Benbrook Library / Library services

Printing Future Style, Today!


The future is here. Well, technically, due to its inherent futureness, the future is never exactly here, but it’s an impressive-sounding assertion and the sentiment is appropriate here, okay? For the past couple of weeks, the library staff has been experimenting with one of our newest high-tech gizmos, an honest-to-goodness 3D printer. Those of you thinking that 3D printing sounds like something George Jetson might do at Spacely Space Sprockets, I’m with you. I find it crazy and amazing both that such a technology exists and that it’s affordable enough for libraries to offer to patrons.

When I first heard about 3D printers, I imagined you would place an object into a chamber, where it would be scanned by a series of lasers, and a perfect replica of that object would be spit out in a neighboring chamber. Alas, that’s not how it works; what I just described would be more like a cloning machine, and such a thing doesn’t exist…yet. How the library’s 3D printer, the MakerBot Replicator 2, actually works is still pretty incredible. All you need is a CAD design of an object, and the printer will build the object from the bottom up out of melted plastic filament. Here’s a video of the process in action. There are tons of freely available designs to print instantly on MakerBot’s Thingiverse website, so the artistically challenged need not fret. We’ve been printing out some of our favorites in the name of educating and amusing ourselves. Behold:


It would be rude of us to hog all of this Jetsonian 3D printing for ourselves, so we’re preparing to let the public in on the fun. From Monday, November 25 – Wednesday, November 27, from 2 – 6 PM each day, we’re holding the majestic grand opening of the library’s Maker Space, which is our cutting edge collection of creativity-facilitating gadgets. In addition to the 3D printer, we have a shape cutter, an electronic sketch pad, and a MacBook Pro loaded with the Adobe Creative Suite of design software, as well as with music, photo, and video editing software. The grand opening will be your first opportunity to get a look at all the new goodies and get a feel for how they work and what they can do. Starting December 2, all of the devices will be made fully available for you to get all kinds of creative. Please join us in the future-y present.

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