3D Printing, Computer Aided Design (CAD) and G-Code Basics - Activity for Grades 9-11

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Students learn about 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, through a computer-aided design (CAD) and programming activity. Continue to the bottom of the page for the Resource Link.

The successful implementation of CNC machining in the subtractive manufacturing realm has led engineers to apply the same concepts to 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing.

In this activity students participate in a step-by-step process on how a computer can control a manufacturing process through defined data points. Within this activity, students also learn how to program using basic G-code to create a wireframe 3D shapes that can be read by a 3D printer or computer numerical control (CNC) machine.

Education Standards :
• NGSS: Next Generation Science Standards - Science
• Common Core State Standards - Math
• International Technology and Engineering Educators Association - Technology
• State Standards: - Michigan - Math - Michigan - Technology

Grade Level: 9-11 Subject Areas: Computer Science, Geometry, Measurement, Science and Technology

Learning Objectives:   
• Discuss how the 3D printing process works as well as the various types of 3D printing that are currently used in the manufacturing industry
• Calculate distance and convert distance into X, Y, Z coordinate points
• Write G-code to program a wireframe model
• Explain how a 3D printer uses X, Y, Z coordinate points to create an object from a CAD model

Materials List for Class: Digital projector      

Materials List for Each student/group:
• Computer with an internet connection
• NC Viewer software available at https://ncviewer.com/

Time Needed: 2) 90-minute sessions
Product Lifecycle:
Resource Type:
Classroom Activity
RET Program, college of Engineering, Michigan State University
Author & Title:
Matthew Jourden
Date Developed:
Monday, August 26, 2019
additive manufacturing,computer aided design (CAD),computer numerical control (CNC),education,engineering,G-code,modeling,Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM),slicing software
Education Level:
High School (9-12)