Thanks to a grant, there is now a 3D printer available at McBride Memorial Library. The library began using the 3D printer last month with a few special events centered around holiday ornament printing.
For now, the 3D printer is only available for public use as a part of similar special events. However, the plan is to eventually make it available to the general public for any use. A nominal fee would be charged based on the weight of the item being printed to cover the cost of the printing material.
According to library director Nadine Kramarz, the device was purchased to help promote STEM in the Berwick area and beyond.
“Berwick has always been a town of builders and there is a high demand for people in the STEM fields today,” said Kramarz. “I thought this would help promote STEM in Berwick and long term, there are also possibilities of using it to help others. For instance, there are public libraries around the country that also have 3D printers and contract with developing countries around the world to 3D print various items that are needed in those countries.”
3D printers can print small things, such as the holiday ornaments that were printed at the library’s various events last month, as well as larger things like replacement parts for various devices and even prosthetic limbs. They are also very precise down to such small details like a the threads of a screw.
In order to 3D print something, whatever is being printed first needs to be designed. There are several software programs available to do so. Thingiverse.com and tinkercad.com are both free programs. The design is then saved as a file on an external drive and is plugged into the 3D printer.
For more information on the 3D printer and on McBride Library and its various programs, visit its website.