John O. Milewski (writer, consultant, and educator of newcomers to the field of 3D printing and additive manufacturing) and Springer International Publishing (publishers of the Springer Series in Material Science) have joined together to bring those new to the field of 3D printing and, more specifically, to the subset additive manufacturing of metals the first, to my knowledge, comprehensive overview of the fundamental elements and processes used to 3D-print metal.
Let's stop right there. I and the author—me more vociferously—have a problem calling laser additive manufacturing 3D metal printing. Thankfully John recognized, as I did in 2013, that 3D printing was like an avalanche, running wild down the technology slope, powered by the genius of a generation of computer-game players that latched on to a new way to rapidly, and relatively cheaply, make three-dimensional things from two-dimensional drawings on a special desktop printer. The result was a technology innovation that caught the fancy of fertile minds, primed for an outlet for their creative energy.
Thanks to these curious, bright, and imaginative visionaries, 3D printing became a household term—I found more than 1.8 million references in 0.97 seconds on Google Scholar.
I came to the conclusion, while grating my teeth when laser additive manufacturing was labeled 3D printing, that it was a door-opener for the more sophisticated—and a bit harder to explain—metal deposition process. In the reference above, I conceded and suggested that we should savor the ride on the coattails of 3D printing because it could take you places—faster than the term laser additive manufacturing can.
Milewski elevates 3D metal deposition to the prominence it deserves by writing a book that those imaginative minds doing 3D printing were yearning for—how to produce the three-dimensional metal parts they envisioned.
Readers can pick and choose from the 12 sections in Additive Manufacturing of Metals, saving those that appear too deep for later scrutiny. I advise not to because Milewski writes clearly—at a level that newcomers can and should understand and seasoned veterans of additive manufacturing technology will value as a needed refresher. I, for example, relished the section on Understanding Metal for Additive Manufacturing because, educated as a chemist, I learned about metals by osmosis gleaned from a number of very good metallurgist coworkers and a course on metallography I took at MIT.
This book, as the subtitle suggests, covers subjects from fundamental technology to rocket nozzles, medical implants, and custom jewelry. The author shares a multitude of useful footnotes and pages of references at the end. Also included are practical appendices for users.
Milewski sums up the raison d’être for his book as "…a single source of entry-level information…" and it is. I can heartedly recommend this book as a valuable reference and a good read for all interested in additive manufacturing.