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Library gets a 3-D printer

Thanks to a grant from the Blandin Foundation, the Cloquet Public Library now owns new 3-D printer, called a MakerBot Replicator Mini. Children's librarian Anne Lundquist and library aide Keiko Satomi have been hard at work figuring out how to us...

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Thanks to a grant from the Blandin Foundation, the Cloquet Public Library now owns new 3-D printer, called a MakerBot Replicator Mini.

Children's librarian Anne Lundquist and library aide Keiko Satomi have been hard at work figuring out how to use the new printer. Everything from adding the plastic filament to creating templates goes through a computer to the printer.

For those who do not know how a 3-D printer works, it's similar to a regular printer that prints on paper. A design program such as Tinkercad is used to find or create a design to be printed. The design is downloaded and sent to the printer, and plastic filament is melted into the shape by the 3-D printer.

The staff at the library have been making Christmas ornaments on the new printer and discovering it takes longer than they first thought.

The smallest design takes five minutes, while a larger snowflake design takes 40 minutes for the small 3-D printer to make.

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The library plans to offer programs in the spring to teach people how to use the 3-D printer. Staff will demonstrate how to make ornaments on the printer from 3:30-5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2.

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