Vernon Area Library offers 3-D printing
Submitted by the Vernon Area Public Library District
Vernon Area Library cardholders now have access to two 3-D printers, allowing them to create a variety of objects, such as keychains, game pieces or missing parts. Any small item that can be imagined can be printed, as long as there are dimensional design specifications for it.
A 3-D printer forms simple objects by using heated filament and STereoLithography files, a format related t computer-aided design. The STL file tells the printer what pattern or design to make with the filament, which is composed of polylactic acid, a BPA-free cornstarch-based material also used for medical purposes.
To begin printing a 3-D object, patrons are encouraged to browse files online at sites like www.thingiverse.com or create their own design at www.tinkercad.com. Once the file is ready, the cardholder completes a brief request form and uploads the design through the library's website. Cardholders are notified when their object is ready for pickup at the library.
"Libraries have increasingly become destinations for creative people," library spokesperson Catherine Savage said, "and libraries have responded by aiming to own equipment that is cost-prohibitive for community members to own themselves."
Vernon Area Library used donated funds to acquire the LulzBot Mini 3-D at a cost of $1,925 and the larger LulzBot TAZ for $3,575. Other Lake County libraries offering 3-D printing services to patrons include Ela Area Public Library in Lake Zurich, Fremont Public Library in Mundelein and Wauconda Area Library.
Vernon Area is offering 3-D printing classes to give patrons an opportunity to better understand and use the new technology. The first class filled quickly; a second is being offered on Thursday, Feb. 8, and additional sessions will be held in spring.
The LulzBot Mini is on display so visitors can see it placing plastic, drop-by-drop, to build each object. Stop by the library at 300 Olde Half Day Road., Lincolnshire, to view.
The Vernon Area Public Library District serves a population of 42,900 within a 29-square-mile area that includes Lincolnshire, Prairie View, and parts of Buffalo Grove, Long Grove, Riverwoods, Vernon Hills, and unincorporated Vernon and Ela townships. For more information about the library and its services, visit www.vapld.info.
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