3D Printing & Imaging Workshop
MAKE’S Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing: A Preview on Google+ Nov. 5

MAKE’s Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing hits newsstands on Nov. 20. Join the editors of MAKE live, this coming Monday, Nov. 5 at 2pm PST and 5pm EST.

During the Google+ Hangout on Air, we’ll be talking about the issue and the 3D Print Shop Weekend we held at MAKE headquarters to test over 15 3D printers. This first-of-its kind publication will tell you what you need to know to stay ahead of this rapidly growing technology. Own a 3D printer? Thinking of buying a 3D printer? Have no idea what a 3D printer is? This is the issue for you.

22 thoughts on “MAKE’S Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing: A Preview on Google+ Nov. 5

  1. When hobby class 3d printers were originally developed, the goal was to empower consumers and reduce reliance on corporate manufacturing.

    Instead we got a hype bubble that spawns dozens of kickstarter-startups of dubious quality; and a marketing machine that cons numerous makers and non-makers alike into buying 3d printers that over-promise and under deliver.

    The irony is staggering.

    (Disclaimer: I am not against 3d printing. I am against 20,000$ of 3d printers sitting on a shelf, only to be used for printing keychains on makerfaire day.)

    1. I agree with Ryan. We have a laser cutter and CNC that run daily in our shop and decided to pick up a Thing-O-Matic to see what we could do with it. After a month of tweaking the settings, and printing parts to fix the inherent problems with the design of the TOM, we gave up and shelved it.

    2. I think you’re being too cynical. Professional production outfits aren’t complaining about low-end 3D printers (e.g., Makerbots) because they do research before buying them. The majority of the market is hobbyists. They’re people who enjoy getting a chance to try a new technology even if they do have to futz a bit, have fun designing things that would be hard to build with other technology, and like to find out what the printers are capable of. As for just printing keychains, take a look at thingiverse.com – there are tons of cool projects. It’s like the early days of home computers – back then most of us weren’t getting much work done with them, but it was fun, interesting, and educational.

  2. Ryan, I’m not sure if you are familiar with the development of ANY product, but the 3d printer market is following the same footsteps as the smart phone, the computer, the cell phone, even the light bulb! Believe it or not, the home computer market started beyond Apple and Dell. Yes things won’t work in the first, second, or even third generations. Once you get to the 50th generations you get to the core of what is important for the average user. The internet has allowed the development cycle of products like this to be expanded beyond the rich investors and become accessible to everyone, which can only lead to even better, quicker refinements for the public at large.

    Incidentally, I work at a research/manufacturing facility that uses CNC daily, and we purchased a Makerbot to prototype some items. No it doesn’t produce CNC quality items, but I don’t expect a $2,000 hobby tool to do so…I do expect a $10,000+ CNC to do that. What it does do is allow us to prototype form, fit, and a little bit of function from my desktop in a few hours without evoking the week-to-month long paper trail CNC cycle.

  3. Wonderful to do this issue – can’t wait. But Christmas is in 7 weeks and Makerbot Replicator, 2, for example is currently shipping with an 8 week lead time. Any early access to results available on-line? Or can I buy it with overnight fed-ex-ing ;-) ?

    In particular – what’s the most low-maintance, out-of-the box usable choice for those who don’t want to futz with it too much!

  4. I hope this article will include the types of 3D printers, like the Mcor Technologies Matrix 300+ and full color IRIS, that are being used every day in well-known schools and businesses, rather than the over-hyped hobby printers.

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Stett Holbrook is editor of the Bohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

View more articles by Stett Holbrook