Review: Blender 3D Printing Essentials


Gordon Fisher’s Blender 3D Printing Essentials (published by PACKT, who sent me a review copy), is a guide to creating models for 3D printing with Blender.  As PACKT currently have a five-bucks-on-all-E-Books sale going, I might advise you pickup an E-Book copy (NOT a physical one – read on)  if you’re interested in the topic. At full price though I would suggest looking elsewhere.

The book is admirable in that Fisher is clearly knowledgeable when it comes to 3D printing. He discusses the mechanisms of different 3D printing technologies. He details various types of 3D printers and covers techniques to make models printable with each of them. All of the important things you need to know with regard to modeling for both laser sintering and extrusion based 3D printers are discussed. Blenders mesh analysis tools are explained, as is the 3D Print Toolbox add-on. All of the important processes such as making objects hollow, checking wall thickness and sharpness, checking overhang and adding supports for extrusion printers and so on are covered. The writing is for the most part clear and functional.

The demo project for the book is a pencil-holder in the form of a dragon. Whilst not beautifully realised, this is adequate for the purposes of detailing the techniques required for 3D printing. The different stages in preparing it are covered in step-by-step fashion and Fisher does a good job of explaining the purpose behind each modification he makes to the model to render it printable.

I would strongly advise against buying a print copy of the book however. I prefer to do serious reading in dead tree format where possible, and so I requested a paper copy of the book to review. However the paper version of the book is printed in black-and-white, whilst the books illustrations and screenshots were intended to be seen in colour and are described as such in the text. In several places the book discusses the colours seen in screenshots, an exercise rendered entirely baffling by the accompanying black-and white image.

Um... What?

Uh… What?

Obviously this is only a problem with the physical version of the book, and PACKT do provide an E-Book copy to those who purchase the paper copy through their own site. No warning is given to those purchasing the book elsewhere however, that certain portions of the book are rendered unusable by this oversight. PACKT offer a download of the colour images from the book, but this doesn’t really change the fact that the print edition of the book is fundamentally of less use than the E-Book, something they could have paid less for in the first place.

In conclusion, I might recommend the e-book version to those who need an introduction to creating models for 3D printing and are struggling to find the information elsewhere. The print version? Steer clear.

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