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Between the Stacks: Design Spot’s 3-D printer to the rescue



Have you heard about 3-D printers? They’re all the rage, and they’re now at the Sacramento Public Library – well, there is one at the Design Spot located inside the Arcade Library.

Check out this little story about what the printer can do. Andrea Winchester is a library services assistant at the Rancho Cordova Library, and related how the Design Spot’s 3-D printer helped repair a broken cash register at her library.

It seems like a broken part kept the register from functioning to the best of its ability. You see, the plastic wheel that helped with spooling the register tape was broken, still functioning, but in need of replacement.

Winchester paid a visit to the Arcade Library’s Design Spot and met with Alan Ware, one of the instructors. As it turned out, that library had the same model cash register, with an unbroken, fully functioning wheel that could be used as a model. What luck! Ware told Winchester that through the use of AutoCAD, calipers and “some magic (Winchester did) not understand,” he’d be able to replicate the broken wheel.

Winchester returned to her branch, possibly spreading the news and likely keeping her fingers crossed that the magic would work. In the meantime, Ware worked at the Design Spot.

A few days later, Winchester picked up a shiny, new, yellow, unbroken part, which was promptly put into use upon her return, even though (and we don’t really need to know this next part) a spare had been located.

Arcade Library’s Design Spot and 3-D printer is not just for other libraries within the Sacramento Public Library system. In fact, Ware was one of the instructors at a maker camp held in June. He or one of the engineers is on duty during open hours to assist patrons on a drop-in basis.

Check the library’s website under “Events,” searching for Design Spot or additional camps or workshops like the one scheduled for Aug. 9, “Introduction to Mechanical Drawing.” This program begins at 3 p.m., is geared toward adults and will provide an overview of drafting techniques using pen and pencil, still a necessity in this computer age.

The Design Spot is open to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Keep an eye open for the 3-D printer to make an appearance at a library near you. Funding for the printer, books, computers with AutoCAD software and Photoshop software comes, in part, from a grant received from the California State Library.