Print a Part with Chicago EDT!

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Welcome to Chicago EDT’s Print a Part program!

This outreach program gives future engineers the opportunity to design a 3″ x 3″ x 3″ 3D printed part and receive it FOR FREE!

In order to participate in Print a Part, you will need a computer with Internet access and an email address.


Questions? Email


PART 1: Designing Parts Using CAD

Part 1 for the EDT Challenge involves using CAD software to design parts that will later be 3D printed. If you have no experience with CAD or 3D printing, that’s okay! We will provide the tools you need to get started:


What is CAD? CAD stands for Computer Aided Design. CAD software allows engineers (or future engineers!) to draft designs and diagrams for new products.


How much is CAD software? CAD software can range in prices as it gets more complex, however, there are a lot of free software available online like TinkerCAD.


What if I have no experience? That’s okay! TinkerCAD is user-friendly and there are plenty of tutorials online. We recommend checking out


Here are some guidelines for Print a Part with Chicago EDT. In design engineering, these are called constraints.

  • The part must be 3” or less in length, 3” or less in width, 3” or less in height.
  • The part must be created using TinkerCAD’s basic shapes. (In TinkerCAD, you can design parts using LEGO or Minecraft blocks, but these will not be accepted to print)
  • The part must be appropriate. Ask yourself: Would your design be something you would want your parents or teachers to see?
  • The part must be safe. Keep in mind that 3D printed plastic can splinter or shatter, so make sure to keep your parts away from young children and animals. Chicago EDT is not responsible for any harm done as a result of your part. We will do our best to give you feedback on making your part safe!


If your part does not meet one or more of these requirements, we will send you an email explaining what needs to be changed. Feel free to ask us questions!


Part 2: Write a paragraph about your design

Engineers have to use documentation to ensure that their ideas can be understood by every person involved. Engineers work with machinists, welders, designers, marketers, and customers, so their work must be easy to understand, even to a person without an engineering background.


When writing the paragraph about your part, consider the following questions:

  • What inspired you to make this part?
  • What will you use this part for?
  • Are you making this part for yourself or someone else?
  • Why did you choose to make your part a certain shape?
  • Why did you choose to make your part a certain color?


Chicago EDT is capable of printing parts in these colors:








Cool Gray

Warm Gray



Requirements/Constraints for the paragraph

  • The paragraph must include your name, the address you would like us to send your part to, and the desired color of your part.
  • The paragraph must describe your part.
  • The paragraph must describe your thought process behind making the part.
  • The paragraph must use full sentences.
  • The paragraph must have appropriate language.


If your paragraph does not meet one or more of these requirements, we will send you an email explaining what needs to be changed. Feel free to ask us questions!


If you are interested to see the type of documentation that Chicago EDT uses, check out the systems engineering report written for the Robotic Mining Competition in 2016. (click here)


Part 3: Send us your files

Once you have created a part that fits the requirements listed in Part 1, follow these instructions.

  1. Rename your part to follow this format:

[your first name][your last name][brief description]


For example, if somebody named Isaac Newton created an apple part, he would name his part



This will help us keep track of your part.


To rename your part, click on the name that TinkerCAD randomly assigns to your part

The text will highlight and you will be able to rename your part.

  1. Export your part to STL.

STL is a filetype that is used for 3D printers. When typing an essay, you might save your document as a .docx file if you use Microsoft Word, but you would save a Powerpoint as a .ppt file. Similarly, 3D printers require STL files because of the information stored in an STL file.


In TinkerCAD, you will see this:

Click on “Export”. A new menu will pop up.

Make sure you are in the “Download” tab. Click on “Everything in the design” and then click “.STL”. Your computer will ask you if you would like to open or save the file, click on “Save File”. Most likely, the part will be saved to your “Downloads” folder.


To send us your paragraph, you will need to convert it to a pdf so it is easy to view for us. (For the example given, Isaac Newton would name his paragraph “IsaacNewtonApple”)


If you are using Microsoft Word, press “File” and “Export” and Press “Create PDF/XPS Document”.

If you are using Google Docs, press “File” and then “Download As” and then “PDF Document”


If you are using any other type of word processor, there will probably be an option to export to PDF under “File”


To send your files, you will need an email address.

In Gmail (and almost every email service), there will be a paperclip icon at the bottom of the email. Once you click on it, find your STL file and paragraph PDF on your computer.

Once you locate the files, attach them to the email. Make the subject of your email “Print a Part” and send the email to Your email should look like this:


Lisa’s Heart Necklace Pendant


Click here for a video tutorial:


Information for Parents/Teachers

All submissions will be sent to, which is Chicago EDT’s admin account. This account is run by UIC students.

All information (including names of students, addresses etc) will be handled with the utmost security and will not be distributed.

We completely understand if you do not want to put down an address — send us an email if you have any concerns!


Looking for other free STEM resources? Visit: