Recommended Reading :)

There are many things you might read if you are interested in learning more about 3D printing and making, especially in the classroom.  Here are some of my favorite print and online resources:

MAKE: 3D Printing (2014, Anna Kaziunas France)  What Fabricated (below) is to theory, this book is to practicality.  The appendix (pg. 197 - 206) is worth the price of the book alone, highlighting relevant software, hardware, books and other resources.  The book is roughly divided into 5 sections: (1) Hardware, (2) Software, (3) Scanning, (4) Materials, (5) Services, (6) Finishing Techniques, (7) Applications, and (8) "Other Ways to Make 3D Objects."  The text is very clear and approachable, making it useful in the classroom as well.  My only 'complaint' is that it didn't come out earlier - since it  is the perfect summary of my own classroom research (and more!) from the past few years!

Zero to Maker (2013, David Lang): "Zero to Maker is Lang's story of going from a curious onlooker to active participant in the maker movement.  He shared the most important lessons he learned, and how the experience helped him start OpenROV...."  As a novice myself, I found Lang's story quite compelling and inspiring!  I appreciate his honesty (in his own story) and practical tips, including how to document your process, etc. - even a suggested email format for reaching out to expert makers.  Peppered throughout are excellent quotes and diagrams, many of which I plan to share with my students.  Here is one such relevant set of equations from his section about "valuing the process":
Buying = Thing
Making= Thing + Learning + Story 
Buying (Fail) = Crappy Thing
Making (Fail) = Crappy Thing + Learning + Story
For more on his story, you can check out David's website.

Invent To Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom (2013, Sylvia Libow Martinez and Gary S. Stager):  I wholeheartedly recommend this book to educators.  I have already purchased and shared many copies with friends and colleagues.  While the latter half of the book is lends itself well to implementing more "maker" science & technology, the first 90 pages have some interesting pedagogical discussion about good teaching, for all subject areas.

Fabricated (2013, Hod Lipson and Melba Kurman):  A great, comprehensive introduction to 3D printing.  It begins with chapters 1 - 4, which look at the disruptive power of 3D printing, and its current impact on and potential in manufacturing, economics, and life.  Chapters 5 & 6 give the how-to of 3D printing, focusing on the (printing) hardware and (designing) software.

The next few chapters I found most intriguing!  A chapter on bio-printing, another on "digital cuisine," and a chapter on 3D printing in the classroom.  The last few chapters deal with 3D printing's artistic potential, its environmental impact, and legal issues.  Finally, chapters 13 & 14 look towards the future of 3D printing.

Make: Ultimate Guide to 3D printing (annually since 2013, the editors of MAKE magazine): If you are interested in your own 3D printer, this is definitely the place to start.  While the magazine gives a brief overview of 3D printing, its potential, and how it works, the bulk of the issue is devoted to reviewing a variety of machines.  We have two copies of this in my classroom, and the kids are always flipping through them, fantasizing about which 3D printer they might buy!  Shown here is the 2013 version.  Visit Amazon or MAKE to pick up the updated 2014 edition!  Fun fact: our school appears on page 31!

Interested in making your own Makerspace at your school?  Download the Makerspace Handbook to get started!  By the organizers of Make magazine, this comprehensive guide provides material lists, safety guidelines, case-studies and more!


3D Printing Industry's Free Beginner Guide to 3D Printing (2014) with sections:

  1. 3D Printing Basics 
  2. 3D Printing History
  3. 3D Printing Technology 
  4. 3D Printing Processes
  5. 3D Printing Materials 
  6. 3D Printing Global Effects
  7. 3D Printing Benefits & Value 
  8. 3D Printing Applications
  9. 3D Printing Glossary


  1. Thanks Christine! I am reading "Invent to Learn" which you recommended earlier to me. Someone at Octave filament also recommended "Zero to Maker" and seeing that you like this book, too, it is my next read! Thank you for all your suggestions and for taking the time to share your review of these books.

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  3. Here are two very awesome 3D printing books not on the list:

    - Functional Design for 3D Printing 2nd edition by Clifford Smyth
    - How To Make Money With 3D Printing: Passive Profits, Hacking The 3D Printing Ecosystem And Becoming A World-Class 3D Designer by Jeffrey Ito