3D Printing: An Introduction

Author: Stephanie Torta
Publisher: Mercury Learning
Date: December 2018
Pages: 370
ISBN: 978-1683922094
Print: 1683922093
Kindle: B07NMTKLXQ
Audience: Users of 3D printers
Rating: 3
Reviewer: Harry Fairhead
3D printers have gone from the latest thing to very useful things, but we still need introductions.

You don't read much about 3D printers these days - the hype has gone out of the technology, but 3D printers are still useful and central to many DIY developments. Where would we be if we couldn't print a novel case for a new piece of IoT hardware or print something to replace a broken part. Yes the hype may have cooled, but 3D printing is still a revolution underway.

A book introducing 3D printing might be a bit late on the scene, but there are plenty of people still on the edge of the technology who could do with a something to get them started.

Despite the title it doesn't really do a good job of leading the beginner though the minefield of getting started. It is what I think of as a "let's list everything" book. These used to be very common back in the days when technical books on computers would fly off the shelves even if they were rubbish. You would often find a book called say "Guide To X"  and when you opened the book what you found were very dry chapters listing all of the standards relating to X and all of the variations on X that were practically' and often impractically' possible. It was a sort of thought exercise in imagining what X could be. 

This particular book isn't as bad as this, but it is of the same general type especially Part 1. This first part is for someone who wants to know about 3D printing, but not necessarily actually get their hands dirty doing it. Chapter 1 starts out with an overview and you immediately get a the sort of semi-academic or management-directed tone. Chapter 2 is about printer use in industry and again it is management-oriented.  Chapter 3 is about printers in schools and again it's a bit hands-off.

Chapter 4 DIY 3D printing is the first that sounds like it might tell you how to get started with printing, but no - it skirts around the problem by talking about why and when you should consider 3D printing. Chapter 5 moves on to look at types of 3D printer and here the book is at its listy-est. For me Chapter 6 was the best because its list was actually useful. It goes though the different types of filament you can print with and I learned about some of the weirder possibilities. Chapters 7, 8 and 9 continue in a hands-off sort of way to consider slicing, and getting started in general.

 

Part II is much more practically-oriented, but it still seems to keep away from the actual sharp end of the task. Chapter 10 is about calibration - it leans toward the practical, but it still tends towards lists rather than informal chatty advice. Chapter 11 deals with calibrating filaments and there is some good advice lurking in here. Chapter 12 is an overview of what can go wrong and Chapter 13 is about finishing and that's the end of this part of the book as well.

Part 3 is titled "Knowledge base" and is a collection of guides to buying and modifying a printer and the maker community. It's is back to being "listy".

Conclusion

This isn't a completely useless book and there are some nice hints and tips and the photos of prints and printers that run through it are very nice to look at. However, if we are talking about getting to grips with 3D printing it is really only Part 2 that is valuable and this constitutes what would be pamphlet, about 80 pages, if Parts 1 and 3 were stripped out. There seems to be not enough to explain about actually how to 3D-print to fill a reasonably size book. There are some good things in this book, but there is also a lot of waffle that you could mostly do without. Buy it if you dream of getting involved in 3D printing, but probably won't actually get round to it - the photos are nice.

 

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Pages: 384
ISBN: 978-0321918963
Print: 0321918967
Kindle: B00GY49DHW
Audience: Novice to intermediate JavaScript programmers
Rating: 4.5
Reviewer: Ian Elliot

 

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Author: Ruth Suehle & Tom Callaway
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pages: 364
ISBN: 9781449362348
Print: 1449362346
Kindle: B00KBAS0CE
Audience: Pi enthusiasts, but not beginners
Rating: 5
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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 July 2019 )