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DeKalb Public Library Turns Imagination Into Reality With 3-D Printing Classes

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Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ
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The library is introducing residents to 3-D printing and letting them bring in their own designs. The concept became more accessible to consumers six years ago.

It’s the process of taking a digital file and making a physical object out of it.

The printers slice designs into thousands of vertical layers and print them as 3-D objects; factors like speed and temperature determine how the print will be structured.

Josh McCarthy, with the library, says, like prosthetics, 3-D printers have potential to create useful products.

“The sky is the limit. I mean, they’re printing metal and different kinds of plastics and resins," McCarthy said. "I don’t think that there will be anything that they can’t print like structurally, that wouldn’t be as good as anything they can machine or manufacture as time goes on."

McCarthy says 3-D printing may even become commonplace, since technology grows so rapidly.

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Credit Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ
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"Now obviously, computers are everywhere. So just because an individual might not have an idea or reason to have a 3-D printer doesn’t mean that in 10 or 15 or 20 years there’s not some huge explosion in the technology where everybody has one in the home," McCarthy said. "You drop a salt shaker and break it, you just run over to the 3-D printer and create a new one."

McCarthy says the library is planning similar classes in the near future.

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