Friday, October 10, 2014

RepRap Cookbook review

I will never speak ill of my experience writing for Packt Publishing. I absolutely loved it. But if I could offer them one bit of advice it's to choose a title after writing the book, and not stick with the title that the book started with. Take my book for example. "3D Printing Blueprints" doesn't' really say "The beginner's guide to modeling for home 3D printing". So, too, is the problem with the RepRap Cookbook. You'd expect a book of that title to be about, say, building a RepRap style machine. However, it's not.

RepRap Cookbook gives a few great projects for using a reprap styled home 3D printer to make cool things. It starts with  using 123D Catch and a camera to make a 3D model for printing and how to clean it up. Then it gets into the nitty-gritty of optimizing models, the slicer, and the printer for getting the best prints you can. It's a process I've been saying for years. Want to get good at 3D printing? Well, start with something you want to print. RepRap Cookbook does exactly that.

RepRap cookbook covers a wide range of software including MeshMixer, DavidScanner, Top Mod, SketchUp (though why anyone would recommend SketchUp, I don't know), Skeinforge, Slic3r, and even Paint.Net at one point. There's even a section of modding the firmware and reading G-Code. It's an impressively comprehensive snapshot of the tools and techniques that 3D printing hobbiests are using these days and an excellent place to start if you're a beginner. It's especially relevant if you're using an Ardunio based RepRap styled printer like a Lulzbot or any of the kickstarters out there, but it's also relevant for other machines as well.

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