Make: 42 Annual 3D Printing Guide


From scrappy laser-cut wooden kits only a few years ago to today’s sleek-looking machines, desktop 3D printing continues to evolve into evermore consumer ready machines. Since there are so many uses and user types for 3D printers, from schools and teachers to product prototypes and engineers, our guiding question was never “which printer is best?” but was instead “which printer is right for you?” We tested 26 printers and judged performance through a series of different prints and tests. Check out our findings and find the best printer for your needs.

Then, get tips on printing movable parts in a single print, make sure to stick your first print layer from the start, and get the skinny on Local Motor’s fully 3D-printed car.

Plus, add glowing cyberpunk spikes to your favorite futuristic outfit, 3D print a pair of custom eyeglasses, build a adjustable-height modeling table on the cheap, and learn to pickle delicious beets and grapes. All this and more in Make: Volume 42!





Table of Contents


Reader Input

Page 10

Punks and Makers

How a music revolution powered the Maker Movement.Page 12

Wrongs and Rights

For 3D printing, copyright may not mean what you think it does.Page 14

Made on Earth

Explore the amazing word of backyard technology.Page 16

Over the Top

Do you have a 3D-printed concrete castle in your backyard? Well, why not??Page 112


Heroes in the Making

Disneyʼs new animated crime-fighters are armed with ingenuity and high-tech tools.Page 22

Raspberry Pi Inside

How the new compute module helps makers create embedded Linux products.Page 26


3D Evolution

Desktop 3D printers are slowly evolving, but do performances meet the expectations of their consumer-ready facades?Page 30

What Is Print Quality?

Testing to failure is more informative than a visual inspection.Page 34

SLA Analysis

It all comes down to resolution.Page 65

Fused-Filament Findings

Conclusions, trends, and the best 3D printers on the market today.Page 66

The Standouts

The results are in, and we can confidently say these machines are top performers.Page 68

Arduino Gets Physical

We take an early look at the Materia 101, Arduino’s first foray into 3D printers.Page 70

Ones to Watch

Will this be the year that SLS machines make it to the desktop? Page 71

Rapid Roadster

It’s drivable, with a fully 3D-printed body, and it’s available soon.Page 72

Stick It from the Start

Tips for getting that great first layer and making sure your print stays put. Page 76

Rainbow Extrusion

Use Sharpies to snazz up your prints cheaply and easily.Page 77

10 Great Short Prints

Fast demo prints in 30 minutes or less.Page 77


Cyberpunk Spikes

3D-print these soft, flexible spikes and light them up with full-color programmable LEDs. Page 78

Boat Hitch Table

Make an adjustable-height modeling table like the pros, for hundreds less.Page 84

DIY Pickles: Beets and Grapes

Quick and tasty, vinegar pickling is great for preserving a surprising variety of fruits and veggies.Page 86

Remaking History

A 15th-century English nun wrote the book on recreational fishing technology.Page 88

Universal Translator

Translate between thousands of language pairs with voice recognition, using the Raspberry Pi. Page 90

123 — Board Feet

Give your board a lift by adding legs built from off-the-shelf hardware.Page 91


Launch easy-to-make paper rockets using PVC pipe and an empty soda bottle.Page 95

Toy Inventor’s Notebook

Assemble a kaleidoscope with built-in LEDs to turn any flat surface into a colorful trip.Page 96


Glowing Recommendations

Vintage components that add character to your creations.Page 98

Fun with Flexibles

Tips for 3D printing the stretchy stuff.Page 102


Tool Reviews

Recommendations for unique and useful maker tools, toys, and materials.Page 104

New Maker Tech

On the horizon for electronic accessories.Page 106


Text tools for your bench or bedside table.Page 107