Getting Started with 3D Printing: A Hands-on Guide to the Hardware, Software, and Services That Make the 3D Printing Ecosystem

Make: Getting Started with 3D Printing, Second Edition, is a practical, informative, and inspiring book that guides readers step-by-step through understanding this new manufacturing technology. The book includes fundamental topics such as a short history of 3D printing, the best hardware and software choices, hands-on CAD tutorial exercises, and examples of how to apply 3D printing to personal life, professional work, and new business opportunities. The second edition provides updated information and features exciting new chapters on troubleshooting your CAD and 3D print models. Also included are new visual guides and a new section for businesses. For every maker, would-be-maker and professional who is interested, or is confused, or who wants to get started in 3D printing today, this book offers methodical information that can be read, digested, and put into practice immediately!

The book is written in a casual, conversational style. It is easily accessible to those who have no prior knowledge in 3D printing, yet the book’s message is solidly practical, technically accurate, and consumer-relevant. The chapters include contemporary, real-life learning exercises and insights for how to buy, use and maintain 3D printers. It also covers free 3D modeling software, as well as 3D printing services for those who don’t want to immediately invest in the purchase of a 3D printer. Particular focus is placed on free and paid resources, the various choices available in 3D printing, and tutorials and troubleshooting guides.

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Shining 3D Shines On With New Headquarters, 3D Printing Ecosystem

Mention the name Shining 3D, and most people’s minds will probably go immediately to the EinScan line of 3D scanners – that has been, after all, the Chinese company’s major focus and most talked-about product over the last few years. Shining 3D is much more than the EinScan, however; in fact, they’ve been a prolific fixture in 3D printing and scanning for more than a decade. Shining 3D’s star doesn’t appear to be fading anytime soon, as they’ve been expanding like crazy lately. They recently became the first Chinese 3D company to move into the Japanese market, and now they’ve redone their Hangzhou, China headquarters, making them bigger and better to accommodate their growing business.


The new facility, which will hold its official opening ceremony tomorrow, May 25, has a gigantic 25,000-square meter floor with areas dedicated to research and development, manufacturing, sales, service, education, customer experience and interaction. It’s now the largest 3D printing innovation center in China, and it also holds the distinction of being the first company in the newly launched Zhejiang 3D Industrial Zone.

ecosystemThe new headquarters mark more than just a new home for the growing company. In addition to their physical expansion, Shining 3D is also rolling out a host of new services and features dubbed “the Shining 3D printing ecosystem.” Let’s take a look at a few of the features:

  • Internet + is what Shining 3D calls their online development strategy. The company is introducing two 3D cloud platforms: 3DKer, which already features several downloadable models and invites users to upload their own; and 3dzao, a 3D printing service bureau. 3DKer, which looks sort of like a Chinese Pinshape, also plans to offer online 3D printing classes and competitions.
  • 3D Scanning and 3D Printing Equipment: encompasses the whole of Shining 3D’s scanner and printer products, which, with over 230 R&D professionals employed at the new headquarters, should only continue to grow and improve.
  • Materials: the company will also be offering PLA filament, SLA resins, biomaterials and more
  • Services: While Shining 3D already has 10 3D printing centers established across China, the company states that they plan to build 50 to 100 offline 3D printing centers in the next three to five years. Along with the establishment of 3dzao, Shining 3D describes this venture as an “offline and online 3D printing network” that will offer services to industries such as auto, aerospace, medical, mechanical, molding, appliances, smart technology and more.

With all of these developments coming at once, it’s clear that Shining 3D plans to take over the Chinese 3D printing and scanning industry, and likely go beyond the Chinese market as well.


Shining 3D CEO Li Tao shows off the new Exhibition Room

“In the terms of global 3D printing industry, the scattered structure hasn’t been changed yet actually,” said Luo Jun, secretary general of China’s 3D Printing Technology Industry Alliance. “So who will become the real 3D printing giant in the future? It’s prospective.”

It looks, to me, like Shining 3D has pretty good potential of becoming a 3D printing giant – even more so than they already are.

Autodesk to invest $100 million in 3D printing ecosystem

Aubrey Cattell

Aubrey Cattell, senior director of business development and operations for Autodesk’s Spark platform, a free software initiative aimed at making it easier to print physical objects from digital models.

Reporter- San Francisco Business Times

Autodesk (NASDAQ: ADSK) says it will invest $100 million in 3D printing companies over the next several years in an attempt to speed up the adoption of a technology that has long promised to revolutionize how things are made.

The technology, called additive manufacturing, has yet to be implemented on a wide scale.

The new “Spark” fund is named after a free software platform that Autodesk introduced earlier in the year in hopes of stimulating a wave of innovation around 3D printing, which the San Francisco company sees as a potentially large driver of demand for its modeling software.

The technique renders physical objects from digital files by gradually piling layers of material, typically plastic. However, it is unreliable and the process of getting from the computer to the printer remains clunky, said Aubrey Cattell, senior director of business development and operations for Autodesk Spark.

“While there’s tremendous hype and potential, the reality is that additive manufacturing is a 25 year old industry. There have been 200,000 machines sold so far, 100,000 of them last year. In the history of the industry,” Cattell said. “It’s growing fast, but it’s still very early.”

Interest in the space has clearly been rising, however, with innovative startups working to make printers more affordable, versatile and to print for a wide range of clients, ranging from individual tinkerers to companies commissioning prototypes.

Thursday’s Autodesk announcement came just a day after Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) on Wednesday announcing its own “Blended Reality” initiative aimed at making it easier to translate digital designs into printed objects. HP, which previously said it intended to make 3D printers, touted technological advances that it said make 3D printing many times faster, cheaper and better, and thus more commercially viable. In addition, the company debuted a computing platform for translating physical objects into digital files. The platform uses a single device that, among other things, combines a scanner, depth sensor, hi-resolution camera and projector.

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Patrick covers technology.