SEBASTOPOL, CA--(Marketwire - Nov 15, 2012) - Will the 3D printer be this generation's "family PC," found under the trees of early adopters this holiday season? Is this the "must have" gift this year for your favorite tinkerer or high-tech enthusiast? MAKE magazine, leader of the maker movement and producer of the increasingly popular Maker Faire events, thinks so and has created the Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing to explain this breakthrough technology. Available on newsstands November 20 and in the Maker Shed now (makershed), this first-ever guide to personal 3D printers explains what 3D printing is and identifies five standout printers in the growing pack to help prospective buyers make smart choices. Featuring 15 of the most popular printers on the market, MAKE editors and other recognized experts in the 3D printing field put the printers through their paces with rigorous side-by-side comparison and testing.
"It sounds like the stuff of science fiction -- an appliance in your home that can print out physical objects from your computer -- but 3D printing is here today and MAKE has created the first comprehensive guide to this cutting-edge consumer technology," said Gareth Branwyn, editorial director of MAKE. "Whether you're a tech-savvy family, a diehard hobbyist, or a professional maker looking for a powerful prototyping tool, the Make: Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing has everything you need to stay ahead of the curve."
The heart of the publication, the 38-page buyer's guide, compares printers across thirteen attributes including setup, ease-of-use, speed, reliability, accuracy, print quality, and value. Detailed reviews of each printer include tests results, pro tips, and standout features. The review summary offers handy at-a-glance comparisons and MAKE's ultimate recommendations. The special issue also details the software used in 3D printing, how to scan objects, how to design objects, and the variety of materials you can use for 3D printing.
"We also take a look at some of the most useful objects you can download and print, the coolest things people have created with this technology, amazing medical applications, what the future of 3D printing might look like, and more," added Branwyn.
And the winners are...
Best Overall Experience: Afinia H-Series; also won for Easiest Setup and Easiest to Use. MAKE Editorial Director Gareth Branwyn calls this printer family-friendly and jokingly refers to it as the "Easy Bake Oven" of all the printers tested.
Best Open Hardware: Ultimaker; also won for Most Accurate and Fastest. Branwyn says this machine is a tinkerer's dream -- for makers who want to get under the hood and tune their printer to perfection.
Best in Class (Premium): MakerBot Replicator 2; also a runner-up for Most Accurate. This is the machine for maker professionals, those who want to do modeling, rapid prototyping, product parts, and similar applications.
Best in Class (Midrange): Type A Series 1; also a runner-up for Most Accurate. This machine was identified as another printer for the serious enthusiast or professional, with its huge print volume and excellent output results.
Best in Class (Entry Level): Printrbot LC; A great "my first 3D printer," says Branwyn, a perfect way to get your feet wet without spending a lot of money.
MAKE is also hosting its first International Maker Meetup on November 15 at 6pm PST to discuss 3D printing and their test findings. Over 120 meetups are planned around the world, representing nearly 1,000 people. MAKE will also host a Google Hangout On Air during the meetup. For more details or to join, go to http://www.meetup.com/makermeetup/
MAKE is the first magazine and media company devoted entirely to the maker movement. Through a powerful combination of open source hardware, personal fabrication tools, and connected makers, MAKE and the maker movement are fostering sweeping changes, from the classroom to the boardroom. MAKE teaches and celebrates the personal and inspired use of technology through its flagship magazine (makezine.com/magazine), its wildly popular website (makezine.com), its online Maker Shed store (makershed.com), and Maker Faire, the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth (makerfaire.com). MAKE is a division of O'Reilly Media and based in Sebastopol, CA. "The maker movement has brought the pre-1970s world of basement workshops and amateur tinkering into the digital age." -- The New York Times