The 3D Printing Handbook - Review

3D Hubs have done it again, this time with their informative, easy-to-read 3D Printing Handbook.

How do you make parts with half the weight but twice the strength of machined parts?  How is the 3D printing industry helping over 10m people to hear better?  How can you save over 250.000 Euros for your manufacturing plant?  The answers could be in 3D Hubs’ new book.

What I love about this book is the layout which makes it easy to use as a reference book.  Chapters are clearly labelled on each page, there are notes in the margins and the text is in digestible sections, tables or diagrams.

The book is split into 3 parts:

  1. 3D printing technologies and materials
  2. Designing for 3D printing
  3. Applications of 3D printing

In Part 1, technologies and materials, each of the 6 main 3D printing technologies are explained in detail with pictograms and photos, using straight-forward, no-jargon language.  Once you have those basics, the content of the chapters is plainly signposted.  It also cleverly reinforces the technology so it becomes clear in the reader’s mind.

3D Hubs explains each technology in more detail – what materials are required, how supports work, limitations, post-production, uses and much more.  There are lots of handy tips and advice and even some charts to help you decide the most appropriate technique for your job. 

Part 2, designing for 3D printing, explains how to prepare something to be 3D printed.    

Each technology has different requirements so a chapter is dedicated to each one.  Considerations when designing parts to be 3D printed are discussed and there is a summary table at the back of all the sections. 

Part 3, applications, begins with a summary of how to actually obtain your design – there is a handy table listing the most popular CAD packages as well as the basics of scanning, topology and reverse engineering.  This is followed by some case studies of how each of the 3D printing technologies is used.  These are not only interesting but will help the reader see how 3D printing might apply in their situation.

I found much of the information quite basic – this is part of the appeal for a novice.  Whilst the book is aimed at beginners, seasoned 3D-ers will find some parts useful, too.  I would have liked to have seen a little more information in Chapter 18 about tools for making 3D designs.  For example, more details on the CAD packages, maybe a decision tool similar to those earlier in the book and a suggested workflow would be helpful.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in 3D printing.  I certainly learned more about the parts of the industry I am not involved with.  Well done to Ben, Filemon and Brian for bringing this book together in an interesting, appealing and engaging format. 

3D Hubs is a highly innovative company which empowers people and organisations.  They are helping to move the industry forward and I hope they will continue to be a leader.  I look forward to seeing the launch of the materials database and all their future projects and endeavours.

I obtained my copy of the 3D Printing Handbook from the Formnext show in Frankfurt but you can get your copy from HERE