By Forrest Hershberger
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

Sidney Library Introduces New Tech to Hobbyists, Small Businesses

 

Forrest Hershberger

Andrew "Sherm" Sherman explains how the laser engraver works in the Sidney Public Library's MakerSpace lab. The facility was purchased with a grant.

About seven months in service, and Sidney Public Library's MakerSpace is drawing interest from the community.

MakerSpace is a program at the library that offers computer-based technology including 3-D printing, engraving and Virtual Reality.Thursday afternoon, library supervisor Andrew "Sherm" Sherman hosted a tour on the MakerSpace program including what it can do and what the limits are.

Most of the MakerSpace program is in a room separate from the main library. The laser, a 40-watt laser, is an entry-level unit but still costs about $10,000.

"We're happy to have it," he said.

The laser is designed to engrave in glass, plastic, wood, most metals and "we're supposed to be able to do marble," Sherman said. It can do some types of photography, but line drawings are recommended over JPEG formats.

The MakerSpace program also has a router strictly reserved for engraving and cutting.

The 3-D printer uses a plant-based plastic with a string of material fed similar in appearance to grass trimmer string into the printer. Other designs use a plastic powder.

The MakerSpace program also has a Cricket printer, a printer that is designed to reproduce on plastic, vinyl and cloth.

The library does not provide material for the MakerSpace lab. Materials can be purchased through local businesses, Sherman said. Costs are estimated at about $20 for a double-sided piece of metal for engraving. Use of the Cricket is priced at $5 per print job. Use of the MakerSpace lab is $5 access fee and $25 per month. A library card is also required.


The MakerSpace lab was funded by a grant. Fees are to cover the costs of the material, Sherman said. He said most of the activity in MakerSpace has been hobbyists using the tools for unique gifts and special occasions. He said new businesses are welcome to use the resources. However, if a business begins to require too much of the resources, the owners may be encouraged to seek his or her own printers and engravers.

 

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