Posts Tagged ‘3D printing’

makerspace intellectual

By spring 2014, the Ottawa Public Library will have its very own public makerspace complete with 3D printers, a laser cutter, a video/photo stage with a green screen and computer pods complete with the latest in video, photo and music editing software. The maker movement has been growing at an increasingly rapid pace and there are already many private or membership based makerspaces popping up in Ottawa. Located in the former circulation workroom at the Nepean Centrepointe branch, OPL’s makerspace will be the first and only fully public making facility in Ottawa. Members of the public will have a safe, comfortable space to collaborate, learn and create unique digital and physical artistic works. This new makerspace will be called Imagine Space.

The Library is pleased to announce that they are working with the Unites States Embassy to bring this space to life. As part of the agreement, the U.S. Embassy has provided funds to purchase equipment, tools, and computers, as well as funding for room preparation and programming. OPL will provide a space and funding for staff to manage and oversee the activities and programs of the makerspace. The agreement is for a one-year pilot.

But… what is a makerspace without people? Besides cool new technology, OPL’s space will feature a variety of programming, seminars and workshops. OPL hopes to recruit a pool of community mentors with expertise in areas such as 3D printing, video and music editing, photography, electronics, robotics, programming, physical arts, crafts, human-computer interaction, video game design, self-publishing and hobbies of every stripe. Much in the same way the Library hosts authors for book readings, our maker space will invite engineers and artists to demonstrate circuit board building or video editing.


5886c46b37511aab92feb6048076643eInterested in 3D printing, robots, crafting, tinkering, engineering, electronics, violin construction or any of the other fun stuff that exists in the world of makerspaces? If so, please give serious consideration to attending this year’s Mini Maker Faire at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Makerspaces have been appearing in libraries and community centres at an increasingly rapid pace over the past few years. This is a great opportunity for Library employees to get an inside look at a trend that could impact libraries as much as iPads, tablet PCs and eReaders have in the past.

The following excerpt comes courtesy of the Ottawa Mini Maker Faire:

August 31st & September 1st 2013

Located at the Canada Science and Technology Museum
1867 St Laurent Blvd, Ottawa, ON

10AM – 5PM


The innovation laced through the National Capital Region is impressive, and this third edition of the Ottawa Mini Maker Faire is a chance to connect creative people from all over our region in a celebration of the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) spirit. A Mini Maker Faire brings together families and individuals who celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, food, music, sustainability, and science and those who embrace the DIY spirit. At Mini Maker Faire, the focus is on the process of making – not just the finished product. Follow us on Twitter for updates.

To see what a Mini-Maker Faire is all about, check out our Gallery for photos of the Ottawa Mini Maker Faire 2012 or visit the Ottawa Mini Maker Faire 2010 site HERE.

What is 3D Printing?

3D printing, or additive manufacturing, is the process of making solid objects from digital files. A printer is used to melt down raw materials such as plastics, metal alloys or synthetic silk-like substances. The printer then deposits the raw material onto a platform in much the same way a traditional printer deposits ink onto a sheet of paper. The 3D printer continues to deposit the material in successive layers, building upwards until a real, solid object has been built. Instead of printing a picture of a coffee mug, you can print a real, usable mug and take it with you.

What Can I Make with my 3D Printer?

This depends on the size of your printer, budget and your ability to design. In 2004 Audi created a concept car manufactured in large part by 3D printers. The Audi RSQ was featured prominently in the sci-fi film I, Robot. In 2011, a group of Canadian engineers created the “Urbee”, the world’s first 100% 3D printed car. Archaeologists and museums can scan and replicate fragile cultural relics – imagine being able to reconstruct a duplicate Rosetta Stone without ever endangering the original artifact. Researchers at Cornell University have even used bio-printers to create replacement ears for burn victims and artificial heart valves.

While smaller, non-industrial printers certainly won’t have the ability to manufacture entire vehicles, the types of items they can produce is vast. It’s easy to make figurines, toys & puzzles, replacement parts for household items, mobile phone cases, robots, sunglasses, kitchen utensils – just about anything smaller than a loaf of bread.  The best part is 3D printers are self-replicating. They can be easily used to print parts to build more 3D printers.

Users can download pre-designed objects from websites such as Thingiverse, design their own objects or scan and replicate real-life objects.

3D Printing in Libraries

In recent years public libraries have been evolving from “warehouses with books” to a more community based model. Libraries have become vibrant communities where people meet, socialize, learn, collaborate and create. Regardless of whether you call them hacker spaces, fab labs or maker zones, hobbyist communities are popping up in libraries all across North America.

Just as the Internet democratized access to information, 3D printing technology has the potential to democratize access to the manufacture of goods. With the Internet, the average person has the ability to create and spread information without having to rely on large media companies. 3D printers will allow us to create and share physical items without the reliance on assembly lines or factories. Libraries have always been engines of democracy, and as a progressive, forward thinking organizations they are perfect vehicles to help introduce this emerging technology.

MakerBot Details

While there are other models out there, here are some specs on one of the more popular (and affordable) 3D printers.


  • Cost: $1999 USD
  • Delivery: Comes fully assembled in 10-12 weeks
  • Includes: MakerBot printer w/ double extrusions (prints in two colours simultaneously), two 1KG spools of ABS plastic
  • Features: LCD control panel (controls the printer w/o need for a separate PC), SD card slot to upload schematics and object designs, print volume of 300 cubic inches (about the size of a loaf of bread)
  • Shipping Weight: 32 lbs.
*Audi RSQ, Rosetta Stone images courtesy of Wikipedia. Other images from and