Library Demonstration

Library Demonstration

Who came to the Free  Library Demonstration of 3D Printing & 3D Printed model Exhibition hosted by Shropshire Libraries featuring a free loan of our equipment.

There were  SME Directors; Home Taught Children; Parents; Schoolchildren; Members of the University of the Third Age; Inventors; Patent Holders; Retired Engineers; Hobbyists; Designers & Teachers. What do they all all have in common? 3d Printing of course!!!

Ludlow_Library Ludlow Library is in a modern building housing the Shropshire Museum Archive and Ludlow Museum. Mammoth remains are housed here.
Oswesty_Library Oswestry Library. On the Welsh Borders, the library is a very modern local resource centre with excellent staff housed in a beautiful building.


It was a series of demonstrations on 3D Printing including:

  • the History of 3D Print;
  • The process;
  • The different technologies; 3D Printing;
  • 3D Scanning; CAD;
  • MakerBot PrintShop;
  • MakerBot Mobile;
  • MakerBot Desktop Slicing Software;
  • Thingiverse

There was much much more with many pre-made models which  attendees were encouraged to handle and discuss. There were two MakerBot Replicator 3D printers ( a 5th Generation and a Compact Mini) making models and a MakerBot Digitizer 3D scanner illustrating how and why 3D scanning is has a place where parametric design is not suitable.

1280px-Shrewsbury_Library_05 Castle Gates Library is close to Shrewsbury Castle

The events took place over three full days at Oswestry Library, Ludlow Library and Castle Gates Library in Shrewsbury all to coincide with Get Outside the Lines. Outside the Lines was a week-long celebration demonstrating the creativity and innovation happening in libraries. Sept. 13-19, 2015 and Shropshire Libraries embraced it wholeheartedly. see Outside the Lines

Shrews_Library Shrewsbury Library façade.. a beautiful historic building


It all began as part of discussions with Shropshire Libraries as to whether 3D printing was a service the library should be offering the public to both enhance their service whilst also making the libraries more relevant in todays society.

3D Printing and Library Demonstration..Well, why not?

PIC-e-ST5055CSE-S-CMYK Photocopiers or Multi-Function Devices (MFD's) as they are now known were adopted early by L:ibraries as a public service.

Libraries were early adopters of 2D printing technology and there will be very few up and down the entire UK,  which has not installed a Multi Function Device (a photocopier to you and me) to offer printing and copy services to the public.

It became part of a viability study to investigate whether local libraries could benefit.

So how did it go?

Across the three libraries, there were approximately 180-200 visitors who specifically went to see the 3D printers in action and ask questions. The approximation is such because library staff had difficulty both coping with the numbers of visitors asking an interesting array of questions whilst attempting to make notes on how many came. Staff spoke to many of the people who attended and gave a demonstration.

Library Staff early morning before the demonstration began Library Staff early morning before the demonstration began

Who came?

A really varied mix of people attended the demonstration.

  • SME’s wanting to know whether 3D printing could help their business with prototyping: including a very interesting project by one Welsh based company who will be using geospatial technology for a number of extremely exciting applications and wished to know if 3D printing could make an outdoor housing for their gadgetry.
3D Printing Applications 2014 3D Printing Applications  2014

MakerBot watching build

  • IT members from the U3A (University of the Third Age) looking to see if 3D printing would be of interest to members.
    Cimputing with the U3A Computing with the U3A
  • Schoolchildren & Parents with a keen interest in 3D Printing in order to learn more about what 3D Printing is and how it works.
MakerBot People Watching Build Watching a 3D Printer make something is quite captivating and engaging
  • A Patent holder with an original design prototype but without original drawings hoping that 3D scanning and 3D Printing could resurrect his project. See MakerBot Digitizer 3D Scanner
  • Retired engineers looking to see how much Prototyping and Design has changed since they retired, like the person who confirmed that in his working life a prototype made by him might take 3 to 4 weeks and still not be what was required, with the re-make taking just as long.
  • Hobbyists looking to find out whether their interest could be enhanced by 3D printing: like the chap making props including Star Wars characters (including R2D2 & C3Pio)
  • Designers looking to see if 3D printing can produce their design and finding out it can asking where they could get their design made.
  • Inventors asking how their design can be made using 3D Printing, how strong it would be and where it could be made: like the young inventor who has designed a tool for cyclists.

So 3D printing covers a wide range of applications, and certainly the library were able to answer a lot of questions, and all of the attendees gained a lot of information about just how 3D Printing might help them now.. or in the future.

After all... that’s exactly what libraries are there for… to be a repository for knowledge and a resource for learning.

Well done Shropshire Libraries.

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