I'm rather excited about one of our new acquisitions at Auckland Libraries. Our newly arrived 3D printer is turning heads, creating conversations and providing people with the opportunity to engage with this relatively new piece of affordable technology. Currently inhabiting a disused kitchen area on the 1st floor, this fantastic device is now available for all our users to see, play with and learn about. The printer itself is cool, but is really only part of a Makerspace environment where we are seeking to provide opportunities for people to come together to learn, experiment, and create. I had a look at it on Friday and talked with some of the team who are helping make this vision a reality and I have to say I am very impressed with what they have done. This is the printer itself, which looks about as far from a laser printer as you can imagine. If you don't know much about 3D printers there is plenty of information about them on the internet but in short the printer takes a raw ingredient (in this case PLA) and melts and deposits it onto a platter slowly creating an object by depositing layer upon layer. This takes a 3D plan and some time to make the object you are after. Below is our printer.
With anything like this, some trial and error is needed to get this right. You either make a plan or take one someone else has made and then put it into progress to see if it actually works. Being the owner of a new iPhone 5S and not having a case, I decided to see if we could produce a case. The answer is yes it technically can, but the plan we found on the internet did not quite mesh with our printer. The picture of the result is below. I will be going back later next week to see if we can get it right. I like the idea of printing my own case and also being able to show people a practical application of what this device can do.