Printing a solution in 3D

Article image - Printing a solution in 3D Library Public Program Delivery Officer Phil Schneider with the DVD rack prototype produced by the 3D printer.

When a millimetre made the difference between success and failure, the 3D printer in Ipswich Library was an important tool for an internal Ipswich City Council project.

Staff members were faced with a dilemma when they wanted new CD and DVD racks to put on bookcases for the 26,443 CDs and DVDs in circulation across the Ipswich Libraries service.

Library bookcase shelves are 250mm – whereas most DVD racks are designed for 300mm.

Pre-made options were either the wrong size, shape or too flimsy, so a prototype was designed in-house and printed on the 3D printer before the perfected design was sent to a local business to manufacture.

Library Public Program Delivery Officer Phil Schneider said there was a great benefit to customising the racks, as a tiny change to the angle would make DVDs fall out, rather than fall forward and allow clients to see the DVDs behind.

Ipswich City Council now owns the tool used to create the custom-made racks, which will lead to cost-savings for future orders.
Mr Schneider said the library’s 3D printer was at the higher-end of consumer-level printers, however printers could be bought for as little as $500.

“The material (used) can be a number of things, in the Library we predominately use standard plastic, PLA, but there is also a sturdier plastic, ABS. You can also get experimental filaments, such as bronze or you can do jewellery in gold,” he said.

The library 3D printer has done a range of projects, including small dinosaur bones and action heroes designed by children.

Mr Schneider said the library was set to run Learn 3D Design sessions next year.