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Showing posts from August, 2015

3D Printing: The New Reference Interview?

If you are thinking about implementing a pay to print service with the 3D printer for kids, it won't be something simple as dropping off a file and walking away at least for the first few prints. It is as much a trial and error process for us as it is for the designer.  In library school, they teach us the importance of the reference interview, how to properly cull what a person really wants out of a simple question. If they were looking for architecture books, do they want photography? how to build? famous builders throughout the centuries? Is it a school project or just a hobby?

When a student comes to drop off a 3D print job, questions need to be asked. The librarian will have to look at the design as a .stl file and open it into the propriety software of the 3D printer they have before printing. Cura in the case of the Ultimaker for us, or Cube for our Cube 2D printers.  Once the file is saved as a Cube file, it cannot be edited so always saving the original .stl file is impor…

Mad Science Mondays come to a close

Another round of weekly summer Mad Science Mondays comes to a close. These were drop in science & art based programs for grades K and up with an adult taking place in the children's room for a 2 hour drop in. We did this for the first time last summer. It was so successful we decided to do it again. Our schedule was as follows: (keeping in mind Superheroes as our summer reading theme)

Superhero Gadgets-Use littleBits to make your own gadgets for your hero tool belt
Superhero Lairs- Make your own secret hideout
Superhero Traps-Make Rube Goldberg inspired designs to capture your enemies
Superhero Minions- Build and program your own Lego robot to do your bidding

We were fortunate enough to get a donation of refrigerator boxes from a local appliance store to help us with lairs (think about where you can store these before the program. In our case we had a delivery of boxes two months before and things got tight!).  If lairs would be too big to store, I suggest making superhero ca…

What to Do When the 3DPrinter Breaks?

After 6 months, our 3D printers have had some hiccups. Any library must take into consideration troubleshooting and repair when purchasing a printer. Who is going to fix the printer when it goes down? When the photocopier or printer is busted, we have servicemen we can call. Depending on if you are using 3D printers solely for programs or as a "service," the immediacy of the fix might be more than one librarian can handle.  When purchasing a 3D printer, be sure to ask what kind of support will be given by the company.  When our Cube printers were clogged, we received an email with step by step instructions (with pictures) on how to fix the jam. But what if you're someone that has no experience taking machines apart? How do you overcome the hurdle of taking that leap? The commitment from the staff, and more than just one person, is one of the biggest obstacles I can see to libraries thinking about a printer.  We were very fortunate to have a brave soul on staff that took…

When someone takes the ball and runs with it....!

Yesterday, as we wrapped up our last Arduino Interactive Wall building sessions, Lily showed me the Simon Says exercise she finished. This led us to discuss, "What next?"  We decided, together, that we'll take a little hiatus, have our big Grand Reveal of the wall in a display setting where people can come by, ask us questions, take photos, get some good press for the library, and then we'll use our Tinkering Tuesdays to really dig deeper into C coding language and 3D printing to learn how to write our own code and light up a diorama of 3D printed replicas of famous (and not so famous) places around the world... Having the group make the decisions is a way to get buy-in and create a sense of continuity from project to project....

Arduino Interactive Wall is close to complete

After a fun month of building, painting, attaching, coding, 3D printing, our Arduino Interactive Wall has all the components in place! Still some painting and touch up to do. I plan to document all the circuitry and code so we can make sure it is safe to move to a new location.


It was a BIG commitment of resources, time and treasure, but I felt it was worth it. One of the things I love about it is how we were able to collaborate with artist, Sally Dean, AND engineer, Kevin Osborn. They led us all in the concept and creation of it - adults and teens alike. It felt like we were taken on a creative journey together, following the lead of two seasoned experts.

Is this tinkering? Not on the grander scale, but it was certainly problem-solving and skill-building. Some of the teens learned C++ coding, we all perfected our skills with Tinkercad 3D design work, and the movable parts were somewhat dictated by the teens' interests. All in all, about 12 library patrons participated in this pro…