3-D Printers Hit the Mainstream

by

The Idaho Commission for Libraries, as part of its Make It at the Library project, hosted Idaho librarians and program specialists in November 2013, where they were trained on 3-D technology and gifted with new 3-D printers to be showcased in libraries throughout Idaho.
  • George Prentice
  • The Idaho Commission for Libraries, as part of its Make It at the Library project, hosted Idaho librarians and program specialists in November 2013, when they were trained on 3-D technology and gifted with new 3-D printers to be showcased in libraries throughout Idaho.

Boise Weekly began the year by examining 3-D printers and Idaho's burgeoning community of men and women who have been building the wondrous innovations.

"Absolutely; there are a lot of us building 3-D printers in Boise," said David Ultis, general manager of Boise's Reuseum and Idaho's go-to guru on all things 3-D. "It flowered like a tree, starting out with one design, then three, then 40. Thousands and thousands and thousands of 3-D objects can be downloaded and printed in your own home."

In fact, Ultis and his colleagues were commissioned by the Idaho Commission for Libraries to build 3-D printers for a number of Idaho community libraries, which have begun being unveiled throughout the Gem State.

"I typically ask for about six weeks to fully assemble and calibrate a new 3-D printer," Ultis told BW. "But we did all five of these in five weeks."

And now, The New York Times reported this week that 3-D printing is moving closer to the mainstream after this month's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas dedicated an entire section of its exhibit hall to 3-D printers, specifically showcasing plug-and-play models from Makerbot, 3DSystems and RoBo3D. A company called Matterform also unveiled a 3-D scanner, making it easy to replicate objects by scanning and then printing them.