Educational Outreach

3D Printing

student demonstration


Learning Outcomes

3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes.  In this case study, you will be working as a mechanical engineer for NASA.  You will be challenged to design and create an item using a 3D printing pen.  By the end of the lesson, you should be able to List STEM Careers that involve Mechanical Engineering, operate 3D printing tool and create a 3D prototype that can be used in mechanical engineering


3D pen
Downloadable 3D Printing Lesson Plan

How It Works

You are a mechanical engineer working for NASA in Florida.

Currently, you are on the International Space Station (ISS), 254 miles from Earth.
Although a rocket can transport astronauts into space in less than 10 minutes, it takes hours, and even days, to rendezvous with the International Space Station.
Despite being relatively close, the ISS is traveling at more than 17,000 miles per hour in a circular orbit around Earth. Anything moving that fast, whether in space or on the ground, is going to be hard to catch.

While doing quality control checks, the safety officer of your crew finds a damaged gear on the International Space Station (ISS). There are no replacement parts and you need this gear in order for anyone to enter or leave the ISS. To complicate things, you do not have the proper tools to remove the damaged gear.


  1. Download the 3D Printing Lesson Plan
  2. Plan
  3. Design
  4. Test

Additional Information