Book Review: 3D Printing 2nd Edition – Christopher Barnatt

by Jason King on December 14, 2014

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.

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