From Ideas To Objects: 3D Printing and Modeling courses, on campus and online.

We started as the first business school based MakerLab in early 2013 and have had thousands of students, faculty,staff, community members, small businesses, and corporates learn about 'making'. We have had over 21,000 hours of printing done in the lab, and were lucky to get a new year gift of new printers with our partnership with Ultimaker. We have had a few new partners support our lab, notable among them being Autodesk and Caterpillar .

We held over a 100 workshops in 2016, held our first high school robotics and 3D printing workshop in summer 2015 and a new Design Thinking workshop for kids in summer 2016, and supported the MakerGirls run another 80 workshops for encouraging girls age 7-11 consider careers in STEM. We had our first conference on 3D printing in Fall 2015, with presentations by industry leaders and academics. We also welcomed several new Guru's to the Lab in Fall 2017, and they are the ones who deserve the credit for our achievements. Finally, we are offering two new sessions of the full semester courses on Making Things and Digital Making to our campus students every Spring.

However, our courses/workshops and our outreach are constrained by the physical space we have at the lab and what a few of us can do in terms of outreach. To address this constraint, we are taking 3D Printing and Modeling education online, to the world.

The University of Illinois has been an innovator in the Massive Open Online Education space, with several courses on 'tap' or on demand 24x7. The College of Business has launched the Online MBA, and we have had great success with our first offering in Digital Marketing. The first course in the series "Marketing in a Digital World" was ranked in the top 10 courses on Coursera for 2015, 

We decided to use this platform for spreading 3D Printing and Modeling to the world. We are fortunate to have Ultimaker as a partner for the course on Hardware and Autodesk for the course on Software. The two co-founders of the lab, Aric Rindfleisch and Vishal Sachdev,  will be offering the first two courses exploring the 3D Printing revolution and applications, followed by Jeff Smith @Autodesk for the course on Software or 3D Modeling covering sketchbook (for 2D sketching), tinkercad and Fusion 360( for 3d Modeling). Matt Griffin from Ultimaker will lead the hardware course, where students will learn about how the technology works, and even learn how to assemble/teardown 3D printers, if they are interested. These four courses will be followed by a capstone project, where students will apply their learning to 'make' something digitally. We will be partnering up with 3D hubs, to provide our learners access to thousands of printers globally, and shapeways.

We are building this innovative corporate/academic partnership to deliver an online course, that also allows users to bring their ideas to life as physical objects.

Updates at

Making Things

The Making things course has been offered every spring since 2014 and will continue. The "Making things" course is  offered by Dr. Aric Rindfleisch. Course Code is BADM 331. The goal of this course is to give students a hands-on experience making things. Since this is a hands-on course, there will be no exams and few lectures. Instead, we will engage in experiential learning, trial and error, and sharing our ideas with others. Specifically, students will plan, design, make, and market a new thing. Their grade will be largely based on the market success of the thing they make. Have a look at what the students made last year. The students  are a balanced mix from business, engineering, and art & design. This course has become quite popular, and we have three times as many applications as seats.

Updates from the course are available on the Making Things course page.

How to Apply: The next session in the upcoming Spring semester , will be on Wednesdays 5:00 to 7:50 pm, in BIF 3030, the MakerLab.   If you are an Illinois undergraduate student and interested in taking the class, please send your resume to the instructor( . The Applications are being accepted till November 15th. We get about three applicants for each spot(21 seats). 

Digital Making Seminar

The third industrial revolution is upon us, and we have the ability to create functional products on our desktop by using some inexpensive and accessible tools. This course will help students get trained on many of these tools and technologies and make things. We will explore 3D scanning, modeling and printing to rapidly prototype products. We will experiment with open hardware /micro-controllers such as arduinos  and smaller form factors for e-textiles, to explore the concept of the internet of things. We will also have guest lectures in entrepreneurship, design thinking, digital making and some stories from passionate makers from the community and beyond.This new seminar course is being offered by Dr. Vishal Sachdev. Course Code is BADM 357.

Updates from the course and more details are available on the Digital Making Course page. 

How to Apply: The class is usually offered in the Spring.   If you are an Illinois undergraduate student and interested in taking the class, please send your resume to the instructor( in Fall, with a short note explaining your interest in the course and any skills/passions in making that you bring to the course. Resumes are accepted till 15th November.

We had the opportunity to interview Zach Kaplan, Founder and CEO of Inventables, about the need for making skills in the marketplace today, and he had some good words of advice for students in our courses. He is also on our advisory board.