The future of printing comes to library

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 12, 2014

FUTURE OF PRINTING: Dan Beavers offers lessons and demonstrations on 3D printing every Thursday at Crosby Memorial Library.  Photo by Alexandra Hedrick

FUTURE OF PRINTING: Dan Beavers offers lessons and demonstrations on 3D printing every Thursday at Crosby Memorial Library.
Photo by Alexandra Hedrick

The future of manufacturing can be conducted anywhere.

Every Thursday at 3:30 p.m., Crosby Memorial Library offers demonstrations and lessons on three-dimensional printing by Dan Beavers.

Beavers approached the library about offering the demonstrations after he received a 3D printer from Public Lab, a non-profit organization that develops open-source tools for environmental exploration. Beavers, who volunteers for Public Lab, said the non-profit organization received some 3D printers from a manufacturer called MakerBot.

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Beavers was one of the lucky individuals to receive the printer so now he uses it to teach others in the community about 3D printing.

Pearl River County Public Library Systems Director Carol Phares said the program originally targeted teens, but she has seen children, teens and adults come on Thursdays to watch the printer in action and speak with Beavers.

Beavers said the printer works “just like a hot glue gun.”

Just like a regular printer reads an image or word from the computer and prints it on paper, a 3D printer takes the design on the computer and depending on the type of 3D printer, uses different materials to print layers and form a 3D model of the design.

The printer Beavers uses makes the 3D designs out of the same type of plastic that Legos are made of. When the plastic is printing the design, it looks like hot glue being layered to create the object.

Some of the designs Beavers has printed nclude a replica of a Humorous bone, a miniature traffic cone and a heart-shaped container that can be twisted to create a new shape.

Beavers said the amazing part of 3D printing is “complexity has no additional cost.” He explained that a complicated object made by a manufacturer would require additional labor and materials, but that is not the case with 3D printing.

He said one of the benefits of the printer is anyone can produce something without a big facility and it allows for unique manufacturing.

When a patron at Thursday’s demonstration asked what the printer is capable of, Beavers replied, “It is limited by your imagination, time and volume.”

In a powerpoint, Beavers showed examples of satellites, record albums and GE jet engine parts that were all created with a 3D printer.

“I’m always interested in introducing brand new technology, but our funds don’t allow us to go out and buy or experiment with new technology,” Phares said.

Phares said she and the library staff are excited to have the 3D printing program each week. She said during a recent workshop for public libraries, held at Crosby Memorial Library visiting librarians saw the signs advertising the 3D printing class and were impressed the library was offered it.

“There’s been a lot of good, positive feedback,” Phares said.

She said she hopes Beavers continues coming back each week to share his knowledge with the public.

Beavers is at Crosby Memorial Library every week from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.