Library Column in the Moscow-Pullman Daily News

December 8, 2016

3-D Printing at the Library

by Jessica Bowman

Exciting things are happening in the Latah County Library system. Last weekend the library unveiled its new 3-D printer at the 1912 Center Winter Market. Purchased by the Latah County Library Foundation, the 3-D printer will be available for use by the public. The printer is a Lulzbot Mini model that can create objects with polylactic acid filament, a plastic made from corn and beet products. 3-D printers can be used to print all types of objects, from cookie cutters to prosthetics to the snowflakes that were given away this past Saturday.

Libraries, traditionally seen as a place to check out books, are finding increasingly clever ways to offer services to their patrons. Technology is an ever expanding area and libraries are trying to present their communities with access to a variety of modes. We currently have several online databases that can be used for anything from studying for the SATs or the Citizenship Test to picking out your next great book. We have online magazines and free downloadable music. We have Make Kits that you can take home and learn about Raspberry Pi and Arduinos. We also offer free tech help at 2:30 p.m. every Wednesday or by appointment. And now, thanks to the Latah County Library Foundation, we are providing access to 3-D printing.

It’s a neat technology that allows users to practice their computer-aided design designing skills and use their imagination. Plus, you get to take home your creation.

 

This service is being offered to the community for free at this time. If you would like to 3-D print something, check out the already designed creations on thingiverse.com. Once you have a design picked out, email the link to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will print it out for you and email you when it’s done. Or, if you’d like to try your hand at designing your own 3-D printed object, head to tinkercad.com and create something unique. Once you’ve finished your creation, set up a time to come into the library and upload it onto our computer. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set up an appointment.

Prints will be limited to one per patron per week (Latah County residents) and must be under two hours in duration. We would also love to take our Lulzbot out into the community. I will be making the rounds to the six Latah County Library branches for demonstrations, so stay tuned for that. If you are a local business owner and would like a demonstration or would like to partner with the library, I would be happy to come in and set up the Lulzbot for a while. If you are a teacher and would like a classroom demonstration, we would be happy to accommodate that as well. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.

A huge thank you to the Latah County Library Foundation for allowing us to provide this service to the community.

Jessica Bowman is the adult services manager for the Latah County Library District.