3-D Printers for Libraries, 2017 Edition

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  • Table of Contents
  • About the Authors

Library Technology Reports, July 2017 (53:5)

This issue of Library Technology Reports explains both the practicalities of 3-D printing and also its promise and potential in library services. A better understanding of the basics and the theory behind the hardware can help you determine the best ways to integrate 3-D printers into your library. Author Jason Griffey concentrates on the areas where much has changed in the last several years, starting with the variety of materials that are now available for printing. Then he discusses the types of 3-D printing software, including a relatively new set of tools that are designed to make 3-D printing much easier from a management standpoint. Next, he looks at the brands of printers that are available and how best to consider them when making purchasing decisions. And finally, he presents recommendations on library 3-D printing setups. This report will help you better understand the technology involved and will also provide you with a set of recommendations and best practices that will enable you to put together the very best 3-D printing setup for your library community.

This report is an updated version of the 2014 issue of Library Technology Reports 50, no. 5 “3-D Printers for Libraries.”

Chapter 1: Introduction

  1. What is 3-D Printing?
  2. What are the Types of 3-D Printing?

Chapter 2: Types of Filaments for FDM Printing

  1. ABS
  2. PLA
  3. Other Filaments
  4. Specialty Filaments

Chapter 3: Software

  1. Beginner 3-D Design Software
  2. Intermediate 3-D Design Software
  3. Advanced 3-D Design Software
  4. Host Software
  5. 3-D Printer Management Software

Chapter 4: Hardware

  1. Printer Companies and Models
  2. Unusual Printers

Chapter 5: Recommendations

  1. First Printer
  2. Fully Featured Setup
  3. The Case for 3-D Printers in Libraries
  4. Conclusion
  5. Notes

Jason Griffey

Jason Griffey is a librarian, technologist, consultant, writer, and speaker. He is the founder and principal at Evenly Distributed, a technology consulting and creation firm for libraries, museums, educational institutions, and other nonprofits. Griffey is an Affiliate researcher at metaLAB at Harvard University, and a former Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. He was a winner of the Knight Foundation News Challenge for Libraries in 2015 for the Measure the Future project, an open hardware project designed to provide actionable use metrics for library spaces. Griffey is also the creator and director of the LibraryBox Project, an open-source portable digital file distribution system. He has written and spoken internationally on topics such as the future of technology and libraries, personal electronics in the library, privacy, copyright, and intellectual property.

Library Technology Reports

Published by ALA TechSource, Library Technology Reports helps librarians make informed decisions about technology products and projects. Library Technology Reports publishes eight issues annually and provides thorough overviews of current technology. Reports are authored by experts in the field and may address the application of technology to library services, offer evaluative descriptions of specific products or product classes, or cover emerging technology. Find out more information on this publication and how you can subscribe here.