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Practical 3D printers : the science and art of 3D printing
Evans B., Apress, Berkeley, CA, 2012. 332 pp.  Type: Book (978-1-430243-92-2)
Date Reviewed: Jan 24 2013

If you are interested in rapidly gaining an understanding of low-cost 3D printing technologies, and the use of freely available 3D design software, then this book will be of value to you. On each page, the author conveys his knowledge of and enthusiasm for the subject.

The initial chapters of the book focus on low-cost 3D printing hardware. Only very basic technical knowledge is assumed. Subsequent chapters focus on software packages. In discussing software, the author primarily focuses on key features, those needed at the outset to get started. The writing avoids detailed discussion. A pragmatic practitioner’s approach is adopted throughout the work. The reader is introduced to software such as SketchUp, Inkscape, OpenSCAD, and the like. SketchUp doesn’t support the stereolithography (STL) file format used by 3D printers. However, the book explains how, in just a few minutes, the reader can download and install a plug-in that immediately makes SketchUp a simple and useful tool for 3D printing.

In the process of introducing the reader to the various software packages, the author makes use of a number of interesting designs that highlight key features and methodologies. Additionally, the reader will learn how to download and share 3D designs, and, in the process, will be introduced to a community of people who are committed to sharing their knowledge, experience, and creative work.

Useful illustrations are provided extensively throughout the book, although some of these would benefit from color printing. In terms of the 3D printing technologies, the author provides useful information concerning the selection of ready-to-go printers versus kit-set printers, and includes discussion on designing and implementing one’s own printer. Additionally, optimization and alignment issues are considered. The book concludes with information about troubleshooting at both the printer and the 3D design levels.

Some of the content within the book will quickly become dated. On the other hand, much of the content focuses on more fundamental issues, which will make the book a more longstanding resource. This title is suitable for a wide range of readers and applications, and is worth the read.

Reviewer:  Barry Blundell Review #: CR140862 (1305-0383)
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General (K.8.0 )
Data Terminals And Printers (B.4.2 ... )
Hardware (K.8.2 )
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