Advances in Computer-Aided Design for Manufacturing

Advances in CAD

The manufacturing landscape has changed significantly with the development of modern technologies in additive manufacturing. While 3D printing first made its impact in rapid prototyping during the design process, it's now evolved into an important component of manufacturing itself. This course will teach participants how to leverage modern CAD technologies in the product design process for additive manufacturing methods. Attendees will become familiar with the entire CAD pipeline for additive manufacturing, from developing a concept to designing a three-dimensional surface or volume.

The course covers collaborative design, virtual simulation, numerical optimization for automatic design, generative modeling (e.g., topology optimization), and the hardware-software interface. The instructors will also overview additive manufacturing hardware and materials.

The course balances high-level discussion with hands-on experience using a selected set of tools. Participants will be exposed to new possibilities at the interface between CAD and additive manufacturing and will see how these technologies accelerate the R&D cycle. The course will conclude with talks by industry experts who design CAD tools and apply them to engineering projects. Instructors will also facilitate connections to the local additive manufacturing community.

Lead Instructor(s): 

Wojciech Matusik
Justin Solomon



Course Length: 

5 Days

Course Fee: 





  • Closed

It is highly recommended that you apply for a course at least 6-8 weeks before the start date to guarantee there will be space available. After that date you may be placed on a waitlist. Courses with low enrollment may be cancelled up to 4 weeks before start date if sufficient enrollments are not met. If you are able to access the online application form, then registration for that particular course is still open.

This course will not be offered in 2017. Sign up for our Email list to receive program updates.

Participant Takeaways: 

  • Understanding and manipulating the assorted expressions of geometry in a CAD system as it applies to additive manufacturing
  • Understanding the underpinnings of and experiment with assorted software/algorithms for simulating physical objects before they are manufactured
  • Formulating optimization problems for improving a design based on coupling with simulation, constraints of additive manufacturing hardware, and design objectives
  • Writing software for translating a high-level surface or volume representation into a printable object suitable for communication to hardware
  • Identifying drawbacks of assorted additive manufacturing hardware and the potential disconnect between a digitally-designed object and its printed counterpart
  • Experiencing demonstrations of assorted CAD-driven manufacturing pipelines firsthand
  • Recognizing assorted challenges of implementing and using CAD within larger engineering pipelines through case studies presented by industry members

Who Should Attend: 

This course is designed for research scientists, engineers, developers, designers, and project managers in industries that are involved in translating concepts to physical objects/products. Relevant areas include the automotive industry, robotics, aerospace, defense, mechanical engineering, product design, computer graphics, shipbuilding, biomedical engineering, textiles, prosthetics manufacturing. Experience with specific CAD software and additive manufacturing is not needed.


Laptops or tablets with the ability to run Onshape (a full-cloud CAD system) are required for this course.

Program Outline: 

Day 1: Modeling for additive manufacturing

  • Modeling surfaces (NURBS)
  • Modeling volumes
  • Points, meshes, and acquisition methods
  • Parametric modeling
  • Laboratory: Designing the boundary representation of a simple object
  • Evening reception for students, faculty, and Boston-area CAD engineers

Day 2: Simulation for additive manufacturing

  • Basics of mechanics
  • Modeling materials
  • Finite element method
  • Multiphysics simulation
  • Laboratory: Simulation of rigid bodies and fluids

Day 3: Design optimization for additive manufacturing

  • Introduction to optimization
  • Optimization of parametric models
  • Topology optimization
  • Laboratory: Topology optimization for minimum compliance
  • Evening: Team engineering challenge combining optimization, simulation, and design

Day 4: The hardware--software interface for additive manufacturing

  • Additive manufacturing hardware and materials
  • Low-level software/algorithms for manufacturing pipelines
  • Demonstration of hardware and software tools
  • Lab tours at MIT

Day 5: Interactive case study

  • An interactive demonstration of the complete workflow
         Morning: Product design, simulation/verification
         Afternoon: Optimization and fabrication
  • Guest speakers from industry

Course Schedule: 

View 2017 course schedule (pdf)

This course runs 9:00 am - 4:30 pm Monday through Friday.

There will be a networking reception on Monday evening, and a team engineering challenge on Wednesday evening.



This course takes place on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We can also offer this course for groups of employees at your location. Please complete the Custom Programs request form for further details.


Fundamentals: Core concepts, understandings, and tools (30%) 30
Latest Developments: Recent advances and future trends (30%) 30
Industry Applications: Linking theory and real-world (40%) 40

Delivery Methods: 

Lecture: Delivery of material in a lecture format (65%) 65
Labs: Demonstrations, experiments, simulations (35%) 35


Introductory: Appropriate for a general audience (50%) 50
Specialized: Assumes experience in practice area or field (50%) 50