Sacramento Public Library Offers a 3D Printing Lab

A Short Profile Series on Local Libraries offering 3D Printing

3D printers are moving at near light-speed, it seems, in terms of their development. Two of the positive aspects are that the quality keeps increasing and the prices keep dropping. But many people are still not ready to buy, which is understandable. So, I started a list of 3D Printing In Public Libraries so that you could find, at least in the USA to start, a free-to-low-cost 3D printer near you.

Every few weeks, I am working on a more in-depth profile about a particular library, to give you a sense of what’s available and to give you a resource that you can use to help your public library make a decision to add a 3D Printer.

The Sacramento Public Library has a 3d Printing Lab within its Arcade branch. The lab is housed in an area they call “The Design Spot.” It is home to three 3D printers (3 Makerbot Replicator 2 machines, 1 PrintrBot Jr.) and computers with AutoCAD and Photoshop software. This equipment, books, and Design Spot programming were made available with funding provided by a grant from the California State Library. The goal of this new area focused on 3D technology is intended to inspire a new interest design for people of all ages.

The two 3D printers, like the ones at The Design Spot, use PLA material. You can read about different materials at my LINK LINK , but PLA (Polylactic Acid) is a bioplastic derived from corn and thus recyclable. The library does not charge for 3D prints, at press time. As with many public locations, there are limits to what you can print. Always check with any public access 3D printing lab before you start printing, however.

The Design Spot does offer classes in 3D Design to help you get started, too.

I am a huge fan of public libraries offering makerspaces and 3D printing labs, but it is not always an easy service to offer, so if you have an interest in volunteering I encourage you to stop by your local library to see if you can help.

In my public library list post, I mentioned visiting the Detroit Public Library Teen Center which is home to a teen/young adult focused makerspace: They call it HYPE: Help Young People Excel. As you can tell, their mission is a bit more broadly defined beyond 3D printing, which is something I hear many communities talking about. HYPE offers a Makerbot Replicator as well as plenty of DIY electronic stuff, too: Raspberry Pi’s, Arduinos and more. They are regular users of Tinkercad, 123D Catch, and other easy-to-use free apps that most makers love.

Public libraries are often the first place people turn when they are trying to learn about a new technology. So, if you are a part of an effort, please get in touch as I would like to hear from people who are leading an effort to start a makerspace or 3D printing lab in their community. My current list only has about 25 or 26 public libraries on it and I know there are more of you out there! Get in touch by clicking my name in the byline above.