This week’s selection is “3D Printing Projects” by Sachidanand Jha.
While there are plenty of 3D printing project books, this one is a bit different. Instead of providing a lengthy design with multiple steps and assembly, it is simply a collection of engineering drawings.
The authors call them “Practice Drawings”, and most appear similar to those depicted in this image:
The idea is to open up your favorite 3D CAD software and attempt to replicate the part described in the image.
Wait a moment, these are not your parts. They are someone else’s parts. Why would you want to design them?
The goal is simply “practice”. They explain:
“This book is for Tinkercad, FreeCAD, Fusion 360, and other feature-building software such as Inventor, Catia, SOLIDWORKS, NX, Solid Edge, AutoCAD, PTC Creo, etc. It is intended to provide drafters, designers and engineers with enough 3D CAD exercises for practice and make models for use with 3D printers.”
It’s essentially a 200-project design challenge in which you can progressively attempt to replicate each design using your CAD tools. In a sense, it might be like a game where you have to complete all the steps. In this case, it is designs.
Why do this at all? It is an effective way to increase your design skills using CAD tools. It’s one thing to read a book about how to do something, but quite another to actually do it yourself. They say:
“This book does not provide step by step tutorials to design the 3D models”.
That’s right: you’re on your own and that’s the entire point of the book.
These are simply design challenges you must figure out how to do using your skills. You may, at times, resort to looking up how to do a particular operation, but that’s how you learn: the 200 challenges force you to do so.
Since the material is simply designs as above, it is entirely usable regardless of the design tools you may happen to use. A good designer should be able to make them in any tool they are trained to use.
I am pretty sure that anyone who goes through all 200 designs would definitely improve their 3D CAD skills and more importantly, their speed of design.
What is the value of speeding up your design work? It could easily pay back the value of this book.