Posted on December 14, 2016 at 9:30 am
UPDATED FROM PREVIOUS POST
3D printing pops up in my newsfeed with increased regularity. Maybe you’ve seen some of the coverage too? Museums are using 3D printing to create replicas of priceless ancient artifacts for study and to allow people with visual impairments to experience masterpieces firsthand. Individuals and other organizations are also putting 3D printing to good use. You might have seen news coverage of someone like this ten-year-old boy making a prosthetic hand or this puppy using a 3D printed wheelchair.
Over the years, 3D printing has become more mainstream, and now you can access one at your local library! The District recently installed our first 3D printer, an Ultimaker 2, for public use at the Spokane Valley Library on the first floor.
If you haven’t seen it in action, the 3D printing process is mesmerizing. The printer builds an object from a digital file by adding layer after layer of plastic filament. It’s a little bit like a hot glue gun, but instead of glue it extrudes PLA (polylactic acid) filament—a hard bioplastic derived from renewable starch based resources. From action figures with moveable parts to custom cellphone charging stands and prosthesis prototypes, few limitations exist when it comes to 3D printing.
If you can design it, now we can print it. Want to give 3D printing a try? Here’s what you need to know:
I hope folks take the opportunity to explore their 3D printing ideas. I have been noodling around with an idea for custom cookie cutters as a Christmas gift for family members, but shhh, don’t tell them.