20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
I'm not sure what I expected from this book. I guess I thought it would be a combination of history of 3D printing, along with what's currently happening and maybe even some forward-thinking ideas about where the industry is headed. I guess that's a little tough to do in print, because the industry is changing so rapidly. However, I wanted the book to be more thorough on a lot of things. For instance, the author glossed over the various printer manufacturers, really only mentioning one of them in any detail. And the same goes for printing services, where he left out several players in Europe, where 3D printing is fairly popular (and way more well-known than here in the states). There are some 3D printing companies that have been around for 20-30 years and there was barely even a whisper about them. So it made me skeptical of the research involved in this book, because so many things were glossed over or not mentioned at all.
I suppose if you're not familiar AT ALL with 3D printing, it gives an overview. But for the people who already know something about the industry and want a bit more (or a lot more), it feels like it's still lacking. Maybe that wasn't the intent of the book, but it is what I was hoping to find when I picked it up.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
I selected this book because the company I work for is starting to purchase 3D printers and experiment with them. But I actually came out of it slightly disappointed for one reason: the book just does not do a good enough job of describing the technologies...which is odd considering that the author(s) are both technical folks and Lipson at least, actually has done an extensive amount of work on/with/ and advancing 3D printing in general.
There is a chapter on the types of 3D printing and some of the details are scattered throughout the book, but I feel it doesn't do a very good job of really comparing and contrasting the technologies, particularly in helping to understand the real pros and cons of each type compared against one another. While there is some discussion of the materials, safety, heat, and resolution achieved by the different types, the discussion is not consistent and not good enough (in my opinion) to help a reader really make much in the way of intelligent decisions as to what would be the best for a need they have in mind. Frankly the wikipedia articles on 3D printing and on the individual types do a better job of this.
That said, the book is a pretty good overview of some of the current work being done in 3D printing from the more traditional - complex plastic and metal parts - to some of the "edges" being explored - organs, batteries, food. There's also mention of some of the major players in terms of websites and companies contributing to the technology and selling 3D printers. Additionally, there's a decent examination of the issues that arise with intellectual property, environmental issues, and democratization/decentralization of "makerism" and manufacturing.
But there's also a lot of speculation and wishful thinking. The authors spend a lot of time talking about where they wish 3D printing will go in the future. While this is generally backed up with discussions of what's currently going on, a lot of it feels like the authors "guessing" what might be possible and what their own dreams are in specific areas. I can't help but feel that there's a lot left on the table and that the authors might serve the audience better by more fully describing both capabilities and perceived "hard" (unlikely to be overcome) and "soft" (may or will likely be overcome in the future), then inviting the audience to draw their own conclusions about what might be before offering their own.
Also, if this is going to be truly useful to businesses going forward, it'd be nice to see more data - maybe of the decreasing costs of materials over time, or the current costs of different methods and materials (again, maybe with trend lines). It's perfectly understandable that these may change drastically in the future, but for now it's incredibly useful information. The authors do make the comment in the forward that this book isn't a "how to" because that would become quickly obsolete, but by describing the current work going on and some of the issues today, it's highly likely this book will obsolete itself soon enough anyway and become a frozen point in time. Given that, it would be more useful to offer more data.
That said, that's why it's not five stars; however, I still liked it - it does spur the imagination and serve as an acceptable introduction (though with the limited technical discussion, please take it with a grain of salt as it may lead you to misleading thoughts about what is and isn't possible and how to achieve it). The material is interesting and the speculation and philosophy is well done. I do very much recommend it for it's discussion of side topics - environmental and legal - and for it's discussion of ways to think about 3D printing and "digital" (discrete blocks) vs. "analog" (filled surfaces) type thinking and design.
It also does a good job discussing the user interaction in the design arena - the fact that at the moment, technical computer software skills are required, but that over time this will change and some of the ways in which it might develop. Finally, the authors have a great point about how children who grow up with it may accept it fully in the future in the same way that today's teenagers have never lived without the internet and fully accept and master it.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
This book was a pleasure to read. It's informative on several levels, but also ignites the imagination.
Over the past many years, various professional magazines have featured articles on what is popularly referred to as 3D printing. Over the past few years, various consumer publications have featured articles on it. The Mindconnection eNewsletter has mentioned it in the Good News column as a counterforce to the economically devastating misconduct of our misrepresentatives in CONgress. And let's not forget how the movie industry used the concept in such hits as the Terminator series.
I've read a wide range of facts and opinions on this manufacturing method, but until this book those have been in article format. Articles are great, and they constitute the vast majority of my reading. But they are necessarily much more limited in scope than books are; you can cover quite a bit more in 60,000 words than in 1,500 (unless you're the typical politician, in which case you essentially say nothing but spew thousands of words).
This book has two authors, and I suppose both are knowledgeable. As the Preface said, there wasn't any delineation as to who wrote what. However, it seems to read with one voice. It's clear that the authors communicated and that a good editor was involved in this book project (though some copyediting errors did crop up).
It's also clear that a whole lotta fact checkin' was goin' on. I didn't find any errors of fact, and for a review of mine that is really saying something. The references are extensive, and most of those look like interesting reading.
I was pleased to see two intelligently written reviews posted prior to mine. My thanks go out to Paul Tognetti for his thoughtful, accurate review and the Library Picks Staff for theirs.
Not the case here, but I often wonder if some reviewers are actually talking about the same book. In anticipation of those who inevitably add dross to the review section, a few comments:
*As you read along, it seems the authors are hyping up the technology. It's not hype. The technology really is a game-changer. If you read the whole text (and generally, the whole context of the "hype" passage), you will see the authors balance out the positive attributes with cautions, notes on limitations, and "now here's the downside" sorts of commentary.
*If you have been reading any of the technical journals, for example, IEEE Spectrum, the subject won't be new to you. That does not make this a retread (and anyone who claims so probably is borrowing someone else's journals due to being too brain-challenged to be a subscriber). You may have heard things discussed or read a puff piece in a consumer mag, and so reach the same conclusion. What's different here is the richness of the coverage.
*The book contains many black and white photos, most of which are of marginal production quality. That does not mean the book is low value. It means the book is affordable. Big glossy photo prints are not cheap. That's why there's a smallish section of these in the middle rather than a whole bunch spread through out. The authors merely chose to focus their limited resources on substance rather than form. Dr. Lipson and Ms. Kurman could have published a similar book as a college text at a price of $75 to $100 (check out the publications and prices). But this lists for $27.95.
*Oh, gee, it's nearly 300 pages. This does not indicate verbosity. The writing quality indicates judicious use of words, most likely through serious editing. The amount of filler isn't enough to even try to measure.
The goal of this book, IMO, is to help the reader understand four things:
1. What 3D printing is. It isn't really printing, but that label helps us relate to the idea of using software to instruct hardware how apply one material to another. Rather than applying ink to paper, these systems can apply particles of plastic (or other materials) to each other and they can do that in three dimensions.
2. How the technology is presently used. As with personal computers in the mid-1980s, there's a small userbase and much of the usage falls under "novelty."
3. Costs and benefits. Like any technology, it has its tradeoffs. The authors present a full and accurate picture of what these are. It is clear they were trying to describe 3D printing, rather than "sell" it to the reader.
4. How the technology is likely to be used in the future, and how it may be used further on. We tend to describe the future as an extension of what is now (as the authors caution us). Thus, these predictions understate the potential.
The authors are certainly capable of delving into arcane explanations of this technology and running us through the mathematical equations. But that is not the path they chose. They chose the more difficult path of relating the concepts to a lay audience. They did this in a way that makes the concepts not just accessible and understandable, but exciting. So it was a good read and an informative one. I think anyone who wants to understand a paradigm-shifting, game-changing, economy-saving technology would benefit from reading this book.
Understanding what this technology is and where it's headed can help you be prepared for the massive changes it will make in the very, uh, fabric of society. It's not often a technology like this comes along, and we are barely scratching the surface of the benefits 3D printing can provide can provide. Nor is it often a book like this comes along, but we have the benefit of being able to read it now.
Fabricated consists of fourteen chapters in 281 expertly written pages. Not included in the page count is the center section of color photos (most of these also appear in the text).
38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
What a breathtaking journey through one of the hottest, yet least known and appreciated new technologies: digital, compact and small scale fabrication and 3D printing. The "professional" reviews of this book fail to communicate that this book, and the technologies it sketches, are FAR from just 3D printing, and have major implications for the "what's next?" question on everyone's lips today! They are literally a next step between huge assembly lines and the Starship Enterprise product - "materializing" machines!
There are already VENDING MACHINES in China that can fabricate not only injection molded plastic products, but products with working parts, knives, coins, and much more. Granted, this book is more about printing on plastic and other less technical applications in the current generation of "real" machines, but the ramifications of the evolution from job shop to factory back to job shop are astonishing, from patent and IP questions to things like marketing, vending and distribution. Books on demand on a whole new scale-- Amazon take note! In the West, you might have seen the little "dog tag" vending machines that can create a tag for your dog with her name on it while you wait. That automated aluminum engraving application is a PALE SHADOW of what's shown in this volume, both in materials and technologies!
I'm CTO at a digital animation studio (shader joes dot com) so you know where I'm coming from, and of course this family of technologies has MAJOR implications for the "hero" and modeling/ model - sample building industry, and digital artists in general. Not just a consumer technology, the "back room" implications for studios are HUGE. The author's and interviewee's enthusiasm is palpable with this REALLY FUN read-- they truly make a great case for this MEGA - JIT technology as the next internet, transistor, PC...
It might also be interesting for sociologists and CIA types to wonder how these technologies will impact emerging democracies ala Twitter. This truly represents a SOCIAL revolution in it's cost and ubiquitous, easy distribution model.
EXAMPLE technologies given in the book: Printing candy with digital sugar, using voxel "bricks" to animate video game characters instead of kinematics and meshes, "vending" creation of numerous products, including "working" toys, guns, shoes, artificial limbs, architecture, geology, cars and trucks, electric guitars, "green" manufacturing using solar power to meld sand, furniture, sculptures, insects, bots, heart valves, jaw implants, jet engines, MANY others... (Your imagination is the only limit with these technologies!).
READ THIS if you're a trend analyst, futurist, engineer, investor, designer, inventor, artist, company CTO or CEO, small entrepreneur planning new products, or just a smart science type who loves to see what 2060 might look like! We used to think of robots replacing workers on assembly lines, this shocks us into seeing nano robots in mini factories in the 7 - 11 vending machines! Astonishing, and a page turner even with all the legal and technical details and speculation.
Library Picks always buys the books we review, and has nothing to do with authors, publishers or Amazon. Our reviews are strictly for the benefit of Amazon shoppers in pre-evaluating purchases.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
For more than a decade now I have been reviewing nonfiction books on Amazon.com. My reading covers a wide array of subject matter including history and politics, biographies, disasters, economics and business and even science and medicine from time to time. I love to tackle new subjects. A couple of months ago radio and television talk show host Glenn Beck introduced me to a fantastic new technology with the potential to change the world as we know it. Despite the fact that I am technically challenged I was bound and determined to learn more. I needed a book written in language that the average person could understand. I believe I have found just such a book in Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman's "Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing". "Fabricated" is a comprehensive overview of this cutting-edge technology. Frankly, I was positively spellbound by what I learned and could not put the book down. And I am very pleased to report that for the most part I was actually able to comprehend what the authors were talking about.
What is so neat about 3D printers is that they offer the prospect of mankind exerting control over the physical world. In the future, people will be able to fabricate exactly what they need where and when they need it. So what do these new-fangled machines look like and exactly how do they work? According to the authors "a 3D printer can be small enough to fit into a tote bag or the size of a small mini-van. Printers can range in cost from a few hundred dollars to half a million dollars. Their unifying trait is that they follow instructions from a computer to place raw materials into layers to form a three-dimensional object." There are so many potential applications. Lipson and Kurman walk us through the intricate process of fabricating a number of different objects, some simple and others quite complex. Now the formal industry name for 3D printing is "additive manufacturing" which is very descriptive of how these machines actually work. As the authors point out "additive refers to the fact that 3D printing methods fabricate objects by either depositing or binding raw materials into layers to form solid three-dimensional objects". 3D printers will allow us to build products in shapes never before possible with conventional machinery while at the same time blending familiar materials into novel combinations. While it is important to realize that this technology is still in its infancy it might surprise you to learn that you may have already purchased a product created by a 3D printer. In "Fabricated" you will discover that 3D printers are already in use in such diverse industries as consumer electronics, automobiles, aerospace and even in the medical and dental fields. For example, the clear plastic braces that your twelve year old is wearing were probably made on a 3D printer!
The emergence of 3D printing has spurred some exciting new programs in our nation's classrooms. Fab@school helps teachers create curriculum that integrates science and 3D printing to teach core math and science concepts. The goal is to get elementary and middle school students excited about math and science and to introduce them to the fascinating world of engineering and design. These are the skills that are going to be in demand in the 21st century workplace. Meanwhile, on another front and Italian designer named Enrico Dini has devised a computer guided 3D printing construction method that uses sand and inorganic binder to create artificial sandstone. Just imagine the possibilities! Lipson and Kurman also introduce us to a scientist who is experimenting with a solar-powered 3D printer! As I said, the possibilities are virtually endless.
If you are intrigued by new technology, wondering what the potential business applications might be or are simply imbued with intellectual curiosity then I would strongly urge you to pick up a copy of "Fabricated: The New World of 3D Printing". There are so many ideas and so much information to digest here. It would appear that 3D printing would be most apropos for high end and custom made goods but that remains to be seen. Towards the end of the book Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman delve into the considerable legal, moral and ethical ramifications of all of this. There are copyright, patent and liability issues to ponder and when it comes to bioprinting major ethical issues to contemplate. I found "Fabricated" to a meticulously researched and very well-written book. In my view the authors have succeeded in their stated goal of making this material very accessible to the general reader. "Fabricated" is sprinkled with dozens of incredible photographs that will greatly enhance your understanding of the subject matter at hand. This is really exciting stuff and I learned an awful lot! A great choice for general readers as well. Very highly recommended!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I've been interested in 3D printing since the first time I heard about it on NPR about a year ago. When I saw this book, I had to snatch it up and I was not disappointed!
The science behind this new technology is so amazing to me. I loved reading about the tech behind these projects about as much as I enjoyed looking at the pictures of all the amazing products and body parts they are making with them. From organs and artificial limbs, to car parts, invention models, and art... there is no limit to what we can achieve with this new 3D printing. If it sounds like science fiction - it almost is! Except, we can achieve it.
This book gives a great overview of the research and science of 3D printing and also adds a lot of the WOW factor by showing pictures of the printer making a 3D heart and a printed titanium jaw bone. It also goes into depth on the difficulty of designing a plan that the printer can make successfully. Even if you just buy this book to awe at the pictures, it's worth the buy. Can't wait to see the next step!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
If the world of 3D printing is new to you, this book will open your eyes. The whole notion of having a microwave-sized box on your desk that can make anything (within a fairly narrow range of "anything") create awesome potential. (Remember when Ken Olsen famously said "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home"? That kind of potential.)
The authors describe, without undue burden of detail, some of the technological basics for "printing" solid objects in plastic, metal, glass, candy, human tissue, or cookie dough - and, at the same time, outline the current technology constraints. Not surprisingly, the two biggest constraints seem to be A) design tools that encompass the printers' potential, and B) people's imaginations. The latter seem evenly divided between the stodgy and outre - i.e., below and above the true potential of the technologies, since we lack experience and guidance that would let us enter the real ms where it will really shine. And, since we can't yet put it to its most productive and mind-expanding uses, we haven't built the printers and design tools that will get us there. The authors hint around the fact that, as with PC and cellphone technology, only the generations that grw up with them as commonplace will really demand the most of these tools and get the most from them.
As long as you skip just about every sentence or paragraph that starts "In the future ...", this presents a wide-ranging and cogent analysis - even if already dated, to some extent. It points out areas where mass production of one-off items, like industrial manufacture of orthodonture unique to each patient, have already capitalized on the technology. It skims economies of scale vs. dis-economies of waste, transport, disposal, materials recovery, and energy. It dabbles in legal issues, such as copyright, patent, liability, and "contraband" manufacture. Hypothetically, the latter could use proven technology for making custom chemical processing equipment to produce drugs or explosives, but the energy inputs, synthetic precursors, or necessary amount of product make that seem improbable, at least in the near term. In today's reality, however, strongly regulated weapon components can be and have been printed, as have keys for "secure" locks, given only a photo of the key.
The authors seem to miss a few central aspects of technological predictions. First is that, as shown by history, the "future" is far more elusive and creative than even the wildest prognosticators have been able to foresee. The wildest out-there science fiction of my childhood seems quaint now, just as these glowing foretellings will seem in a few years. The second big omission is that adult entertainment has been a major technology driver since forever. Block prints begat naughty pictures for home consumption, printing begat naughty stories, video begat naughty movies at home, streaming begat more naughty movies, Kindle begat a mommy-porn industry once no one could see the title of the book in your hand, and 3D printers will beget - well, I shrink from any thought of filling in details. Someone won't though, and you'll be able to anonymously BitCoin the design for an adult something-or-other, customize it to the particulars of your physical person and preference, and be intimately engaged with it in just a few hours. Somehow, the authors completely blanked out on how this repeating theme of history might repeat yet again.
So, I found the statements of what has been accurate enough, given the speed of technological advance and the constraints of the popular press. I found the analyses of today's "this vs. that" clear and salient to major economic and ecological issues. Any time the word "future" appeared, though, I began to cringe - that much certainty about something repeatedly proven to be uncertain just degrades the statement's own credibility. And, unfortunately, every shoot-yourself-in-the-foot gaffe along predictive lines seemed to have collateral casualties among statements that could have been very nutritious food for thought.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2013
(A comment on truth in reviewing: I published my own book on 3D printing a few months ago. It covers much of the same material and examples as this one. I refrain from any comparison or self-advertising and will not refer to my own work in this review.)
This is an excellent book for getting across the many achievements, developments and potential innovations of 3DP. It is very well-written and covers the basics simply and lucidly. It is rich with examples and surveys the field well, albeit it with a strong emphasis on the low end of 3DP -- consumer applications, parts manufacturing, ABS plastic and some of the more far out developments in medicine, the arts and construction.
My only reservations are that the book underplays the problems of scaling and volume manufacturing and the critical role -- often roadblock -- of materials sciences. It tends to finesse the cost elements of high end titanium parts or electron beam melting in aerospace,for instance, and the very high costs of most materials that are fundamental to going beyond small batch and prototype production. There's relatively little on progress in such industries as shoes and automotive.
Overall, this is very readable, informative and reliable. Perhaps a tiny bit on the gee-whiz end of the scale and low on coverage of how 3DP will move from making stuff to redefining demand change management, conservation, just-in-time business and CAD/3DP/robotics integration. When even Microsoft is making 3DP central to product design and development and just about all hearing aids, dental implants and many hip replacements are the norm not the exception, 3P signals a new era of business.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is the book on 3D printing that I've been looking for. All the other books assumed that I had already spent a few thousand dollars so that I could make plastic toys (or a single-shot pistol).
The authors discuss the possible future implications of what they hope is the Next Big Thing. Beside makings toys and weapons, they foresee a world with a `printer' in the kitchen whipping up healthy gourmet food from scratch, while your doctor bio-prints spare parts for you. Let's hope that they are right.
Meanwhile, this is a great overview of 3D printing and its possible impacts. It provides a quick overview of all the different methods of 3D printing, explaining both home and industrial processes. The book reviews the history of 3D printing all the way back to ancient times - 1983. This book is both a cautionary tale and a hopeful look to the future.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2013
I bought this book to continue exploring the subject matter of Chris Anderson's "Makers: The New Industrial Revolution" and was thoroughly disappointed. Much handwaving, little meat; I began to wonder if I was reading the same book so many reviewers praised. My next purchase was Christopher Barnatt's "3D Printing: The Next Industrial Revolution", which I recommend highly; Barnatt covers a comparable range to "Fabricated" in far more depth.