3D Printing

COSMIAC was funded by two distinct groups to perform 3D-related research. COSMIAC was contracted to NASA Glenn and the SmallSat Technology Program (SSTP). The SSTP award is a 24 month activity in conjunction with the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP) to perform additive manufacturing research in the areas of:

  • Materials Testing
  • Communications
  • Propulsion


COSMIAC was also funded under a contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and UTEP to perform work for the National Additive Manufacturing Innovative Institute (NAMII). The NAMII work is designed to:

  • Develop advanced 3D printing capabilities with pick and place capabilities
  • Communications
  • Thermal Management
  • Workforce Development

Tutorials for the workshop are provided here. The PowerPoint slides are available at the bottom of the page. These tutorials are designed for folks that know little or nothing about SolidWorks or 3D printing. They are designed for SolidWorks 2014 and the Makerbot family of printers. The tutorials are provided in Word format and may be modified as the user sees fit.

Tutorial OneCup by Extrusion and Resolve Methods
This tutorial introduces the user to the SolidWorks design flow and Integrated Design Environment (IDE). Various aspects of the IDE are explored and the final product is then printed on the Makerbot 2 printer.
Here are the attachment support files for tutorial one.

Tutorial TwoDownload and Modify a Part
This tutorial builds on the first tutorial and goes more into detail on the IDE. It is common to practice to download parts from the Internet, modify them and then print them. This tutorial does just that.
Here are the attachment support files for tutorial two.

Tutorial ThreePhotoshop and Outsource Printing
This tutorial shows some of the new features of Photoshop. It (of course) assumes you have the ability to get copies of Photoshop. It shows the user how to download a part, modify it, and then order it through Shapeways (as well as printing through SolidWorks and Makerbot).

Tutorial FourChain Link
This tutorial develops more complex aspects of the SolidWorks IDE. Creating something as simple as a chain link that can be later printed is fairly non-trivial. This tutorial steps the user through the process of accomplishing this task and then sending the design to the printer.

Tutorial Five – Nut and Bolt
It is often necessary to be able to screw one piece into another. This tutorial shows how to achieve this by creating a bolt and nut that screw into each other.

Tutorial Six – Tabs, Notches and Holes
This tutorial steps the user through the process of creating slots to fit pieces together.

Tutorial Seven – Jim’s House
This tutorial normally serves as the final project for the two day workshop. It is used to have various individuals produce a variety of different pieces that are then combined into a single structure.

Tutorial Eight – Printing Fibonacci
Part of the power of 3D printing is the ability to represent abstract mathematical expressions in a way that can be held in one’s hands. Art and math merge nicely through Fibonacci. This tutorial shows that process.