Instructor Exam

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First One

Instructor Exam

The instructor exam covers the ability to build a 3D printer, run the 3d printer, and design one's own printing files - all in a collaboration-maximizing workflow. More specifically, the instructor demonstrates the ability to build the D3D Universal 3D printer from a basic parts kit, use FreeCAD open source CAD software effectively to design objects for 3D printing files, print 3D objects in plastic successfully with Lulzbot Cura software, and add their design files to the OSE Wiki in a Part Library format. In addition, the Instructor must show proficiency in a collaborative design workflow that involves uploading and downloading files to part libraries, using a workflow that can scale to large teams working in parallel. The specific exam that tests for these abilities is shown below.

Jeremy Drost is the first person to get certified according to the Instructor Exam. Starting from never have built a printer before, and without prior FreeCAD training, it took Jeremy only 3 weeks to get certified as an OSE STEAM Camp Basic Level Instructor - after attending the 9-day January 2020 OSE Steam Camp remotely. While there is a lot of content to be learned - Jeremy has shown that this can be done if one has a good level of interest and motivation - in a very short time.


Instructors are vetted for technical skill, ability to teach, and ability to collaborate.

The generic exam for the technical skill for any instructor interested in teaching the Open Source Microfactory STEAM Camp is to perform the following 5 steps, all within a 5-10 minute time budget including the print. This exercise embodies much of the OSE development workflow, and is required of any instructor who is interested in teaching with OSE:

  1. Design a 3D CAD object using FreeCAD v0.16, with a basic sketch extruded into a 3D object - putting a 3D feature on that object, and putting another 3D feature on that feature.
  2. Exporting and slicing for printing using the D3D Universal 3D Printer with its stock 1.2 mm nozzle using Lulzbot Cura slicing software using OSE Linux, either live or installed.
  3. Printing the object successfully, verifying that first layer adhesion is correct by using live correction of an automatic bed leveling procedure.
  4. Uploading the generated CAD object to one's Work Log, using a Part Library Template which also displays the visual history of the part. See samples of Part Libraries at D3D Universal.
  5. Using Merge Workflow to merge one's file into any other file of one's choice, and uploading that to one's work log as the second entry in their part library. This demonstrates the ability to combine individual parts into assemblies, which is a core aspect of large-scale, collaborative, public product development.

This requires access to a D3D Universal multipurpose CNC machine, which can be done either by building from its detailed BOM at the D3D Universal wiki page, or by purchasing a kit from us on our Product Page.

Additional Technical Skill

In addition to building a 3D printer, each instructor must be able to troubleshoot a printer completely. Each instructor is expected to hone their skills in this by ongoing training and contribution to D3D Universal Troubleshooting Guide and to 3D_Printer_Quality_Control. Since OSE engages in continuing product development, each instructor is expected to continue learning from and refining of the troubleshooting and quality control content.

Teaching OSE STEAM Camps

We have run 2, 3, 4, and 9 day STEAM Camps, and the D3D Universal 3D printer build is typically a part of them. The longer STEAM Camp, the 9 day version - also includes other topics, including microcontrollers, coding, electronics, CNC hole drilling, pen plotting, and other topics. For Instructors to teach in the full STEAM Camp, these skills are also required.

Suggested Onboarding Procedure

The skill set to be demonstrated in the above exam may require a significant learning curve, depending on familiarity with 3D printing, open source design software, and comfort with using collaboratively-edited wikis. For individuals with high technical skill, it may be possible to pass the test by independent study. We still encourage others with limited technical skill sets to pursue the teaching opportunity. This may be done most effectively by participating in one of our workshops as an Instructor-in-Training, which involves a verbal agreement prior to any workshop that one is interested in teaching the STEAM camps within a 6 month period of attending the Open Source Microfactory STEAM Camp as an Instructor-in-Training.


Instructors-in-training are assessed for their near and long-term interests in the Open Source Microfactory STEAM Camp program. The process for becoming an official Instructor-in-Training is to fill out our assessment form, register for an Open Source Microfactory STEAM Camp near you, and participating in additional STEAM Camp Instructor after-hours sessions - 3 one hour evening sessions during a STEAM Camp. The evening sessions delve into: (1) selecting an event date according to the STEAM Camp Schedule, logistics and collaboration infrastructure for the event for documentation and on-site support; (2) curriculum development commitments;(3) and discussing a marketing strategy for the event.