Youth Easy Books

3-D Printer

The library has a Maker Bot Replicator 2 in the Youth Department. The library offers an orientation to the printer at various times throughout the year. Check our calendar to see when orientations are scheduled. We are also happy to schedule one-on-one orientations. Please call the library's Youth Department at 603-352-0157 to make an appointment.

Once someone is trained on how to use the printer, he or she can sign up in the Youth Department or call 603-352-0157 to reserve a time to print. You may be able to drop-in and print, however, printing may not always be available because of equipment maintenance or staffing concerns. Because of demand, we may also limit you to only one print per week. 

Some 3D modeling software is available in the Youth Department. Printing is free but we request that you limit print jobs to items that take one hour or less. If you need to print something longer, we will try to work with you but we'll have to find a time to schedule the print that does not interfere with other jobs or programs. Please call the Youth Department at 603-352-0157 with questions.

Many users print from Thingiverse. Other users use free online modeling software such as Tinkercad. Blender and Sketch Up are available in the Youth Department. Sketch up does not export to STL's for 3D printer so users need to also use a plugin to give it this functionality.

What is 3D printing?

3D printing, or rapid prototyping, is a process in which solid objects are created from planted-based plastics from a 3D digital design. Rather than cutting away material, objects are created by printing layers of material that are combined to produce a physical object.

What is 3D printing used for?

3D printing has a wide variety of uses. Users can create anything from jewelry and puzzle pieces to architectural models and cookie cutters. Prints can range from artistic to functional, all based on the user’s creativity and needs.

How can I use the Library's 3D printer to print my model?

Using the 3D printer will be easy. All you need is a 3D model saved or exported in .STL (stereo lithography) file format. STL files can be exported from most 3D design software (check out free ones like Sketchup and Autodesk123d). Additionally, you can find models in .STL format on websites like Thingiverse.com. We run .STL files through free software (you can download it to your computer too!) called Makerware, that lets us manipulate the object and then ultimately print it.

Right now we are offering weekly or bi-weekly introduction labs that can get kids and adults started. Once someone has attended a lab, they can drop in or schedule some time on the printer. At this point, because of the printer's popularity and because of the time it takes to print items, we are limiting these printing periods to one hour in length.

In the labs, participants work at their own pace to develop and practice two skills: duplicating and designing. When duplicating, participants will learn to search Thingiverse for a cool object, download and use Makerware software to adjust the object. When designing, participants will use Tinkercad.com to create a basic design, download and use Makerware software manipulate the size and specs of the object and finally print it!  Check out our online calendar for current dates and times.

Why this technology in the library?

The 3D Printer is a tool for innovation and creativity which also happens to be the core of the library. Libraries are places for idea creation and knowledge generation. And here are some ways 3D Printers provide benefits to learning:

-- Using math, hard science, engineering and technology to make design prototypes and troubleshoot printer.

-- Allows people to be creative with problem-solving techniques.

-- People have to focus on one project at a time from the beginning to the end.

-- And much more.