3D Printing Blueprints Full Review

3D Printing Blueprints by Joe Larson, Packt Publishing
(click to go to the publisher's website)

Impressions

With literally dozens of books on 3d printing on the market yet another one has to be something of quality to be able to compete and indeed 3D Printing Blueprints does offer quality.

It has many pros:

  • clear writing style
  • good illustrations, in color, illustrating each step
  • good coverage of concepts; modelling, material constraints, copying real life objects, designing reusable components, creating multiple component designs

Of course there are some cons:

  • it's a bit short, more examples would help getting key concepts across even better
  • focus is almost exclusively on makerbot and plastics (I.e home printing) while outsourcing the printing itself to an external printshop which might do materials like glass or metal is glossed over
  • sometimes the illustrations are too wide for the format (I read the epub version with Aldiko on a 10" tablet so that shouldn't have occured)

What I didn't get entirely is why Blender was chosen as a modelling program. Yes it is great at modelling but many really useful features for 3d printing where not used, like assigning units (metric or imperial) or using the solidify operator, And while the introduction to basic modeling was adequate, if you keep to simple modelling a program with a gentler learning curve than Blender like for example Wings3d might have been a better choice. Of course the newest Blender revisions have addons specifically designed to help in getting your model ready for 3D printing but these are not covered in the book.

On the other hand the chapter on designing a posable teddy bear is very in depth indeed and does make use of the fairly new skin operator and some of the dynamic topology features in sculpting. It is a good introduction to skinning a stick figure and sculpting the result (and the result is cute :-).

Conlusion

So in the end, not a bad book at all if you want to give 3d printing a go and want to do more than just download and print stuff other people have designed.

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