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Resources for Makerspaces (March 2019): 3D Printing and Modeling

by Janet Ochs, Richard Powell, and Lisa Czirr

3D Printing and Modeling

A common device found in makerspaces is the 3-D printer. Jason Griffey’s 3D Printers for Libraries investigates 3D printer models and describes types of filament, design software, and hardware offerings. Griffey provides recommendations for beginner and advanced 3D printer setups. Lastly, the author, a Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, writes a convincing case for 3D printing in libraries.

An excellent 3D printing background resource is Hod Lipson and Melba Kuramn’s book Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing. The authors investigate how 3D printing affects the economy, the environment, personal lives, and the law—and how 3D printing is used to make everything from houses to toothbrushes to aerospace parts. The authors connect 3D printing to the maker movement, providing information about online 3D printing services such as Thingiverse and Shapeways. The authors devote four chapters to bio-printing, green manufacturing, digital food, and education.

The 3D Printing Handbook: Technologies, Design and Applications, written by Ben Redwood, Filemon Schöffer, and Brian Garrett, shares insights from printing over one million parts. The book contains a section for beginners and reviews the most conventional 3D printing tools. Another section geared toward engineers covers design rules and printing objects to specification. The book concludes with a review of advanced computer aided design (CAD) programs.

Lydia Cline’s 3D Printing with Autodesk 123d®, Tinkercad®, and Makerbot®, targeted toward beginner users, introduces the free Autodesk 123D suite of software, a decent entry point that prepares modelers for more sophisticated programs. The book offers systematic instructions and detailed projects for 3-D printers and CNC machines. Cline’s next book, 3D Printer Projects for Makerspaces, uses various 3D modeling programs such as SketchUp Make, Autodesk Fusion 360, Inkscape, and Fuel 3D Studio to create twenty unique projects. The book takes the reader sequentially through the project design and printing process. Objects created include cookie cutters, cups, business cards, phone stands, jewelry, night-lights, and lampshades. Several projects convert sketches or images into models. The author also covers post-processing techniques such as sanding, priming, painting, drilling, and smoothing objects. Cline uses four different printers including a LulzBot TAZ 6, a MakerBot Replicator 2, MakerBot Mini, and a gCreate gMax 1.5XT+.

Ritland’s 3D Printing with SketchUp starts with a brief background on 3D printing and explains how to download and use SketchUp, a 3D modeling software originally developed by Google. Chapters include information about using 2D drawings, importing terrain from Google Earth, and modeling architecture—the program’s strong suit, according to Ritland.

These books are just a sample of the types of resources available on 3D modeling software. Readers are encouraged to search for other resources based on their organization’s software requirements. 

Works Cited