If you happen to wander into Chelan Public Library on the right Tuesday afternoon, you may hear the buzzing of creative minds at work followed by shrills of laughter.
Every first and third Tuesday of each month the Chelan Public Library hosts Tech Tuesdays, where minds of all ages are invited to explore the world of 3D printing.
Because of a grant awarded to the North Central Regional Library system, the Chelan Library hosts a 3D printer in the name of innovation and creativity.
In order to get the equipment, the library needed a volunteer to run the program, which is where local artist Sherry Palmiter comes in.
The printer is free to use on Tech Tuesdays, and all materials are provided.
“It’s kind of addictive once you get going,” Palmiter said with a laugh. “It can be a very creative and collaborative process, especially because kids tend to want to make obscure creations and just make stuff.”
During the school year, students of all ages turned out to explore the Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD) program online, and develop their own ideas for printing. To come up with ideas and instructions, participants can use TinkerCAD.com to view a gallery of objects or take lessons for free.
The 3D printer uses technology to create solid, three-dimensional objects. The process can be slow and varies depending on the object, ranging from 30 minutes to several hours.
“You really need to learn the process to make objects using the CAD program, but it’s totally doable,” Palmiter said. “It’s encouraging the process of learning and really nurturing that in everyone—this idea that you’re excited to figure out how to do it, even if you make mistakes.”
As the school year approaches, the Tech Tuesdays program will expand to meet more often, and the better the turnout the more the library can offer, Palmiter said.
“The more interest there is the more programming we could add in the future,” Palmiter said. “We’re excited for school to start to get older kids in here, and grown-ups are always welcome, too.”
This Fall the Tech Tuesdays group will create pieces for Halloween costumes, using glow in the dark material and creating accessories for any kind of costume.
“If I can get a group of older kids excited about printing, we could form an adventure club to find and invent useful things as a collaborative,” Palmiter said. “You can be so creative with this and there are some people out there making some very cool things with 3D printing.”
Tech Tuesdays are from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Chelan Public Library every first and third Tuesday of each month. For more information, contact the library at (509) 682-5131.
(By Kaitlin Hetterscheidt)