Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Where do we put a 3D printer in the library?

Where do you put a printer? The best answer is somewhere that is in view when printing. We have 2 Ultimaker 2 printers. One Ultimaker 2 is in the Digital Media Lab in the Reference Department.  Most people do not see the printer there because it is tucked away in a corner but at the same time we don't have to worry about kids sticking their fingers in it or it getting bumped or jostled in the daily hustle and bustle of after school.  Although not directly seen from the service desk, it is still possible to swing by and check on a print or if it's not too loud to hear if something stops.

Another printer that I use more often is the Ultimaker 2 extended in our staff Resource Room where we hold many Tinkering Tuesday and 3D printing specific classes.   This is on the bottom floor where the printer is hidden behind a room divider.  We are a 3 floor building with the children's room located on the 2nd floor and the Reference/YA department located on the 3rd.  Sometimes when I don't get a chance to check on a print this is what happens. It was suppose to be a bus. Did you guess right? 3 hours of printing down the drain. 

In addition to just general mishaps,  my filament spools have been getting tangled which is something that could happen during long prints if the filament becomes loose when changing between reels.  I might not see this issue in time, leaving the printer to continue with the print but not having access to any filament, so it just prints NOTHING.  I fixed this problem by leaving the reels on the floor hooked up to a wooden block so the reels can fix themselves (I hope). Think like a paper towel holder. People online have designed 3D printed ways to solve the problem or using old lazy susans.  I LOVE THE INTERNET!





I finally installed a free app called Presence which turns any old iPhone or iPad into a remote camera that can be accessed through their website on any other device or computer.  All that is required is a reliable wireless network and a free account. If you leave it open it is a bit glitchy but it can be fixed by just reloading the webpage rather than having to leave the desk to go downstairs. It does save time when one is tied to the desk. My Fitbit is going to be quite sad with this development.



Wherever you decide to put your printer make sure it is well ventilated. An office, which is where our first printers started, is not a good idea especially if you are printing in ABS.  Having it out in the open on the floor or setting it up in a room that can have a window open during long prints is ideal. Even printing in PLA, which is what we do, does produce an odor which may or may not at this point be bad for you. 

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