Make: Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing

The 3D printing revolution is well upon us, with new machines appearing at an amazing rate. With the abundance of information and options out there, how are makers to choose the 3D printer that’s right for them? MAKE is here to help, with our Make: Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing. We brought 16 of the top printers to our headquarters and hosted a weekend-long printer shootout staffed by the editors of MAKE and a number of luminaries in the field. We documented out-of-box experiences and subjected the printers to a number of print and torture tests. This issue presents our findings for you in a clear, concise manner.

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Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing, and the Coming Stock Market Boom

We’re at the dawn of a new era: additive manufacturing allows us to create objects by programming and then printing them layer by layer.

The way we make things hasn’t changed much since the days of a stone axe, made by bashing two rocks against one another. We take something big and make it useful by cutting, chiseling, drilling, and otherwise reducing it. We accept a huge amount of waste and severe technical limitations: for example, it may be impossible to drill an S-shaped passage through a solid piece of material.

Now, think of printing a page on a dot-matrix printer, which delivers a multitude of color dots to a blank page. Imagine that this printer works in 3-D, printing one level on top of another, building a three-dimensional object, layer by layer.

Such technology already exists; you can already buy and use a 3-D printer.

This technology is overturning the key manufacturing principle of the past million years. Our ability to create new objects will soon be limited only by our ability to program them. We can create objects that are as complex on the inside as on the outside.

For example, rather than driving to the hardware store to buy a wrench, we’ll have a 3D printer and download a file to print the tool we need. Not only will we save energy, we’ll need to buy less: you won’t have to get a complete socket set when all you need is a single size. Manufacturing will return to the US since it will cost roughly the same to print something in Detroit as in China but the shipping cost will be lower and time will be saved.

The coming technological revolution will change our lives. Along the way it’ll fuel a stock market boom. This e-book will help prepare you for the great ride ahead and introduce you to the stocks of this looming bull market.

SECOND EXPANDED EDITION, OCTOBER 2012 adds new chapters on:home-building, the military, companies outside the US and unlisted companies in the US.

While additions are sprinkled throughout this book, the expanded chapters are: The tipping point, A meeting with a founding father, Medicine and dentistry, and The AM stocks to watch. All stock charts have been updated to reflect current market action. There are nearly 40 illustrations and links to a dozen videos.

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Practical 3D Printers: The Science and Art of 3D Printing

Desktop or DIY 3D printers are devices you can either buy preassembled as a kit, or build from a collection of parts to design and print physical objects including replacement household parts, custom toys, and even art, science, or engineering projects. Maybe you have one, or maybe you’re thinking about buying or building one. 

Practical 3D Printers takes you beyond how to build a 3D printer, to calibrating, customizing, and creating amazing models, including 3D printed text, a warship model, a robot platform, windup toys, and arcade-inspired alien invaders. You’ll learn about the different types of personal 3D printers and how they work; from the MakerBot to the RepRap printers like the Huxley and Mendel, as well as the whiteAnt CNC featured in the Apress book Printing in Plastic.

You’ll discover how easy it is to find and design 3D models using web-based 3D modeling, and even how to create a 3D model from a 2D image. After learning the basics, this book will walk you through building multi-part models with a steampunk warship project, working with meshes to build your own action heroes, and creating an autonomous robot chassis. Finally, you’ll find even more bonus projects to build, including wind-up walkers, faceted vases for the home, and a handful of useful upgrades to modify and improve your 3D printer.

What you’ll learn

  • The various types of 3D printers, what they have in common, and what sets each one apart
  • The printer toolchain, including controllers and printer interfaces
  • The art of calibrating your printer
  • How to find and create 3D models to print, including using Google Sketchup
  • How to create multipart models and meshes
  • How to upgrade both the mechanical and electronic parts in your printer

Who this book is for

Electronics enthusiasts, tinkerers, artists, and everyone who wants to use their 3D printer to do more than make more 3D printers.

Table of Contents

Ch. 1: A World of 3D Printers

Ch. 2: 3D Printer Toolchain

Ch. 3: Calibrating Your Printer

Ch. 4: 3D Models From The Cloud

Ch. 5: 3D Haiku

Ch. 6: Steampunk Warship

Ch. 7: Action Hero Mashups

Ch. 8: Mini Sumo Projetcs

Ch. 9: Bonus Round 1: More Projects

Ch. 10: Bonus Round 2: Upgrades

Appendix A: Printing Tips

Appendix B: Resources

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