Beginners Build Knowledge Of 3D Printing At Library
The C.H. Booth Library hosted an Intro to 3D Printing class in its chbMAKERS’ Corner on Monday, December 30.
It was a small group due to a thunderstorm that rolled in that evening, bringing with it flashes of light that illuminated the library’s windows and bouts of thunder from nearby.
Young Adult Librarian Catherine Findorak handed out an informational pamphlet to each student to help them follow along as she went over how 3D printing works and what tools are involved.
She explained that the goal of the class was to help each person feel comfortable using the equipment and that after this course, they will be eligible to use the equipment independently if they wished.
“It’s free to use,” Ms Findorak said. “We don’t charge for materials.”
The library currently has three 3D printers with different colored filament. Laptops are available to access design software for creating 3D models.
She recommended beginners use the TinkerCAD design software, because it has a tutorial and preset shape options to work with. Those looking to browse through pre-made designs can go to thingiverse.com to access free 3D models.
“Once you have a design, you can export your object as a print-read STL file,” the informational packet detailed.
From there, the STL file can be uploaded into a “slicer” program, which Ms Findorak explained is a computer software that allows the 3D printer to understand what the designer wants to make. The library currently uses Cura for its 3D slicer program.
During the introductory class, Ms Findorak made a roughly two-inch-tall plastic rooster as an example of what the printers can produce. The process to make the rooster figure took about half an hour and was a solid grey color.
She pointed out to the students how layers of PLA plastic are molded on top of each other to create the desired design.
“You can tell something was printed because you can see the layers,” Ms Findorak said.
When discussing how 3D models can have a variety of different “fill” options on the inside, she passed around samples showing what 13 percent, 15 percent, 20 percent, 65 percent, 80 percent, and 99 percent fill looked like.
She added that some designs will require “support options” — extra plastic printed that is meant to be broken away — and/or a “raft” — a lattice piece at the bottom of the model that is supposed to be pulled off.
Those interested in learning how to use the 3D printers at the library can attend the next Intro to 3D Printing class. It will take place on the second floor of the library in the chbMAKERS’ Corner on Thursday, January 23, from 4 to 5 pm. The class is for ages 12 to adult; those attending who are under 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
To register for an Intro to 3D Printing class, contact Ms Findorak at 203-426-4533 or firstname.lastname@example.org.