You Can Now 3-D Print at the Carnegie Library (For Free)

You don’t need to buy your own 3-D printer to create sweet stuff — you just need to visit the Carnegie Library.


Photo courtesy of MakerBot
 

 

From ink-and-paper books to robust online tools, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh continues to evolve. Now, the Job and Career Education Center at its main branch in Oakland is home to the 3-D MakerBot Replicator 2, a 3-D printer roughly the size of a desktop computer.

Sending a file to MakerBot isn’t too different from printing a regular Word document; after MakerBot receives data, it constructs an object by layering heated plastic one sliver at a time until the item is complete. Funded by a $30,000 Library Services and Technology Act grant, MakerBot is available to the public at no cost, says Wes Roberts, senior librarian at the Job and Career Education Center.

“It’s built on the spirit of what is called the maker movement,” Roberts says. “It’s a bottom-up movement of people making things — and it’s starting to impact the overall economy.”

He says patrons have printed a range of objects, from commonplace lampshades to replicas of original artwork. While tech-minded printers can design their own files, blueprints for 3-D printers are available on sites including thingiverse.com. Smartphone apps such as Autodesk 123D Catch also can scan or take a photo of an object and then render it into a 3-D file.

Library patrons can contact Roberts for a one-on-one consultation or attend monthly workshops to learn more. Want to try it? Email the JCEC at jcec@carnegielibrary.org, call 412/622-3133 or visit carnegielibrary.org more information.

 

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