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SWON News: Future of Libraries

First-Hand 3D Fun, Errr, Experience

Tuesday, December 2, 2014  
Posted by: Melanie Blau McDonald
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We kept waiting.

We kept waiting for the prices to come down and for the quality to go up.

We kept waiting for a flash of an idea that we could run with, programming-wise, to make the purchase justifiable.

We kept waiting to “get it.”

Finally, a couple of weeks ago, after one of my colleagues, Jay Burton* jumped in, and I listened jealously to his description of it still not making much sense to him, but he did it anyway, I jumped in too.

SWON Libraries now owns and circulates a 3D printer** to our region of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky.

Day One – We were too busy to open the box.

Day Two thru Day Five – We were still too busy to open the box.

Day Six – Opened the box, read the Quick Start Guide, followed directions, downloaded a simple item file from Thingiverse, and hit “Print.” It didn’t work.

Day Seven – Looked for a full manual online, found one. Followed those instructions and again it did not work.

Day Eight – Racheal found the correct manual online, followed the instructions and started making stuff. We made a miniature chess set based on characters from Dr. Who.*** So fun! We printed an arm that would allow us to load a larger spool of material to the side of the 3D printer. It broke. We examined the piece, examined the machine, examined the first arm and discussed design modifications we wanted to try on the next iteration.

Day Nine – Found a different spool holder and planned to print it the next morning. It was of a different design and would take longer to print than our first iteration. We planned to print the chess set in a larger size to see what effect scale would have on the design of the pieces.

Day Ten – Printed the spool holder pieces in the morning. The largest piece cracked while printing. Had a discussion about whether or not printing it upright had an impact on the cracking. In other words, was the pressure/heat combination to much in the vertical space vs. how it originally showed up on platform, i.e. flat.

Racheal and I are having so much fun with the 3D printer. We’re experimenting. We’re solving a problem. We’re engaged. We’re excited. We’re learning. We’re gaining experience.

You and your patrons could be having this much fun-experience too! Why not dabble your toes with us?

~ Melanie

*Jay Burton is the Executive Director of the Southeast Regional Library System (SERLS) of Ohio. Thanks Jay!

** We bought an UP Plus 2.

***Who #Chess by MakeAlotPublished on March 23, Commons - Attribution

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