3D printers have revolutionized the worlds of manufacturing, design, and art. But how does a person with little or no computer design experience create an object to print? The best way to learn is through hands-on experience. Professional engineer Mike Rigsby leads readers step-by-step through fourteen simple toy projects, each illustrated with screen caps of Autodesk 123D Design, the most common free 3D software available. The projects are later described using Sketchup, another free popular software package.The toy projects in A Beginner's Guide to 3D Printing start simple--a domino, nothing more than an extruded rectangle, a rectangular block. But soon you will be creating jewel boxes with lids, a baking powder submarine, interchangeable panels for a design-it-yourself miniature house, a simple train with expandable track, a multipiece airplane, a working paddleboat, and a rubber band-powered car. Finally, you will design, print, and assemble a Little Clicker, a noise making push toy with froggy eyes. Once trained in the basics, you will be able to embark on even more elaborate designs of your own creation.
Mike Rigsby is a professional electrical engineer and author of "Haywired" and "Doable Renewables." He has written for "Popular Science," "Robotics Age," "Modern Electronics," "Circuit Cellar," "Byte," and other magazines.