3D printer puts shire library at cutting edge

WHEN a colleague lost an earring recently, Dasha Maiorova heard her call for help.

While the missing earring was not found, Ms Maiorova, a librarian at Sutherland Library, was able to run off an exact replica on the library’s new LulzBot TAZ 3D printer.

The 3D printer takes pride of place in the library’s new MakerSpace, which launches this month.

It will allow shire residents to join in the Maker movement, which blends traditional craft-making with new technology, including 3D printers and computer-aided design (CAD) software to make customised creations.

‘‘To replicate the missing earring, we took a photo of the existing earring, put it into Photoshop, extruded it and then printed it on the 3D printer,’’ Ms Maiorova said.

The object is reproduced in plastic that feeds into the printer in thin tubes or filaments of  biodegradable polylactic acid derived from cornstarch, which is released through a nozzle and directed by the software to create a desired shape.

It brings virtual designs to the real, 3D world.

So far the library’s new 3D printer has also been used to make a scale model of Bambi, an Easter Island statue, a hand with moveable fingers and the wing blades of a drone.

It’s all part of the ‘‘third industrial revolution’’, said a Sutherland Shire Council spokesman.

But the library’s new MakerSpace it is not just about the 3D printer.

It will bring together traditional and new technologies such as iPads, sewing machines and badge makers to produce new designs.

‘‘Everyone can learn how to make this stuff,’’ Ms Maiorova said.

‘‘A quick course in CAD and you can get a handle on it.’’

The library will hold several workshops in CAD basics. 

This will include making an object, such as a cup, on the 3D printer.

Designs are based on the Thingiverse, on online gallery of objects made by the Makers movement community, including shoes, jewellery, ornaments and models.

People can base their own designs on these but they should credit the original designer.

‘‘The whole MakerSpace movement is a sharing thing,’’ Ms Maiorova said.


The first CAD basics workshop is on Tuesday, October 27, at 6pm. 

They will then be held on the last Tuesday of every month from 6pm to 8pm. Bookings are required and those taking part must be 16 or over. 

 Email library@ssc.nsw.gov.au or phone  9710 0351 to book.