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With $4, He Made a Protective Case with Maker Space 3D Printer

March 9, 2021 — In the ham radio world, there are a lot of electronics, and ham operator Bill Kastler needed a protective case for one specialized circuit board – an antenna analyzer. Instead of going online to buy a case, he went to The Library’s Maker Space and made his own with the 3D printer.

It’s one of several technologies for DIYers at the Maker Space housed in the Edge Community Technology center at the Midtown Carnegie Branch.

              “The Maker Space is a really great resource for anyone lacking specialized equipment that might be needed on a project,” he says.   “For just a case, it just doesn’t come any easier and better as far as expense.” $4 to be exact. Fees are based on weight of the item.

            Kastler went to a familiar website that has pre-designed 3D projects and found a file for the case he needed and that was compatible with the Maker Space 3D printer. Next, he downloaded the electronic file onto a thumb drive.

 At the Maker Space, the thumb drive went into a laptop and the downloaded image popped up on the screen. From there he sent the file to the 3D printer, “And away we went.” Printing took about three hours.  

 “It’s great I’ve got something now to protect the circuit board so I can handle it,” he says. 

The 3D printer is pretty versatile and can handle many of the 3D projects a person can find with a simple online search, he says.  There are designs for everything from a simple comb to a door hinge to a complex mechanical planetarium. He also shared a web site that has files that can be 3D printed: https://www.thingiverse.com. There’s also software that lets you design your own item.

Kastler is especially proud of the Maker Space because, as a board member of the Friends of the Library, approved a grant to fund it.The project is also supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Missouri State Library, a division of the Office of the Secretary of State.

 “It’s just a tremendous resource for specialized equipment that you normally do not want to buy. If there’s just a one-off project somebody is working on, you don’t want to buy this expensive 3D printer for that.”

The Maker Space also features video transfer equipment to convert and save slides and 35mm film negatives, VHS and DVD movies to a USB drive or SD card, which the user provides. There is no additional cost. The center also has soldering stations, a laser engraver for signs, and a vinyl cutter for iron-on transfers for T-shirts, bags or signs.

Make an appointment to tour or use the grant-funded Maker Space by calling the Edge at 417-837-5011.  


Kathleen O'Dell
Community Relations Director
(417) 616-0564
Sarah Jane Rosendahl
(417) 616-0566

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