What are the best books for 3D printing?
We’ve found the best books available to teach you about 3D printing. We will review them one by one!
3D Printing for Dummies
I am pretty sure that nearly every conceivable niche interest has a “For Dummies” book written as a guidebook. 3D printing is no different. Written by a couple of industry experts Richard Horne and Kalani Hausman, 3D Printing for Dummies takes the usual spin of being able to be not overly technical and not boring at the same time.The book is well illustrated while still providing the helpful detail one needs to set up and understanding 3D printing.
You’ll want to note that this book is mostly for beginners and extensively covers the history and background of 3D printing. They offer some help in trying to troubleshoot problems with your printer and making high quality prints,
3D Printing Projects: Amazing Ideas to Design and Make
This is a simple, easy book designed in part for kids and others who are interested in making small projectes. The best part to some readers might be that the book encourages you make the 3D files too - and not rely on a website or service for downloads. You’ll find that the projects within are both fun and practical
A short read, the 3D Printing Projects isn’t quite 100 pages, which makes it fairly easy. Most of the pages are step by step instructions on how to make specific instructions, all while including plenty of general knowledge for beginners.
3D Printing Failures: 2022 Edition
Like many other technical subjects, you are going to experience a few problems while using a 3D printer. This book helps to generally help with a huge variety of problems you are likely to experience while printing, ranging from having issues with the nozzle clogging to tons of other technical issues a printer could have.
So you might also be thinking, “Why buy a book on this subject when I can look for it online?”. Even the reviews for the book itself say that looking up an issue in this book is easier than using Google to find specific complications. Why? According to many reviewers, Google doesn’t tend to provide great answers to specific questions about issues with printers as most of the content is user generated. In fact, many reference finding the book while searching for the answers to questions.
Also: the author of the book couldn’t use particularly high quality pictures to illustrate some of the concepts, but it seems that if you ask the author for higher quality, he’ll send them to you!
The 3D Printing Handbook
The folks over at 3D Hubs are the writers for this one. The 3D Printing Handbook goes a bit deeper than our previous options and is also good for anyone with a background in manufacturing. If you are looking for a good overall layout and introduction to 3D printing, including a decision and help guide for types of materials and projects that go into nice detail.
Many reviewers also comment that the book looks nice and is quite readable. Other books on this list and outside of it tend to make use of smaller fonts and fewer images. This one blends both well and makes for very pleasant reading.
Make: Getting Started in 3D Printing
“Make” is written like a conversation and isn’t over the top technical where it doesn’t have to be. Topics range quite widely from the best kinds of 3D printers for particular purposes to services that offer 3D printing in the event you don’t want to buy a printer for your home or office. You’ll also learn more about 3D printing software and have lots of info available for the purpose of learning about 3D printer materials and how to use them.
Functional Design for 3D Printing
I’ll be honest: this is the kind of book for me, but because I tend to think more practically than creatively with a 3D printer. The book is exactly what the title suggests, and helps you think of more ways to use your 3D printer to help you. The subject is blended well with information about what materials make for the best results when printing these things.
If you want a book that is overly enthusiastic and about 3D printing or meant for kids, this isn’t the one - but if you want very practical explanations and guides, this is a very good one to go with. You receive examples of printed products and how-to’s without having to know the history of 3D printing.
3D Printing: An Introduction
You get a nice, broad, and easy read with 3D Printing: An Introduction. They start with the history of 3D printing and move into subjects like choosing the right materials for the purpose, practical projects, and setting up and in many cases troubleshooting your 3D printer.
The most raved about part of the book actually references printer settings. These are the things that you really want to know when trying to dial in your printer’s abilities and get your projects just right. They go into detail about various settings and the signs of trouble and triumph within.
Fusion 360 for Makers
If the title isn’t a giveaway, this is about specific 3D printing software called Fusion 360. This is an overall guide for beginners to the software, which is also to say that if you are actively seeking help with deep technical issues with Fusion 360, this is probably not your choice of book. But for those of us who are trying to avoid wasting too many materials - and too much time googling when learning Fusion 360, this is a great choice in reference material.
How to Make Money with 3D Printing
You probably already know that some people can make some serious money when printing and selling 3D objects. The book isn’t very long at just over 100 pages, but most reviewers credit the author, Jeffrey Ito, with having lots of knowledge about how to manage making quality products with the right materials for the right price in an effort to make some money.
Given the specific title of the book, the author doesn’t intend to teach you how to use a 3D printer, but rather how to identify a market that you want to serve and potentially how to serve it.
Learn more about making money here.
Maintaining and Troubleshooting your 3D Printer
Owning a 3D printer will teach you that they need to be maintained - and you’ll likely find yourself troubleshooting issues related to print quality often. This book offers a rather detailed explanation of how to set up your 3D printer to avoid problems as well as how to fix them once they occur.
Note that the type in this book is rather small because the author has packed tons of useful information into a small space. This book is a great resource for some parts of 3D printing that are hard to describe to Google - where some of the information available online is less than stellar regarding specific subjects.
The Zombie Apocalypse Guide to Designing and Printing Practical Objects
For those, like me, who find more than a bit of humor in the idea of the zombie apocalypse - in fact, you might have at some point discussed the things - and people, you would want with as hordes of zombies take over.
Anyway, this book brings some humor and discusses the very practical around the house objects you might like to print in the event that the zombie apocalypse shuts down factories. You’ll also get some help printing desk ornaments that look cool. This book is more for experts and while basic topics are covered, they aren’t in huge detail.
The Big Book of Makerspace Projects
This book is mostly full of inspiration for the purpose of making new 3D printed projects. While you get some detail on materials as well as how to make things the right way with the right materials, it is best for people who have been printing for a bit and know how to use a printer, but have run out of ideas.
Some users raved that the explanations for how to make projects were clear and on point, with good color photos illustrating how to do things.
Note that a Makerspace often refers to a community of people who share a space or hobby. There might be a Makerspace near you!
Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing
Fabrivated goes into depth and ranges from explaining the extensive history of 3D printing, as well as including projects and technical information for today’s users. You get a lot of explanations about how things work in this book, per the reviews on Amazon. The book is a bit longer than is longer than others at over 200 pages but delves into the topic at length and you’ll find it fascinating especially as a beginner waiting to discover all that 3D printing can do.
Designing 3D Printers: Essential Knowledge
This one is gong to go way deeper than others. Designing 3D Printers isn’t so much about how - it’s literally about designing your own 3D printer and the use of mechanical design, software, and electronics components that go into building the best possible 3D printer made just for you. Based on that description, this is definitely not a beginners book and is more for someone who is seriously into building and making their own electronics.
We wouldn’t suggest starting here, but it makes a fantastic read about what electronics do if you desire to make your own.
3D Printing 101: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
3D Printing 101 focuses mostly on very basic printing and explores Ultimaker’s CURA software as an example of how to setup and use a 3D printer with various plastics and requirements. You also get a complete purchase guide for what to seek when trying to find a 3D printer.
There is also a complete chapter about 3D troubleshooting and maintenance, which is helpful, especially for when you run into problems creating your first projects.
Why a book instead of using the Internet?
We suggested this earlier, but the Internet is only so good at capturing the intent of your search - and providing an answer for it. If you have a highly specific question about why your particular printer is doing something, it might be hard to ask Google or Bing. Why? They aren’t perfect, and your user of wording to explain what is happening with your printer might not be quite right.
A book helps remove part of that. With organized chapters and topics, you aren’t relying on an algorithm - all the information is right in front of you and a little bit of reading could help quite a bit.
It’s also worth adding that most of the books above are available in an eBook like a Kindle or other document, so if you don’t feel like filling the bookshelves and would rather read from a Kindle screen instead of paper - be our guest. Kindle also might be cheaper in many cases because you don’t get a print book.
What are our favorite 3D printing books?
Some of the things we struggle with most often are just coming up with ideas, or knowing how to identify when 3D printing might have uses. The next challenge is putting those ideas together and seeing whether or not someone already made models for them. We basically put our whole recommended list above, so use that, and know that everyone has 3D printing challenges and seeks resources.