Somewhere in Idaho, there’s a small public library that takes what’s best from 21st Century. In Salmon Public Library you can learn how 3D print, how to use laser engraver and cutter, and how CNC milling works. And it all comes with one multitool machine - ZMorph VX.
Apart from being a regular library, with access to thousands of different books, Salmon Public Library has all kinds of public projects and engages in various STEM programs.
Their mission is to enhance the lives of their community members. They do that by promoting reading and literacy, as well as providing access to information. As for the STEM part, Salmon Public Library provides access to ideas, tools, and resources they need to thrive in a rapidly changing technological landscape.
People responsible for Salmon Public Library were looking for a modern tool that could be applied in STEM projects. They faced challenges every small office has to face. The lack of space, the noise regulations, other minor factors, they all add up and rule out big machines in large quantities.
Enter ZMorph VX Multitool 3D printer. The all-in-one machine combines 3 different methods of fabrication, is desktop size and quiet, and makes a perfect choice for a public library that puts a lot of emphasis on education. You can put it on a desk, you can move it around, and you can even pack it into a car and transport it to the nearest public school if needed.
The public library in Salmon, Idaho uses ZMorph multitool 3D printer in many ways. Starting from 3D printing small prototypes for people from the community to big educational projects, the all-in-one machine is constantly in use.
We’ve talked to the Salmon Public Library representatives, and here are some of their most notable projects involving ZMorph VX.
To learn about the laser engraving toolhead on the ZMorph VX, Salmon Public Library asked their youth to design a plaque that will sit on the outside of the little free library showcasing the town or community it resides in.
This project encourages the youth to take an empathy-based approach in order to learn the history of the town as well as who lives there in order to design something that makes sense for them. Upon receiving this information they find out they sketched their various words and images on paper to which we’ve created digital copies through Adobe Illustrator. They can then use the Voxelizer software to arrange these images onto their digital workspace to prototype it in cardboard.
Prototyping in cheaper, easily found consumable material gives them one more time to reiterate prior to the final engraving on wood. In addition, they used the ZMorph VX Laser PRO Toolhead on this project to create a stencil out of cardstock for the youth of that community to spray paint on the side of their little free library. This helps build ownership and community buy-in to how a piece of technology like the ZMorph can better serve their world.
The library was presented with an opportunity to have their youth learn another skill on the ZMorph CNC PRO Milling Toolhead through a project proposed via Idaho Fish & Game in partnership with a local non-profit Salmon Valley Stewardship.
They required metal tags to be engraved with a series of numbers in order to use out in the field to monitor Aspen trees in a large-scale survey they are conducting. The library pitched this project to their youth to not only employ them, giving them the skills to interact with a client, present prototypes, and understand the entrepreneurial aspect of the ZMorph VX but it also gave them another way to do project-based learning only this time with the CNC PRO Milling Toolhead.
Salmon Public Library has had several of their patrons come in to use the ZMorph VX for their personal projects. A lot of these projects revolve around the 3D printing toolhead as that served as the best tool to do the job.
One such patron was interested in creating a prototype for a custom adaptor to attach a carburetor to an intake on his truck. He later tested this prototype driving over 1600 miles without failing. He can now get it cast in aluminum or an even more heat resistant material for longevity.
The library had another local resident come in wanting to replicate a seat belt holder clip on a 1967 Volvo he was restoring. He only had one of two necessary pieces to complete the restore, so he came into the library in order have this set replicated. By days end he had an exact replica of the original to a piece he could no longer find online.
“With a tool like the ZMorph VX you’re not just getting one piece of technology. You get to teach, learn, explore multiple tools at a fraction of the cost with tons of space saving“ says Jeff Stratter from Salmon Public Library. The size of ZMorph VX is a great advantage when it comes to spaces like a library. Jeff continues: “Then there is the noise factor. In a public library, we have to be conscious of the amount of noise and dust we would create. The fact you can keep this machine on a desktop without bothering patrons is opening the doors for unique learning opportunities to happen.”
The size of the machine is useful also in other ways. The library often works with the local school. There’s no problem with packing the 3D printer to a car and move it around town. This way, making educational projects with the school is much easier for the librarians. You don’t need multiple machines when you can rely on just one.
“I think owning a 3D printer for the sake of owning a 3D printer in education is the wrong approach. Too many schools and educational systems hear this latest trend, purchase them, then have no trained staff on how to use them or incorporate them into required curriculum standards”, comments Jeff. “The better approach is to align your learning goals, with the people who make up your space, to determine the type of equipment or materials that enter your space. If this means getting a 3D printer then do that. If it means getting a sewing machine then do that”, he continues.
According to Jeff, it is important that schools or other libraries see 3D printers as tools, not gadgets. Only with this perception, they can begin to unleash the true power of on-demand manufacturing.
Read also: Professional Applications of ZMorph VX
Learning how to 3D print isn’t a rocket science. Especially that you can learn how to operate the 3D printer in ZMorph Academy. “The gap is often felt in the design aspect of using machinery like this. I tell people that I can teach you how to use this machine in under 10 minutes, the same as I can tell you how to go to File->Print on a 2D printer. However, the aspect of printing isn’t the hard part. It’s what you design or what you create on that .pdf that is the real challenge. It is here where the hurdle lies in getting full community usage to technology like this“ says Jeff.
The biggest challenge is to learn how to design in CAD programs like SolidWorks, Tinkercad or Fusion 360. Luckily, the Salmon Public Library projects cover that as well.
It’s only recently that Salmon Public Library started investing in products like ZMorph VX Multitool 3D Printer to promote knowledge and new technologies in their community. What’s next?
The crew at the library is constantly asking themselves what does a 21st Century Library look like, and try to meet the expectations. But it’s vital not to be blinded by the new technology. The voice of the community is always the most important factor for the people at Salmon Public Library. Their goal is to inform and educate people about the industry 4.0 in order to create an interest in CNC machines, 3D printers, laser engravers, etc. Therefore, the youth will know all about the new technologies and will be able to operate the machines in their future jobs.
The people from Salmon Public Library hope to change the way the youth sees things. And 3D printing helps to achieve this goal. People already look forward to early adopters in 3D recycling. The youth will no longer see old plastic as a waste but as an opportunity to make something new. According to Jeff, “No longer do they throw out the soda pop bottle, but instead, see that as a door latch to fix a swinging door. A bad print is not only a lesson learning, but we can utilize this same plastic for a final prototype.“
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