Jan 03, 2023 HMMPL Receives Purdue IN-MaC Micro-Grant to Start 3D Club
The new club will allow middle school students through adults to gain valuable 3D printing experience.
The Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library MakerStudio recently was awarded a $2,000 Purdue IN-MaC Micro-Grant to develop a 3D Printing and Design Club. The new monthly club will launch January 17 and is open to middle school students through adults. Participants will gain 3D printing experience and learn how 3D-printed objects can help solve problems.
According to HMMPL’s MakerStudio Specialist Laura Gangstad, 3D printers are following the same path as other tools once considered cutting-edge that are now in most homes.
“I remember when microwaves first came out. Now everyone has one and we can’t imagine living without them,” Gangstad said. “It’s the same with 3D printing technology; soon everyone will have one.”
From Hobby to Job Skill
The MakerStudio already has hosted several 3D printing classes led by Tony Siciliano, a Senior Pharmacy Automation Engineer at Express Scripts. While 3D printing started out as a hobby for Siciliano, he soon found real-world application for his 3D printing and design skills in his work.
“I started designing simple solutions for some of the issues we had at work and printing them on my personal printers at home. This grew so fast that it is now a normal part of what I do in my job,” Siciliano said. “We purchased our first printer at work in May of 2022, and I now have five machines there that I operate almost daily.”
Artistic Expression and Problem Solving
Many people may be surprised by what can now be created using a 3D printer. In addition to teaching members how to use 3D printers, Gangstad said the club also will offer a design focus, encouraging creativity and practical applications of 3D printing.
“We’re in a new era. Not only do we want people to know how to use a 3D printer, we want them to have the skills to design products that can help them in their workplaces and ,” she said.
Gangstad invited Siciliano to serve as a mentor to the new 3D Printing and Design Club. Based on his own professional experience, Siciliano will help members see the versatility of 3D printing, for both artistic expression and problem solving.
“The community can benefit from both of these areas of focus,” Siciliano said. “Educating and collaborating with people, even in informal, club-type settings, helps us grow individually and as a whole.”
Launching the Club
Funds from the Purdue IN-MaC Micro-Grant Program, which provided more than $250,000 in innovation funding to education, industry and community-based organizations in Indiana in 2021-22, will be used to purchase two new 3D printers and carts and to bring in guest speakers during 3D Printing and Design Club meetings. The Library will use additional funding from the Friends of the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library to purchase filament and other supplies.
The first meeting of the 3D Printing and Design Club will be at 6 PM Tuesday, Jan. 17. Register here. The Club will continue to meet on the third Tuesday of each month. For more information about joining the 3D Printing and Design Club, interested individuals can contact Gangstad at MakerStudio@HMMPL.org.