Friday, January 24, 2014

3-D Printers Hit the Mainstream

Posted By on Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 10:13 AM

The Idaho Commission for Libraries, as part of its Make It at the Library project, hosted Idaho librarians and program specialists in November 2013, where they were trained on 3-D technology and gifted with new 3-D printers to be showcased in libraries throughout Idaho.
  • George Prentice
  • The Idaho Commission for Libraries, as part of its Make It at the Library project, hosted Idaho librarians and program specialists in November 2013, when they were trained on 3-D technology and gifted with new 3-D printers to be showcased in libraries throughout Idaho.

Boise Weekly began the year by examining 3-D printers and Idaho's burgeoning community of men and women who have been building the wondrous innovations.

"Absolutely; there are a lot of us building 3-D printers in Boise," said David Ultis, general manager of Boise's Reuseum and Idaho's go-to guru on all things 3-D. "It flowered like a tree, starting out with one design, then three, then 40. Thousands and thousands and thousands of 3-D objects can be downloaded and printed in your own home."

In fact, Ultis and his colleagues were commissioned by the Idaho Commission for Libraries to build 3-D printers for a number of Idaho community libraries, which have begun being unveiled throughout the Gem State.

"I typically ask for about six weeks to fully assemble and calibrate a new 3-D printer," Ultis told BW. "But we did all five of these in five weeks."

And now, The New York Times reported this week that 3-D printing is moving closer to the mainstream after this month's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas dedicated an entire section of its exhibit hall to 3-D printers, specifically showcasing plug-and-play models from Makerbot, 3DSystems and RoBo3D. A company called Matterform also unveiled a 3-D scanner, making it easy to replicate objects by scanning and then printing them.

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