The 8 Best Books to Learn About 3D Printing

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We might be living in an era of YouTube videos and online tutorials, but there’s nothing wrong with reading an old-fashioned book to learn about something. Since a lot of us are still stuck indoors most of the time nowadays, it would be a great time to pick up a good book and learn something at the same time.

We have compiled a list of the some of the best books for those who are interested in learning about 3D printing. We also recognize that 3D printing is quickly becoming a popular topic in STEM education, so we’ve included a few titles that are written specifically for kids.

1. BEST FOR BASICS: The 3D Printing Handbook: Technologies, designs, and applications

The 3D Printing Handbook: Technologies, designs, and applications

This is a book we recommend for pure beginners to 3D printing who want to cover as many of the topics as comprehensively as possible. Granted that it’s not going to turn you into an expert, but it will help make you informed enough to jump into 3D printing as a hobby.

The book includes a detailed overview of all the different types of 3D printing technologies, their corresponding pros and cons, and the factors to consider when choosing between each type. To demonstrate just how useful 3D printing is, the book also includes accounts or case studies of how 3D printing is used in various industries across the world.

Just to be clear, this book is just an introduction to 3D printing and will not help you in any way when it’s time to work on an actual project. To that end, the ‘handbook’ in the book’s title is somewhat misleading. If you already know the basics of 3D printing technology, then this book has very little value to you.

2. BEST FOR GETTING STARTED: Getting Started with 3D Printing: A Hands-on Guide to the Hardware, Software, and Services Behind the New Manufacturing Revolution 1st Edition

Getting Started with 3D Printing: A Hands-on Guide to the Hardware, Software, and Services Behind the New Manufacturing Revolution 1st Edition

This is the book for those who are looking to get their hands dirty on an actual 3D printing project. Even if you haven’t purchased a 3D printer yet, this book provides a good overview of the available technologies and the pros and cons of each option. It also touches on some software that can be useful for 3D printing.

The nice thing about this book is that it goes beyond the very bare basics and jumps into a few hands-on tutorials. This is great for those who want to start building their own models for 3D printing. The tips in the book are also useful for setting up your 3D models in the Cura slicer software. The book also contains a short section on the different types of 3D printing materials and an overview of the technology for 3D scanning.

Unfortunately, the book stops just short of giving tips for actually executing a project on your 3D printer. You’ll be more than halfway there, though, so you’ll just have to supplement this book with other learning material.

3. BEST FOR KIDS: Peter And Pablo The Printer: Adventures In Making The Future

Peter And Pablo The Printer: Adventures In Making The Future

This book is an excellent pick for parents who would like to introduce their young kids to the benefits and limitations of 3D printing technology. As you can tell, this is not a technical book and certainly won’t drown your kid with jargon or other details they would not care about. Instead, it’s a simple storybook with a fairly unique topic.

The book tells the story of Pablo, a curious kid who is gifted with a magical 3D printer. Using the printer, Pablo is able to create virtually everything. Soon enough, Pablo goes from printing any toy he wants to creating his very own friends. You can probably tell where the story goes from there as Pablo learns that technology isn’t the solution for everything.

While the moral values are the main focus of the book, it may also pique the curiosity of your kid to ask about 3D printing. Just make sure you can afford to buy one when that curiosity grows!

4. BEST FOR TROUBLESHOOTING: 3D Printing Failures: 2020 Edition: How to Diagnose and Repair ALL Desktop 3D Printing Issues

3D Printing Failures: 2020 Edition: How to Diagnose and Repair ALL Desktop 3D Printing Issues

Troubleshooting is pretty much a natural part of 3D printing. No matter how well you prepare or how regularly you maintain your 3D printer, problems will inevitably come up. This book provides a handy guide for solving some of the most common 3D printing problems.

We consider this one of the best 3D printing books because it’s valuable both for beginners and experienced users. The troubleshooting guides are extremely detailed and include illustrations and photos, lists of tools and materials, and where to get them. We find that even people with years of 3D printing experience still learn a lot from this book.

A nice thing about this book is that it’s the latest entry in a continuing series. The 2020 version is about 50% longer than the previous one with rewritten chapters, new photos, and seven fresh chapters. With the dedication of the publishing team to refine this troubleshooting guide, we’re really eager to support them so they can continue with this work.

5. BEST FOR PROJECT IDEAS: 3D Printing Projects

3D Printing Projects

Once you have your 3D printer set up, what are you going to print? If you had this book on hand, then you’re not going to run out of ideas. As the title implies, this book has dozens of ideas for projects you can create with your 3D printer from basic models to more complex ones.

One thing to note is that the book does not provide any design files for its projects. Instead, you’ll have to create the models yourself using a standard 3D modeling software or via 3D scanning technology. This may sound overwhelming but don’t worry – the book makes it easy for you. It’s also nice to learn about basic 3D modeling if you’re going into 3D printing.

Each design comes with detailed instructions down to the recommended filament material or color to use. Think of it as an arts and crafts book that was specifically written for 3D printers.

6. BEST FOR CAD DESIGN: 3D PRINTING PROJECTS: 200 3D Practice Drawings For 3D Printing On Your 3D Printer

3D PRINTING PROJECTS: 200 3D Practice Drawings For 3D Printing On Your 3D Printer

While some people get by with printing models that can be downloaded for free, how about you do one better and create your own 3D models? If you have access to CAD software but haven’t gotten around to mastering it yet, then this book will get you started in the right direction.

The book provides a series of figures and drawings to practice using your CAD software. The figures progress from simple to complex, allowing you to grow your skills gradually. Take note that the book’s value lies in actually trying to recreate the drawings – you’re not going to learn anything just by looking at them.

Designing in CAD can be one of the most valuable skills you can learn for 3D printing. Frankly, this is something that a lot of people who are into 3D printing have no idea about. If you don’t want to be limited by the models that are available online, better get practicing.

7. BEST FOR THE END OF DAYS: The Zombie Apocalypse Guide to 3D printing: Designing and printing practical objects 1st Edition

The Zombie Apocalypse Guide to 3D printing: Designing and printing practical objects 1st Edition

This book takes a more tongue-in-cheek approach to 3D printing by highlighting how useful a 3D printer can be in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Don’t disregard this book as a joke book, though, as this zombie plot only acts as a framework for a very practical guide to 3D printing.

Within the scenario of a zombie apocalypse, the tips given by the book focus on a few things such as increasing print speed, making you prints stronger, and making sure that your 3D printer does not break down. The theme does get exaggerated at times, and it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between a joke and a legitimate tip.

If the author’s goal was to make this book the most captivating 3D printing guide, then we’ll have to say that he was successful. Get this book if you like your tutorials with a dash of creativity.

8. BEST FOR ENTREPRENEURS: How To Make Money With 3D Printing: Passive Profits, Hacking The 3D Printing Ecosystem And Becoming A World-Class 3D Designer

How To Make Money With 3D Printing: Passive Profits, Hacking The 3D Printing Ecosystem And Becoming A World-Class 3D Designer

There are probably lots of people who are considering going into 3D printing and growing it to eventually generate profits, but it can be tough to know where to start. That is exactly the problem that this book seeks to address.

The book goes through the basics of 3D printing before delving into more business-related matters such as which software and hardware to get, where to get inspiration for 3D models, and how to market a 3D printing service. It even discusses other ways to make money from 3D printing such as by investing in 3D printing companies and offering 3D printing tutorials.

While reading the book certainly isn’t a guarantee that you will be successful with a 3D printing business, it’s a great way to at least know how to get started. It does not dwell on the more technical aspects of 3D printing, so you may need more references for troubleshooting and refining your 3D printing technique.

Final thoughts

While it’s true that you can learn just about anything online nowadays, there are still some of us who miss the feeling of flipping through a book. If you’ve been struggling with following online tutorials to learn about 3D printing, then a good book might just be what you’re looking for. No matter what skill level you are or how you intend to use a 3D printer, you should find a book on this list that will appeal to you.

Warning; 3D printers should never be left unattended. They can pose a firesafety hazard.