3D printing for fun and science? A conversation about digital fabrication, the library, and you

Digital fabrication has changed considerably over the last few decades. Barriers to use have fallen, and technologies that were once the purview of specialized researchers are now sold in retail outlets like Sears, Staples and the Microsoft store. Schools and libraries have even begun getting into the act, from NC State to the Chicago Public Library.

Applications include producing prosthetic hands for accident victimsmanufacturing replacement parts forhard-to-source components, or even mapping word frequency across the history of a given journal and printing time series histograms.

But what about here at MIT?

This session, led by MIT Libraries Web Developer Matthew Bernhardt, will discuss the range of fabrication technologies now available, as well as those available at MIT, for sale, for rent, and (for a limited time, experimentally) through the Libraries-as part of this session, the Libraries have acquired a MakerBot Replicator 2 that is capable of producing objects in PLA plastic!

Plus, participants will have the opportunity to see a 3D-printer in action and even design their own objects-submit a printable file, generated by free MakerWare software, by Thursday, January 10th. Up to five submissions will be selected for production before the discussion (provided the designs are producible!).

(Hint: You can try turning a photo into a 3D model with 123D Catch.)