The Chicago Public Library revealed in June that it was opening a maker space at its Harold Washington Library Center. The space officially opened on July 8, but we now only just got a good look at the kind of hardware the city will be using.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Harold Washington Library bought three MakerBot Replicator 2s. They're top of the line consumer 3D printers that can print almost anything so those interested in the technology won't run into many restrictions.
The Replicator 2 may be able to print almost anything you can come up with, but the city will be restricting the kinds of things it allows you to print. Librarian John Christensen says that all designs must be approved by library staff, and they won't allow anybody to print weapons or obscene items.
Beyond that, the library staff wants its patrons to be able to express themselves in any way they want via the 3D printers. The hope is that it helps take 3D printing into the mainstream. In fact, Christensen told the Chicago Tribune that he thinks 3D printers are like personal computers. It started out as something only for hobbyists, but quickly evolved into a technology that everyone now uses.
If you're in the Chicago area and want to check out the maker lab yourself, it's open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m Friday and Saturday, and 2 pm. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. As expected, you will need a library card to use the machines.3ders]