architecture, scientific modeling, musical instruments, and more.

3D printing offers exciting career opportunities in various verticals such as organ printing, robotics, AI, and more. The growing demand for 3D printed products implies a tremendous growth in the scope and size of the industry.

Qualifications required

You need a bachelor’s degree in engineering disciplines such as mechanical, chemical, construction, manufacturing, automotive, electronics, computer science, biomedical, etc. to apply for most 3D printing jobs.

You can also pursue a career in 3D printing if you have a degree in pure sciences, such as a bachelor’s degree in chemical sciences, organic chemistry, biotechnology, etc. A fine arts degree can also be useful when applying for prototyping-based 3D printing positions. .

If you don’t have the necessary qualifications, skills and experience in graphic design, animation, sketching and drawing-related fields can help you make the cut. You need a great portfolio that speaks of your skills and expertise. Besides being good at drawing, you also need good logical reasoning and problem-solving skills.

1. Start with online courses

If you don’t have the prerequisite qualifications, certificates, experience or skills needed to start a career in 3D printing, here’s how you can get started.

Find out what 3D printing is and how it works, then enroll in online 3D printing courses or take certifications in creative design, model making, animation, and more to launch your career in 3D printing. 3D printing. Here are some courses you can explore:

  • 3D Printing Apps by Coursera
  • Various 3D Printing Courses Offered by Udemy
  • Advanced 3D design and 3D printing by Lydnow
  • Additive Manufacturing by MIT
  • Additive Manufacturing by the Open University

2. Develop your technical skills

While having the right qualifications and certificates is a good start, a career in 3D printing requires you to master a few technical skills. You will put these skills to good use at work in addition to seizing better opportunities based on your mastery of the technical skill.

  • Basics of additive manufacturing: Additive manufacturing is a vast field, but understanding the basics of 3D printing is essential if you want to work in this field. Discover the different steps, processes and principles involved in starting a 3D printing job, from the design phase to printing the 3D model.
  • Design and 3D Modeling: 3D graphic design is very different from classic graphic design. You will create complex 3D objects in simulation software to be able to print 3D models.
  • Application software: You should be familiar with at least two application software and design systems for designing 3D models and printing them.
  • Additive manufacturing materials: You need to know everything about the additive manufacturing process, from sourcing the materials to their chemical composition. You need to learn the what, why and how of the materials used in additive manufacturing.
  • Hardware Operation: Whether it’s industrial 3D printing or small-scale model printing, it’s important to understand details like how hardware works, setting up and processing a 3D design on a printer, etc. . if you want to gain an in-depth understanding of the field. .
  • Quality and Testing Procedures: Checks and balances initiated by quality procedures and efficient testing ensure that your designs, patterns and finishes are top notch.
  • Product life cycle: 3D printing belongs to the manufacturing industry which produces tangible goods for various consumer markets. These products also follow the typical product lifecycle stages followed by regular products, and knowing these stages allows you to understand how these principles affect the additive manufacturing process and its distribution.


3. Develop a portfolio to showcase your work

Create a portfolio of designs and 3D models to demonstrate your learning and expertise.

  • Sign up for free websites like Blender and Unreal Engine to learn how to design for additive manufacturing. Since these free services offer limited options, you can pay for other software like SketchUp, Modo, 3ds Max, etc., to create original and realistic 3D designs that can be exported to printing devices.
  • Order 3D printed models of your designs through websites such as ProtoLabs, Shapeways, Print Parts, Sculpteo, etc. This will be an expensive undertaking, depending on the complexity of your model and the raw materials needed.
  • You can also print your own models with a 3D printer if you can afford it.
  • Build a professional social media brand for your career.
  • Promote your skills, designs, and 3D models through social forums like Reddit, Facebook groups, Pinterest boards, and more.

4. Get an entry-level job

You can start small by applying for design and sketching jobs that fall under prototyping – the process of conceptualizing, ideating, experimenting, and turning designs into actual models. Once you gain more experience, you can apply for manufacturing-based jobs such as molds, tooling, and component printing.

You can search for different levels of 3D print jobs in the following ways:

  • Most entry-level jobs in this field are advertised through generic job portals such as ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, etc. Create a profile on these sites and start applying for relevant positions.
  • Browse niche sites such as 3D Print, 3D Natives, 3D Printing, 3D Heals, etc., to explore opportunities not listed on regular job portals.
  • The gig economy also offers plenty of 3D printing-related jobs and remote work opportunities that you can find on Upwork, Flexjobs, Fiverr, CGTrader, and more.

Set your 3D printing career in action

Even if you have no qualifications or experience in 3D printing or adjacent fields, you can start learning today with the resources listed above and transition into a career in 3D printing if you so choose. wish. Its scope and applications are limitless, and you can pursue a career in any industrial sector you choose.

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