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3D Printer

Equipment: MakerBot Replicator fifth-generation 3D printer.


Price: Current price for Replicator model is $2,499. A replicator Mini is $1,375.

Software: MakerBot Desktop software converts files to the .makerbot format which is required for printing this is free and available from the MakerBot website. Thingiverse is a library of 3D models available for download, customization and printing.

Why this project? 3D printing is a popular Makerspace activity and lends itself to the library environment because people want to experiment with it but not many have a need for a home system.

Appeal Factors: A wide variety of people have printed items.

Tech savvy needed to implement: Intermediate

Staff training: All staff attended a 30 minute training to show them how to print items. Most staff attended a second training that demonstrated changing the filament.

Implementation tips and hints: Patrons print from USB drives. Although this printer can be networked, we do not have a print management system that allows us to manage jobs. Encourage staff to print items. This gave us a gallery of things to show off when people asked and made staff comfortable with the printer. We added a 3D printing class to our regular computer class rotation. Keep the printer firmware current to minimize problems. Filament color is important to some patrons. We keep a box on our homepage that shows the current filament color. See more 3D printing information on our website.

Marketing: The printer is on our circulation desk so people can see it when they walk in and when they checkout materials.




Patron feedback: We are still getting positive comments about the printer and still having people discover that we have it even though it has been on the circulation desk for over two years.

Things we should have done differently: None.

3-D Scanner

Equipment: MakerBot Digitizer


Price: The Digitizer (desktop 3D Scanner) is $799.

Software: Makerware software is used to digitize items.

Why this project? An additional way to create 3D models that could be printed on our 3D printer.

Appeal Factors: People who need to fabricate a replacement part are, so far, the largest group who have used this equipment.

Tech savvy needed to implement: Intermediate

Staff training: Staff were encouraged to scan an object to test this equipment. This equipment is very simple to use.

Implementation tips and hints: The unit needs to be calibrated periodically for best results. Users are encouraged to do at least two scans that are merged to make a more complete model.


Patron feedback: This scanner does not provide results equal to what the marketing promised. If you have an item smaller than 2”x2” it is almost impossible to get a result. Larger items scan better but the edges are not crisp and results are disappointing.

Things we should have done differently: Based on our experience with this scanner, we would not recommend its purchase.

3-D Software




Why this project?

Appeal Factors:

Tech savvy needed to implement: Beginner – installation, Intermediate to use.

Staff training:

Implementation tips and hints:


Patron feedback:

Things we should have done differently:

Categories: Community, STEMx

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