Maker Space Expanding Soon for Do-It-Yourselfers
May 2, 2023 — Here’s great news for do-it-yourselfers, inventors and hobbyists of all ages: The Maker Space at the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library will soon add new, high-tech equipment so they can do even more.
“All of these items can be used by hobbyists, teens or small business owners and entrepreneurs to create custom, small-batch, high-quality items for gifts or promotions,” says Eva Pelkey, Midtown Carnegie Branch Manager. “If you've ever purchased something custom from Etsy, there's a good chance we could help you create the item yourself in our Maker Space.”
The newest additions that will soon be available at the Maker Space are supported with $13,484 grant from 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. The Library District provided an additional $4,496 for the project.
The Maker Space opened in September 2020 for the public to work on their own projects, or attend how-to programs and instruction on using the vinyl cutter for decals and signs, 3D printer, laser engraver and soldering station. Other equipment allows a person to convert VHS tapes and photo negative slides to digital format. It marked the first foray into maker space technology for the Springfield-Greene County Libraries.
Once the new equipment is in place, Maker Space staff will schedule classes to help everyone learn how to use them. Maker nerds will already know what fun they’ll have with these new pieces:
- Two new Prusa i3 MK3S+ 3D printers – to increase library staff’s capacity to help with patron printing needs.
- An ELEGOO Mars 3 Prok 4K Resin 3D printer. Resin printing produces highly smooth, detailed, and high-quality 3D printed objects. If precision is particularly important to a 3D print, resin may be the preferred material.
- An Einscan 3D Scanner.
“We've had multiple requests for a 3D scanner,” says Midtown Carnegie Branch Manager Eva Pelkey. “This will appeal to everyone from hobbyists and students to inventors and entrepreneurs.”
Here’s why: People creating a 3D-printed object must first find an open-source file online, buy one or design one from scratch. It can be difficult and time consuming. The 3D scanner will allow you to save time and work if replicating a real-life object. “It will scan your item from multiple angles and create a 3D design that you can print or manipulate,” Pelkey said. If you need to replace a specific part, or you have a part that doesn’t fit your project, you can create and adjust your design using a 3D scanner without having to measure and design that part from scratch. “If you're designing a prototype, 3D scanning can save you the effort of creating something over and over by hand until it's exactly right.”
- A Mayku FormBox Vacuum Former. This allows you to quickly and easily create custom molds in any shape for things such as soap, chocolate or resin. You can also use it to create custom plastic packaging (think of the custom-made plastic packaging sealing kid's toys).
- Sawgrass Sublimation Printer. Sublimation printing allows you to transfer high-resolution prints to many different surfaces, and it's higher quality and longer-lasting than vinyl. Pelkey explains: “It won't fade or peel because the ink is absorbed into the item's surface, rather than remaining as a top layer like a sticker or vinyl. This means you can wash items without worrying about peeling or fading. This is great for quality custom products such as shirts, tumblers, hats, etc. To go along with this item, and our existing Cricut and vinyl cutter we are purchasing two heat presses.”
The grant also provides two new laptops to use with the sublimation printer and 3D scanner.
- HeatPress Nation 7 in 1 Automated Sublimation Mug and Tumbler press and HeatPress Nation Cap and Hat Heat Press. These are both high-quality machines that simplify transferring professional designs to various sized mugs, water bottles, tumblers and hats.
“To complement our current VHS-to-digital converter and our slide/negative converter,” Pelkey adds, “we are purchasing a cassette-to-digital converter and an 8mm film digitizer. We have many requests from patrons wishing to convert their old home movies and 8mm film to digital format, so we're particularly excited to begin offering this equipment to the public.”
Use of the Maker Space is free; there are fees for consumable materials unless used as part of a program. Registration is required for individual maker sessions and programs. For information, a tour or to register, call 417-837-5011.