I think we can all agree that libraries are pretty awesome. Now one library in Chicago is becoming even more awesome by offering 3D printing to the public.
The Chicago Public Library is opening what it calls the CPL Innovation Lab on the third floor of the Harold Washington Library Center. The space will have three 3D printers, two laser cutters, a milling machine and a vinyl cutter.
Alongside the hardware, the Innovation Lab will give the public access to a number of 3D printing software programs including Trimble Sketchup, Inkscape, Meshlab and Makercam.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer Chicagoans the opportunity to learn firsthand new technologies and skills used in today’s manufacturing at the library,” said Commissioner Brian Bannon. “The Maker Lab is the first of several ideas we plan to test over the next few years in the Innovation Lab, as we focus on expanding access to 21st century ideas and information to our communities.”
The best part about the entire project is that it’s completely free to the public. Anybody can come in and make 3D printed projects. The Innovation Lab will also host a number of workshops to teach the public how to use the tools available. One example is a workshop for families that’s scheduled for every Sunday through December 29.
The CPL Innovation Lab will be open to the public from July 8 through December 31. After that, the Library will determine whether or not it will keep the space open. I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping that it not only keeps it open, but that it inspires other libraries and other public spaces across the country to open maker spaces.
If you’re no where near Chicago, you can still hit up the hundreds of maker spaces that have sprung up around the country. Unfortunately, not all of them are free, but a lot of them are. Check out the full list here.[h/t: 3ders]