A free 3D printing course?

I was a little sceptical at first, a free 3D printing course where you get to keep the 3D printer on completion of the course. That cant be right can it? Well, it is!

3D360LTD in Leigh, Wigan offer a wide range of 3D printing courses and training, some of which are offered for free. This is made possible with European Union EU Social Funding (remember that), on behalf of Skills For Growth and delivered via SERCO by 3D360LTD. This is available to all employed/self employed in the Greater Manchester area.

Thanks to Lee McStein for letting me know about it. It was a simple process of getting in touch with 3D360 and filling in an application form, a quick online test for math and language skills and I was booked on to a 3 day 3D printer build and operator training course the very next week. Of course there was some further paperwork to prove I was actually who I said I was, and worked where I said I did but that was easy enough.

The courses are run from their premises in Leigh town centre, so only a ten minute drive from home. There’s plenty of parking available in the nearby carpark. Starting at 0930 and finishing around 15.30 each day, coffee, tea and lunch are also included. It just keeps getting better!

The three day version of the course involves first building your 3D printer, a Creality Ender 3. This is followed with plenty of instruction and helpful info regarding all manner of FDM printing including troubleshooting, problem solving and health and safety. As a complete beginner I felt the 3 day course was ideal. The 5 day course also involves an intro into CAD, and with hindsight maybe I should have thought more about doing the 5 day course.

There was a good mix of trainees, twelve in total, from Primary School teachers, artists and electrical engineers. Some with previous knowledge and some, like me, utterly clueless. The staff are very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful and make you feel right at home from day one.

I’d never used a Slicer software before but Ultimaker Cura seemed very straightforward.

You get to print some useful additions like this air vent cover. And plenty of time to practice printing other objects of your choice. This set of removable type was a fail as I downscale to 33% to save on printing time. Oops what a mess but almost.

3D360 also offer plenty of supplies and printers for sale, as well as tech support and assistance. I hope not to bother them too much.

If you have an interest in 3d printing then this course is great, even more so as you get to take home the printer you’ve been working on during the course. I’m still amazed this is possible, what a great opportunity for upskilling in the workplace. Oh and if you do book onto and complete a course, if you could mention me as a the person who referred you on the application form, I get a free roll of filament! Brilliant! Just put my name and University of Manchester.

I’m now all set up at home, levelling my print bed and printing a temperature calibration tower to check where my black filament change from gloss to matt. Its 190 degrees by the way. Didn’t think I’d be doing that a week ago.

Thanks again to Dean and all at 3d360LTD.