Skip to main content

Additive Manufacturing for Innovative Design and Production

Create new products, processes, and business models using 3D printing.

Start Date: Apr 30, 2018
Duration: 9 Weeks
Price: $1950

Course Description

Join leading MIT faculty and industry experts to address the fundamentals, applications, and implications of additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing. Walk away with an in-depth understanding of the technical principles of AM, its advanced design principles, and its breakthrough applications across the product lifecycle. At the end of this 9-week course, you will be ready to architect and implement innovative uses of AM in your organization, and envision new AM-enabled products, processes, and business models.

In addition to high-quality videos, reading materials, and assessments, you will access:

  • Interactive 3D visualizations of the process and parts discussed in the course

  • Quantitative tools for cost modeling and business model analysis

  • A group of in-depth case-studies, where you’ll choose to solve a real-world design or

    business strategy problem, architected in collaboration with industry experts

  • Cutting-edge digital design tools to work on case studies, including:

    • Onshape: a cloud-based application for collaborative CAD

    • Generate: a platform for generative design for AM

As part of this course, the MIT team has designed and fabricated a series of components that illustrate the capabilities, limitations, and design principles for several AM processes and materials. One such demonstration artifact is a modular assembly of MIT's iconic central dome building, involving interlocking polymer and metal components made using industrial AM technologies. The objects are shown through 4K video capture and high-resolution microscope images. Learners may also download and manipulate the 3D models of the artifacts, and print one or all of the artifacts themselves or via an online service.

Note: By enrolling in this course, you will receive a free 9-week license to two software platforms:

  • Onshape, a cloud-based 3D computer aided design system that works on any web browser,

    phone, or tablet. Once you enroll, MIT will send Onshape the email address you used for

    course registration to facilitate the creation of your Onshape account. Your email will not be

    used by Onshape for marketing purposes.

  • Frustum’s Generate, a cloud-based generative design platform that works via web browser.

    Once you enroll, MIT will send Frustum the email address you used for course registration to

    facilitate the creation of your Frustum account.

Course Preview Webinar

Missed the live webinar from April 5, 2018? The on-demand webinar can be found here:


What You'll Learn

  • The vocabulary necessary to navigate the complex, multivariate landscape of additive manufacturing equipment, materials, and applications.
  • The operating principles of each mainstream AM process and how these principles govern its performance and limitations.
  • The means to identify how, when, and where additive manufacturing can create value across the entire product lifecycle, from design concepts to end-of-life.
  • The skills necessary to design parts for AM that combine engineering intuition with computationally-driven design and process-specific constraints.
  • How to assess the value of an additively manufactured part based on its production cost and performance.
  • How to evaluate the business case for transitioning a product to be additively manufactured vs. traditionally manufactured, in part or in whole; and for the use of additively manufactured tooling and service parts in current and future operations.
  • A cutting-edge perspective on digital transformation and the factory of the future.


John Hart

John Hart Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity at MIT

Stefanie Mueller

Stefanie Mueller Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT

Cem Tasan

Cem Tasan Thomas B. King Career Development Professor of Metallurgy at MIT

Stephen Graves

Stephen Graves Abraham J. Siegel Professor of Management at MIT

Wojciech Matusik

Wojciech Matusik Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT

Emanuel “Ely” Sachs

Emanuel “Ely” Sachs Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT


This course is designed for manufacturing, design, or engineering professionals across industries, in any role that will be influenced by products, tools, and business models enabled by AM. Because of the breadth and depth of the topic and its industrial context, the course is well suited for professionals using AM in an engineering environment, those tasked with leading the implementation of AM in their organizations, and business executives seeking to understand the strategic implications of this innovative technology. Experience or willingness to learn basic computer-aided-design is necessary for the design case study option, but not necessary for the strategy case study option. The faculty also recommend that learners have a basic understanding of math and physics.  


It’s professional development – the MIT way.

MIT xPRO provides professional development opportunities to a global audience via online courses and programs. Our goal is to help accelerate the pace of innovation through courses that solve industry problems. Taught by MIT faculty and leveraging the latest learning technologies, MIT xPRO courses and programs are available to individuals, teams, or as a component of corporate development initiatives.

MIT xPRO learners are not only scientists, engineers, technicians, managers, and consultants – they are change agents. They take the initiative, push boundaries, and define the future.


Learners who successfully complete the course and all assessments will receive a Digital Certificate in Additive Manufacturing from MIT and 4.5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs). This course does not carry MIT credits or grades; however, a 70% overall pass rate is required in order to earn the certificate.


Week 1: Status and Implications of Additive Manufacturing

  • The vocabulary and status of additive manufacturing and its implications.
  • A description of the AM workflow and digital thread.
  • Perspectives from industry leaders and academic experts.

Week 2: Additive Manufacturing Processes

  • An overview of all major AM processes and comparison of their performance.
  • In-depth presentation of the fundamentals, materials, and design guidelines for each process.
  • Step-by-step walkthroughs of process-specific workflows.

Week 3: Applications of Additive Manufacturing

  • A structured presentation of AM across the product lifecycle.
  • AM application examples from aerospace, automotive, medical, consumer goods, and other industries.
  • A methodology for selecting and classifying potential applications of AM.

Weeks 4 and 5: Design for Additive Manufacturing

  • Engineering approaches to design for AM, spanning processes and materials.
  • Design methods for novel geometries, lattices, and infill patterns
  • Software for generative design, build preparation, and process simulation

Week 6: Cost and Value Analysis

  • A framework to quantitatively capture the value of AM versus conventional manufacturing, both in product performance and supply chain impact.
  • A methodology and software tool for AM cost modeling, applied to real-world decision scenarios.
  • Implications of AM on long-term investments and infrastructure.

Weeks 7 and 8: Case Studies

  • Synthesize your new knowledge of AM to solve a real-world problem
  • Connect with peers to evaluate and receive feedback
  • Choice of case studies:
    • Design
    • Redesign an existing functional part for AM to achieve higher performance, reduce weight, or simplify assembly.
    • Use cloud-based computer-aided design and generative design programs to produce your design, and then discuss process selection and additional considerations to produce the final part at scale.
  • Strategy
    • Evaluate a proposed deployment of AM in a production environment.
    • Perform detailed cost modeling given an AM-oriented design and other product requirements, select an AM process and recommend a comprehensive deployment

Week 9: Future of production

  • Assess critical technologies that will complement AM in the factory of the future, incuding robotics, advanced materials, and computation.
  • Identify near, medium- and long-term challenges and opportunities for AM.
  • Build a perspective on product, process, and business model innovations catalyzed by AM


Interested in enrolling a group in this online course? Visit our enterprise page here.


What is the time commitment for this course?

MIT xPRO courses are designed to fit the schedules of busy professionals. The course requires a time commitment of 4-5 hours a week, comprised of videos, reading, and assignments including written activities, software-based activities, and peer-review of other learners’ work.

Each video module is pre-recorded, enabling you to watch it anytime. While you may complete most of the course as quickly as you wish, most learners find it beneficial to adhere to the weekly schedule and participate in the online discussion forum along the way

What are the browser or other technical requirements?

Access to our courses requires an Internet connection, as videos are only available via online streaming and cannot be downloaded for offline viewing. Please take note of your company's restrictions for viewing content and/or firewall settings.

Our courseware works best with current versions of Google Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 11 and above. For the best possible experience, we recommend switching to an up-to-date version of Chrome or Firefox.

We are unable to fully support access with mobile devices at this time. While many components of your courses will function on a mobile device, some may not.

By enrolling in this course, you will receive a free 9-week license to two software platforms:

  • Onshape, a cloud-based 3D computer aided design system that works on any web browser, phone, or tablet. Once you enroll, MIT will send Onshape the email address you used for course registration to facilitate the creation of your Onshape account. Your email will not be used by Onshape for marketing purposes.
  • Frustum’s Generate, a cloud-based generative design platform that works via web browser. Once you enroll, MIT will send Frustum the email address you used for course registration to facilitate the creation of your Frustum account.

    • During the weeks that utilize Onshape and Generate software, learners should avoid using IE and Edge, which are not supported by these softwares. Learners should also avoid mobile browsing during these weeks.
    • Complex CAD will not be used in the course. Having a dedicated graphics card may help performance, but is not necessary for course completion.

Who can register for this course?

US sanctions and export control regulations prevent us from offering this course to learners in or ordinarily residing in the Crimean region of Ukraine, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.

How do I register for the course?

Simply click the "Enroll Now" button above. You may be prompted to first register for a MIT xPRO account if you do not have one already. Complete this process, and then continue with the enrollment process.

How do I register a group of learners?

For a group of five or more individuals, you can pay via invoice. To be invoiced, please email with the number of individuals in your group, and instructions to register will be provided. Please note that our payment terms are net zero, and all invoices must be paid prior to the course start date. Failure to remit payment before the course begins will result in removal from the course. No extensions or exceptions can be granted.

What is the registration deadline?

Individual registrations must be completed by May 11, 2018.

How should I pay?

Individual registrants must complete registrations and pay online with a valid credit card at the time of registration. MIT xPRO accepts globally recognized major credit or debit cards that have a Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express or Diner's Club logo. Invoices will not be generated for individuals nor for groups of fewer than 5 people. However, all learners will receive a payment receipt. Payment must be received in full; payment plans are not available.

When will I get access to the course site?

Instructions for accessing the course site will be sent to all paid registrants via email prior to the course launch date. In order to receive these instructions, please add to your “trusted senders” list. If you have not received these instructions by the course start date, visit your account dashboard to login and start the course on the advertised course start date: April 30, 2018.

I need to cancel my registration. Are there any fees?

Cancellation requests must be submitted to Cancellation requests received after May 11, 2018 are not eligible for a refund. To submit your request, please include your full name and order number in your email request. Refunds will be credited to the credit card used when you registered and may take up to two billing cycles to process.

Can I transfer/defer my registration for another session or course?

Admission and fees paid cannot be deferred to a subsequent session; however, you may cancel your registration and reapply at a later date.

Can someone else attend in my place?

We cannot accommodate any substitution requests at this time. Please review the time commitment section and course schedule.


How do I know if this course is right for me?

Carefully review the course description page, which includes a description of course content, objectives, and target audience, and any required prerequisites.

Are there prerequisites or advance reading materials?

The course is open to any interested participant. No advance reading is required. The faculty strongly recommend that learners have a basic understanding of math and physics.

How long is the course?

The course is held over nine weeks. Videos are pre-recorded, and you can follow along when you find it convenient, as long as you finish all required assignments by July 2, 2018, the last day of the course. There are also a few deadlines within the course. You may complete all assignments before the due date; however, you may find it more beneficial to adhere to a weekly schedule so that you can stay up-to-date with the discussion forum.

How long will the course material be available online?

The materials will be available to registered and paid learners until September 30, 2018. No extensions may be granted. Access to additional software will end on July 2, 2018, but learners will be able to download the results of their design activities for several weeks thereafter.

What reference materials will be available at the end of the course?

Learners will have 90-day access following the course’s end date to the archived course (includes videos, discussion boards, content and learning assets, and Wiki).

What materials will participants keep at the end of the course?

Learners will take away program materials and resources presented in the course to work on in your spare time during or after the course.

Will I receive a Course Certificate?

Learners who successfully complete the course and all assessments will receive a digital certificate from MIT. This course does not carry MIT credits or grades; however, a 65% pass rate is required in order to receive the certificate.

Will I receive MIT credits?

This course does not carry MIT credits. MIT xPRO offers non-credit/non-degree professional programs for a global audience. Participants may not imply or state in any manner, written or oral, that MIT or MIT xPRO is granting academic credit for enrollment in this professional course. Letter grades are not awarded for this course.

Will I earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs)?

Course participants who successfully complete all course requirements are eligible to receive 4.5 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from MIT. CEUs may not be applied toward any MIT undergraduate or graduate-level course.

After I complete this course, will I be an MIT alum?

Participants who successfully complete this course are considered MIT xPRO Alumni. Only those who complete an undergraduate or graduate degree are considered MIT alumni.

Are video captions available?

Each video for this course has been transcribed and the text can be found on the right side of the video when the captions function is turned on. Synchronized transcripts allow students to follow along with the video and navigate to a specific section of the video by clicking the transcript text. Students can use transcripts of media-based learning materials for study and review. In addition, we include a complete course transcript in a single PDF file that allows for easy reference.

I have never taken a course on the edX platform before. What can I do to prepare?

Prior to the first day of class, participants can take a demonstration course on that was built specifically to help students become more familiar with taking a course on the edX platform.