Tech Spotlight: 3D printers at Laramie County Library

Explore STEM and 3D modeling at the Laramie County Library
Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 3:55 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - It used to be a popular meme online, and pokes fun at an old commercial. ‘You wouldn’t download a car’. Sounds ridiculous, right? Now that advanced technology is becoming cheaper and more widely available, that joke phrase may not be as facetious.

The Laramie County Library offers two 3D printers on the third floor, in the computer lab. When you walk into the room, you can see them tucked neatly in the corner of the room, just behind the desk. If you’re lucky, you may be able to catch one in action.

3D printers use plastic filament to ‘print’ a 3D object. It uses a nozzle that gets very hot, melting the plastic into very thin layers. A computer guides the nozzle, or extruder, precisely along the printing bed, stacking the layers until your finished project is presented at the end.

As long as you can create or get ahold of a 3D model file on your computer, and the object follows the library’s guidelines, you can send it in and have that object printed into whatever you may need. The library charges 10 cents per gram of plastic used. They do this to recuperate the cost of the printer and plastic used.

3D printers are not exactly like our more common 2D printers, that just print ink on paper, these take time and precision. Smaller, less detailed prints can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. However, larger, more detailed products can take days to wrap up.

Laramie County teachers have utilized the library’s 3D printer for use in their classrooms, and members of the public have used it to create items for costumes, or essential household pieces.

To learn more about the library’s 3D printers, request a print, and to find the full list of rules, click here.