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Library prints new chapter in third dimension

It may seem far-fetched, like something out of a science fiction novel, but the Main Public Library in Sudbury is reaching into the third dimension.
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Virtual librarian, Brian Harding, constructed a Northern Life keychain using the library's new 3D printer. Visitors will be able to use the printer for free as part of a new workshop called Maker Space, which is planned to launch in the new year. Photo by Heather Green-Oliver.
It may seem far-fetched, like something out of a science fiction novel, but the Main Public Library in Sudbury is reaching into the third dimension.

Virtual librarian Brian Harding said the library purchased the MakeBot Replicator 2X in hopes of providing innovators with the tools to make their

ideas come to life.

"3D printers are still really expensive," Harding said. "Most people can't afford to have them in their own homes."

Which is why the library plans to invite visitors to use the 3D printer for free as part of a new workshop called Maker Space.

Using software similar to AutoCAD, visitors can create a design using one or two colours. The design is then downloaded to the 3D printer using a SD

card and the process begins.

"It deposits the plastic layer by layer," Harding said. "Using two print heads that work like hot glue guns."

One kilogram of coloured plastic costs about $50 but unlike molded plastic products, objects made on a 3D printer are hollow inside which saves money

by using less product.

Maker Space, which will begin in the new year, will also provide sewing machines, carpentry tools and programmable microprocessors for building

robots — tools to which the average person might not have access.

"And to be able to turn your idea into a physical object is really amazing," said Harding.

The printer was purcased for about $3,000 as part of grant from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

For more information on the upcoming Marker Space workshop visit sudburylibraries.ca.

Watch the video to see the 3D printer in action.

Heather Green-Oliver

About the Author: Heather Green-Oliver

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