November 20, 2015
3D Printer at East Hartford Library Offers "Endless Posibilities" Thanks to UTRC Funding

EAST HARTFORD, Connecticut – In late 2014, UTRC provided a gift of more than $5,000 to East Hartford’s Raymond Library to cover the purchase of a 3D printer for use by library patrons.

The unit, installed in mid-September 2015 in the library's second-floor "Creative Commons" area, served as the focus of an hourlong 3D printing tutorial on Monday, Nov. 16. A retired library director, housewife, and former teacher attended the class, and each expressed excitement about the technology and appreciation to UTRC for making it available to them.

"I'm always interested in new technology and I didn't undertand this," said class participant Elizabeth Slaughter. "Now that it has been explained to me, I want my grandchildren, who are six and eight, to design something at home and bring it in to print. The six-year-old is already really excited about it. So thank you. An investment like this is expensive for the town and I very much appreciate that your company donated the funds to make it possible."

Another participant, Vince Juliano, offered, "I think it's great that UTRC has proivded this to the community. The technology is very interesting and I'm enjoying the process of learning something new."

According to East Hartford Director of Libraries, Susan Hansen, the 3D printer is a simple machine that works very much like a glue gun sold in craft stores. It features a nozzle that heats to 215 degrees Celsius and accepts MakerBot PLA filament spools of various colors. The filament is fabricated from a nontoxic resin made of sugar derived from field corn. Once the filament is fed into the nozzle, it is melted and extruded on a print bed. Files are sent to the printer via a USB drive and it can read any computer aided-design project saved with an .stl file extension.

"This class completely demystified 3D printing and encouraged the attendees to become designers. They had fun, lost their fear of the technology, and left excited about what they had learned," said Hansen.

She added, "It is important to have 3D printing accessible to the community. It encourages design and experimentation, and rekindles the joy of tinkering: understanding how things work and how to make things. Everything we own, wear, or use every day was designed by someone at some point in time. It's not magic. It's all about human ideas and bringing advances to the world. Providing hands-on access to this technology not only allows people to be culturally and technologically literate, it inspires creativity, discovery and problem-solving."

Contact: Laura Stevens, (860) 610-1653

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