Plano Public Library Gets Its First 3D Printer

Just a few years ago, 3D printing sounded like something from the faraway future or a sci-fi film. Nowadays, you can create and print just about anything you want, and the only thing you need is your library card.

The Maribelle M. Davis Library is the first and only location in the Plano Public Library system to own and offer a 3D printer for the general public’s use. The CubePro 3D printer arrived at the library on April 10th. The $2,749 purchase was made possible by an Edge Reimbursement Program grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

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Since April 10th, Davis library employees have printed approximately 40 small items on the CubePro. The very first object they printed was an origami crane. Since then, small figurines, toys, puzzles and bookmarks have been created, all for the sake of learning the ins and outs of the printer and the software. The library has even printed a functional piggy bank (officially christened “Penny” by my 8-year-old daughter).

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model of piggy bank // Photo provided by Plano Public Library

Residents with a valid Plano library card and an account balance of $25 or less may submit a .STL file for printing. The library staff will do the actual printing for you. Printing fees are 20 cents per gram. To give you an idea of the cost, the piggy bank they printed would cost you roughly $33.

Objects are printed in PLA thermoplastic in a single color chosen by the staff. Objects must not be larger than nine inches in any direction. The library will not print anything protected under copyright law, and it won’t print anything that seems like a bad idea in general (which we assume means no weapons).

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The Plano library staff hope that having access to the 3D printer will not only educate local kids and adults in the how-tos of 3D printing, but will also spark interest in the larger fields of computer design and modeling. The library staff also expect that offering this technology will draw people into the library that don’t normally visit.

And speaking of new technologies, the Plano Public Library system already has two digital creation spaces for Planoites to use: one at Haggard Library for students in grades 9-12, and one at Parr Library for anyone aged 13 or older. In these digital creation spaces, you can create, edit and publish videos, photos, music and more. Graphic design software is accessible, as well as cameras, scanners, microphones, headphones, mixers, pen tablets, and even a green screen.

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Want to get in on the 3D printing action?

Free 3D printer demonstrations will be held at Davis Library for all ages every Tuesday from June 9 through July 28 at 2-4pm. Demos do not require registration.

Free 3D printing classes (meaning you’ll learn to create these files yourself) require pre-registration here. For grades 1-8, two classes are offered on June 25 & July 23, 2-4pm at Davis Library. For grades 9 through adults, two classes are offered on June 20 & July 18, 9-11am at Davis Library. For grades 4-8, a class is offered on July 27 from 3-5pm at Haggard Library.

Plano Libraries Website >

 

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