3D Printing Second EditionBack in April 2014 I read and reviewed the First Edition of 3D Printing by Christopher Barnatt.

I was so impressed by the depth and relevance of it’s content that I added it to my top 3D Printing Resources Page, which I’ve just updated to reference this new edition.

Like many others who are interested in 3D printing and it’s future I follow Christopher on Twitter (@ChrisBarnatt). It’s here that I found out about this brand new edition of his book.

What was great about reviewing this new edition is that I obtained a copy very early after it’s release and was amazed to see how up to date it was.

For example, I started reading this book in mid November this year (2014) and near the beginning of the book I found references to HPs announcement about their new Multi Jet Fusion technology, which was announced only a few weeks before in October!

I think there was even a reference to something from November but I didn’t make a note of it so I can’t be sure. My memory isn’t what it used to be.

The first edition was called “3D Printing – The Next Industrial Revolution” whereas the new edition is just called “3D Printing – Second Edition”.

From reading the book it seems that this is with good reason as it questions whether 3D printing really will be a “revolution”. The book explains why 3D printing is more likely to be subject to “evolution” rather than “revolution”. This basically means that it is more likely to evolve progressively rather than being the overnight life changing technology some believe it will be.

If you read the first edition and are wondering whether to bother with this new edition then here’s a quick quote from Christopher Barnatt (the author) in his interview with 3Ders.org:

“About half of the chapters have been written again from scratch, with the remainder significantly updated”

I can certainly vouch for this and with 3D printing moving at such a fast pace, this significant update was necessary and has been executed well. There are 30 more pages in the book and it’s packed full of up to date information about 3D printing companies, the different technologies, their applications and where 3D printing is heading in the future.

In my review of the original book I mentioned that this was a great book for beginners and this is still the case for this new edition. However, I still learned a great deal from it myself, even more than from reading the first edition. I really felt like it was no longer just aimed at beginners, but for those already familiar with 3D printing too.

Regardless of your level of 3D printing knowledge you’ll learn a great deal from this book and Christophers predictions for the future of 3D printing are interesting and thought provoking, especially for those considering Investing in 3D Printing Companies or starting their own.

Christopher BarnattThe glossary of 3D printing acronyms and terms is as useful as ever, as there are a multitude of confusing terms in 3D printing, many meaning the same thing. The glossary has grown in size, but some definitions have been removed since the first edition (I’m not sure why this is).

The number of pages in the book dedicated to the glossary has been reduced from 19 pages to 14, which initially baffled me until I realised the font is now much smaller. No doubt this is so more useful definitions can be squeezed in.

Chapter 4 has been renamed but contains a similar topic and the old chapter 6: “3D Printing & Sustainability” has been replaced by “3D Printing in Context”. This now contains some interesting additional content about Nanotechnology, synthetic biology and Robotics.

As I mentioned in my last review I’m particularly interested in Bioprinting, hence the reason I have significant shares in Organovo. I’m so glad he kept this chapter in and updated it so well. One aspect of bioprinting that Christopher details blew me away. I believe he mentioned it in the first edition too but for me it changes everything.

It’s the ability of bio-ink spheroids (an aggregate of all the cell types required to produce an organ) to arrange themselves after printing so that the correct cells end up in the correct location! This is a natural process and although I don’t think we fully understand how this happens, it’s an amazing process that makes the complex process of bioprinting so much easier. The book explains it in much more detail and much better than I can, but the idea amazes me.

He also mentions 3D Printing and Dentistry in the Direct Digital Manufacturing chapter. This reminded me of an interesting conversation I had with my own dentist about this. Dentists are generally quite excited and positive about the changes 3D printing can make to their industry. As Christopher explains in his book, expect big changes in this field in the not too distant future.

I also like his “LYTM” example for explaining why and where support structures are needed. This stuck in my mind because it’s very similar to the simplified “YHT” YouTube Video I use myself to demonstrate the same concepts.

There are so many interesting and thought provoking sections in this book, it’s difficult for me not to describe them all here, but that would only spoil the book for you so I’ll try to restrain myself.

To summarise, this is a great all round book for anyone interested in 3D printing, with any level of knowledge. It’d also make a great gift for anyone who you think may be interested in 3D printing but doesn’t know it yet. It’s very thought provoking and after reading it you’ll likely be a little stunned, but full of ideas and enthusiasm for this technology.

If you purchased the first edition then you won’t be wasting your money buying this too, as it really is a major update. I’m already looking forward to the 3rd edition (I suspect there will be one next year maybe). I feel that 3D printing is moving so fast that this book could almost turn into a quarterly magazine. An idea for Christopher maybe?

Anyway, on his website you’ll find the First Chapter Downloadable as a PDF for free, so you can take a look for yourself, which I recommend you do. You can also buy the book direct from Amazon for the Kindle or as a paperback. You’ll find the direct link on my updated Resources Page.

Thanks for reading this review and feel free to Like, Share and leave a Comment below.


Made in Space NASANovember 25th 2014 was a day that marked history as NASA successfully 3D printed its First Object in Space, aboard the International Space Station.

This showed a lot of promise and hope on the feasibility of carrying out long term future space expeditions.

In the past, it has been nearly impossible to make long period journeys to space. NASA has had to fully rely on earth supplies to sustain astronauts in space. The challenge this had is high costs of getting necessary supplies from earth to astronauts in space.

This is why many space expeditions had to be as short-term as possible to reduce the number of trips necessary to get whatever is needed by astronauts from earth. Thanks to the recent developments; all this is about to change. The 3D printer was designed and built by Made in Space, a company that is working hand-in-hand with NASA in developing relevant 3D printers that can be fully functional in space.

Barry Wilmore, the commander of expedition 42; is the astronaut who tested the practicality of the Zero-G 3D printing technology. This first item that the printer created was a faceplate of its extruder’s casing. The faceplate had engravings written “NASA and Made In Space Inc”, as an honor to the first organizations to experiment on the capability of 3D printing to be done in Space.

NASA wanted to test whether this printer could be relied upon in the fabrication of spare parts by first and foremost, evaluating its ability to print its own parts.

This only made sense because in space astronauts need to be ready for all the possibilities. At the helm of it, they need to be certain that the 3D printer they have on board is capable of Printing its Own Parts if it has to. Successful printing of the faceplate proved that the printer was capable of fabricating quality parts in space at Zero gravity.

Space On-Demand Shop

Installation of the printer on the ISS began on November 17th and during the following few days a number of calibration tests were done to realign the printer. By November 20th, realigning was complete and the first printing commands by Made In Space controllers on the ground were sent to the printer on the 24th. The printer had finished printing the faceplate by the morning of the next day (November 25th).

Similar to many of the ordinary printers on earth, this printer uses the additive manufacturing process to create objects. Once the printing commands have been sent to the printer, the low-temperature plastic filament it uses is heated, melted and then extruded layer by layer in an additive manner until the entire object has been built. Each layer cools down quickly and another layer is simultaneously added on it in a continuous process.

Despite there still being a lot to be done, the success of this experiment was enough evidence to show that NASA’s ultimate goal of creating an On-Demand Space Shop was actually a possibility. It confirmed that with a little more research and experimentation, the overreliance on supply missions from earth could be significantly mitigated. Space mission logistics will greatly be simplified and no longer will long space expeditions be as costly as they previously were.

Instead of waiting on a supply mission from earth to bring back spare parts, replacing such spares will be as easy as simply having digital printing files that the printer could instantly use to create new robust spares.

2015 Analysis of Printed Faceplate

After the faceplate was printed, Wiltmore inspected it and noticed a stronger adhesion on the tray than what was expected. Niki Werkheiser, the project manager of the ISS’s 3D printer, explains that for this printer to be relied on by astronauts in space; it will be imperative that the printed objects meet all expectations.

For that reason, the faceplate will be returned back to earth in 2015 so that it can be analyzed alongside a faceplate that will be printed under earth conditions.

As this is done, the team of engineers from Made In Space will be able to tell if the evident differences were a result of microgravity in space or merely part of the effect of the fine-tuning process of the printer as it was adjusted to print objects in the space environment.

Before bringing the faceplate back to earth, the engineers have expressed their intentions of printing yet another object in space so that they can conduct correct assessment of the printing with zero-g technology once the objects are returned on earth.

The ground controllers make fine tuning adjustments prior to printing each object with the printer as this will go a long way in helping them have a better understanding of the adjustments and parameters that are imperative for the printer to impeccably create objects in space on the ISS.

Future 3D Printers for Space

According to the Chief Executive Officer of Made In Space, Aaron Kemmer, this ISS 3D printer has brought along a transformative moment, for it will be used to research on the requirements needed to create future 3D printers for space.

Due to the gravity conditions present in space, it is clear that common 3D printers that are used on earth cannot flawlessly function in the ISS. However, what has been lacking is a research source that engineers and scientists can use to design specialized kind of printers that can work in space.

Not anymore! This printer has solved the problem and will come in handy as more and more printers will begin to be built which can tolerate the conditions of space using it as the point of reference.

Much hope has been triggered by the experimentations of this printer as now more than ever, NASA managing to set their astronauts on long space journeys is proving to be a dream that can indeed come true. There is no telling what degree of good long focused space explorations can amount to. What’s for sure is this printer is the beginning of many new space discoveries by NASA.

Thanks for reading, but before you go feel free to check out this related post about NASAs Plans to 3D Print Food in Space.


The True Cost of Running a Desktop 3D Printer

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Whenever I show my latest 3D prints to people, the one question they always ask me is “How much did this cost to make?” My answer is usually along the lines of “I’m not sure and I’m not worried because I’m going to make it anyway”. This is a good question and my answer is […]

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NinjaFlex iPhone Cases, Snowflakes, Skulls and Valves

November 30, 2014

Since discovering Dry Brushing a few months ago and having my first spool of NinjaFlex Filament delivered I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with both of these. Dry brushing is a great finishing technique for highlighting detail on 3D prints and I’ve been discovering what works well and what doesn’t. I think silver guilders paste brushed […]

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iBox Nano: The World’s Smallest and Cheapest 3D Printer

November 24, 2014

Imagine you own a 3D printer measuring only 4 × 3 × 8 inches, weighing just about 3Ibs and bearing the lowest price tag you can currently find in the market! Well, no need to trouble yourself with wishful thinking anymore. The iBox Nano is already a reality. Although ever since 3D technology got popular […]

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3D Printed Pumpkins, Spool Holders and NinjaFlex

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During the run up to Halloween I naturally decided to check out Thingiverse to see if there were any pumpkins I could 3D print. After my recent delivery of Dutch Orange ColorFabb filament I though an orange pumpkin or two would be a great addition to the Celtic Skulls I already printed for Halloween. That’s […]

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