Those new 3D printers may seem like cutting edge, futuristic technology to some people, but you can learn the inner workings of 3D printing right here in Lawton.
Vivian Sloan, a library assistant at the Lawton Public Library, will be leading a 3D printing class for individuals interested in learning how to utilize the technology.
The library recieved two Lulzbot TAZ-6 3D printers through a grant from the McMahon Foundation. The class will focus on the use of those printers and the software that they run on.
Sloan said library patrons tend to ask two questions about the 3D printers: “How do they work?” and “What’s the point?”
Sloan will try to answer both of those questions through the class.
“In our classes, I explain how different types of 3D printers work. On the most basic level, one could compare a 3D printer to a hot glue gun both have a heating element that melts material and pushes it out onto a surface.
“The 3D printer is obviously far more complicated, and it can actually build a detailed object using the melted filament,” Sloan said.
Sloan admits that patrons are often intimidated by the technology, particularly when it comes to learning the software to run the printers.
The library’s printers use a software called Cura. New programs can seem like daunting things to wrap your head around, but Sloan insists that Cura is user friendly.
“If you can use a mouse to click and drag, you can use Cura. We have taught people of all ages how to use Cura in classes and in one-on-one training sessions at the library.”
As to the question of “What’s the point?”, Sloan explains that 3D printing can have artistic, as well as practical, applications.
“3D printing is fun, but that sometimes makes it seem like a novelty or pointless amusement to some,” Sloan said. “You can actually print many practical objects, and you can sometimes customize your prints or print special objects that cannot be found in any store. Our class covers different types of projects, and there are 3D printing books available at the library as well.”
During the class, participants will discover and download 3D projects from the internet, prepare a project using the Cura software, learn the library’s 3D printer policies and place an order for a 3D print at the library.