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What is it?
3D printing is the process of taking designs created using computer-aided design (CAD) software and turning them into three-dimensional objects made of plastic, typically PLA. PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a raw material used to create 3D models and is one of the most popular 3D printing materials (known as filaments) around. As a thermoplastic polyester (biodegradable and bioactive), PLA is derived from various renewable (green) resources; In the US and Canada PLA is made from corn starch, in Asia, starch and tapioca roots and other places around the world use sugarcane.
In accordance with the Fox River Valley Public Library District’s Strategic Plan, the Library will enrich learning opportunities by employing technology to benefit our residents, including the integration of digital literacy and “maker” culture. Our 3D printer accomplishes this by:
introducing patrons to manufacturing and engineering as viable career options
empowering patrons to use CAD software to design and create three-dimensional objects that have both practical and fun purposes
engaging patrons in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)
providing another level of service for our patrons to utilize and enjoy.
How Does it Work?
Thanks to a generous donation from the Friends of the Library, The Fox River Valley Public Library District has a Makerbot Replicator and LulzBot Mini 3D Printer. Both 3D printers use PLA (polylactic acid) plastic, known as filament, to create objects. PLA filament is a bioplastic that is derived from corn and contains no heavy metals, phthalates or BPA. Once a design is sent to the printer, the printer feeds the filament through an extruder with a metal nozzle on the end. The extruder heats up to 215 degrees Celsius (419 degrees Fahrenheit) and extrudes the filament into sheets, layer-by-layer, on what is known as the build plate or build platform. As these sheets cool, almost instantaneously, they bind together to create an object.
Objects created with the 3D printer can range from completely hollow to completely solid as determined by the quality settings input into the printer. Higher quality prints use much more filament than lower quality prints. It is important to note that the purpose of our 3D printer is to promote and foster creativity and knowledge, therefore we cannot guarantee that objects printed will be of commercial quality. If patrons need something to be extremely precise, they may consider using a commercial printer.
Maximum print dimensions: 9.9 (L) x 7.8 (W) x 5.9 (H) inches
Print time: On average, a print takes about 1—3 hours; however, something that is maximum print size will take over 20 hours to print. The bigger the object, the longer it takes to print.
3D prints are $.10 per gram
How to Submit a 3D Print Request
See the "Request a Print" near the top of this page for more information.
The Fox River Valley Public Library District has a variety of colors available to choose from.