3D printing technicians manufacture products, including biomedical implants, car parts, aerospace components and fashion accessories.
Salary Range: £18,000 to £30,000
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or a degree in a relevant subject like:
- 3D design
- product design
- materials science
You’ll usually need:
- 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could take a course in creative design, model making or engineering. This could help you to find a job with a manufacturing or 3D printing company. Courses include:
- Level 2 Certificate in Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing
- Level 3 Certificate in 3D Design
- Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Technology
- T level in Digital Production, Design and Development
You may need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and computing
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level
You could do an advanced apprenticeship in digital engineering.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You may be able to start as an assistant in a 3D print workshop and take training on the job to become a technician. Skills and qualifications in model making, printing, technology or design will be useful.
Learn more about the basics of 3D printing.
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
- knowledge of engineering science and technology
- the ability to operate and control equipment
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- analytical thinking skills
- the ability to work well with others
- knowledge of maths
- the ability to analyse quality or performance
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- taking customer orders and giving job quotes
- advising customers on which materials to use
- creating digital models and prototypes based on customer requirements
- operating 3D scanning and printing machinery
- applying finishes to products
- checking quality
- servicing and repairing equipment
You could work at a manufacturing plant, in a factory or at a research facility.
Your working environment may be noisy.
You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.
You could move into research, investigating new materials for use in 3D printing and how to make them commercially workable. You could also train to work in 3D printing software and hardware development.
You might work for a company that specialises in printing particular items, for example custom-made prosthetics, construction prototypes, or models of archaeological remains and historical buildings.
There are also opportunities in print equipment sales and training.