VCLmaker's blog

Industrial Applications

While it can be a lot of fun to download models other people have made and shared, some of the most rewarding aspects of 3D printing open up when you learn to design your own objects.

One customer created these microphone capsule mounts, unique items which he customized to hold specific pieces of equipment. These same mounts, printed on E.P. Foster Library's LulzBot Mini, will be incorporated into a very high-end recording studio microphone.

Do you have a design you've been playing around with that you'd like to see printed? Come by the Library LAB on Wednesday evenings to workshop your model and see about getting it printed out!

Two black 3D-printed microphone capsule mounts are shown with their respective gold-plated capsules.

Lego LAB: Build, Learn, and Play!

Children build bridges from multicolored Lego bricks to connect two stacks of books.

Last month the staff at E.P. Foster Library introduced a new activity for the summer: the Lego LAB Workshop! This exciting new series is a great way for kids of all ages to exercise their creativity in an educational environment.

This program takes place on alternating Tuesdays (between Makeshop classes) at 3 p.m. For each Tuesday session library staff will issue a challenge to the builders—like this bridge-making challenge from last week. Participants can join the challenge to learn basic engineering and design concepts or just engage in creative building.

In addition, every Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. we'll have Lego Play, which focuses exclusively on open building. Visit the Library LAB page or call the library for more information on these workshops!

Summer in the Library LAB

Summer is here, and our second Makeshop series is underway! We recently held our first class on the second floor of E.P. Foster Library, where we explored wind power and potential energy through a quick demonstration of a turbine and a craft activity. Makeshop classes will continue every other Tuesday at 3 p.m. through August 18.

Summer has also brought new summer hours to E.P. Foster Library, which means that our Wednesday open workshops have been moved up an hour to 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Visit the Library LAB on the first floor of the library to work with our 3D printers and laser cutter and see what projects others may be working on—like this laser-cut chess pawn made from half-inch poplar. We look forward to using the laser for more projects—especially those brought in by our customers!

3D Printing in the Workplace

When a small piece of a larger object breaks it can be tough to justify replacing the whole thing. At E.P. Foster Library, one of the keyboards at the first floor desk lost one of its supporting “feet.” Rather than trash the keyboard, we designed a replacement foot in Tinkercad and printed it out on our LulzBot TAZ. The new foot is bright pink and works great, showing yet another way that 3D printing is changing the way we interact with our workplace and our world.

Also, the Library LAB at E.P. Foster recently received a new piece of equipment: a LulzBot Mini 3D printer! We will be taking this little one out into the community for outreach, workshops, and classes, so stay tuned to our website, blog, and Facebook page to see what’s coming up, or call (805) 648-2716 to ask about arranging a class!

Handle with Care

As we gear up for the next round of Makeshop events taking place at E.P. Foster Library, plenty of makers continue to use the LAB for some interesting projects. One gentleman found that while the handle for his garden spade was damaged, the blade itself was still in good shape. His solution? Design and 3D print a replacement!

In addition to the new series of summer Makeshop events, the Library LAB will continue to host special workshops for individuals and groups who want to learn more about using our equipment. Whether you're a teacher, a parent, a student, or just someone with an interest in new technologies, contact the library for more information—or just drop by our open workshop hours on Wednesday evenings!

STEM Expo Giveaways and Gold Coins

We were fortunate enough to have our Library LAB take part in CSU Channel Islands' 5th annual STEM Expo earlier this month. This amazing event was held at the fairgrounds in conjunction with the Ventura County Science Fair.

We used two of CI's Afinia 3D printers and Tinkercad to demonstrate 3D modeling and printing. Several students designed models that were printed out right there for them to take home! We also had small public library-themed giveaways for all of our visitors.

Also this month, one of our frequent LAB users was kind enough to share with us some work he has done applying gold, silver, and copper leaf to one of our designs. Want to share what you've been working on? Drop by the Library LAB on Wednesday evenings!

Make Something Beautiful @ Foster

Our Library LAB continues to hold open workshop hours on Wednesdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. During this time library staff is available to help you learn the ins and outs of our equipment and brainstorm on ways you can incorporate our LAB into your work!

Lately we've had time to play around a bit with our laser cutter and engraver; just last week we rastered out an image captured by E.P. Foster Library's Resident Photographer that was featured on the blog Fun at Foster back in June. The image was burned onto a sheet of quarter-inch birch plywood.

Join us as we continue to learn more about the software and hardware we have available in our LAB! Stop by the library on Wednesday evenings or make an appointment by calling (805) 648-2716.

What's New in the World of 3D Printing

This last week the Ventura County Library had some representatives at 3D Printer World Expo in Burbank! The conference featured seminars on new technologies and printing techniques as well as panel discussions by artists, educators, and others who are using 3D printing in interesting ways.

There were lots of cool developments being showcased, but pictured here is one of our favorites: a new type of PLA filament that changes color when exposed to heat! We were lucky enough to get a sample of this filament along with another type that reacts similarly under UV light.

Drop by the Library LAB's open workshop hours on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30 if you'd like to hear more about the conference or use our 3D printer!

Bring Your Projects to Our LAB!

As we wrap up our first month of our Library LAB being open to the public, we've already had a few great experiences with people bringing in interesting projects!

This photo features a stencil created with our laser cutter. A library user brought in the pattern, which we loaded onto one of the laptops in the LAB and ran through the laser's software. The result was the beautifully intricate design here, which was cut out in about fifteen minutes!

If you have any questions about how you can use our laser or our 3D printer, stop by E.P. Foster Library on Wednesday evenings for our open workshop hours!

3D Printing and Laser Engraving: Coming Wednesdays in January!

If you've been curious about the Library LAB's 3D printer and laser engraver, you're in luck! Starting in January, library staff will be available to help you learn about these pieces of equipment.

Whether you want to find out more about the software and hardware involved or use the printer or engraver for a project of your own, we can walk you through the process and get you ready to start making!

The Library LAB will be open for walk-ins on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. starting on January 7. For more information, call or drop by the library; we hope to see you there!

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