Joplin Public Library offers free 3D printing, laser cutting, more for creating

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"Experiment. Learn. Fail. Repeat."

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Joplin Public Library’s Makerspace, which was previously only available by appointment, now has holiday hours (listed below) that will last until the end of the year. The creative space is available to the public and a library card is not required to use its plethora of equipment and tools. This is a “free innovation space” where users can explore interests and practice various crafts.

The Makerspace motto is: “Experiment. Learn. Fail. Repeat.”

Makerspace offers:

  • Epilog Zing laser cutter and engraver: Cuts, etches and/or engraves a nearly limitless variety of materials, ranging from edible cookies to glass. This is the one machine that is appointment-only due to amount of interest.
  • Ultimaker3 3D printer: Bring your own 3D object files or download free, ready-to-print files using the computers provided. A small fee applies for use of the two provided plastics, which come in different colors.
  • Digital media conversion: Converts vinyl, cassette tapes, VHS tapes, other types of film, slides, negatives, and photographs to digital files. Bring your own DVDs for digitizing video. Perfect for preserving old memories.
  • iMac, MacBook, PC: The computers offer Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.), Audacity, GarageBand, iMovie, the Microsoft Suite and more.
  • Audio/visual equipment: Create audio and visual recordings with a camcorder, digital audio recorders, green screen and lighting equipment.
  • Sewing machine, typewriter, button press, paper cutter, knitting needles and other craft tools

Use of the Makerspace equipment is free, but users typically need to bring their own materials. For example, most material used in the laser cutter must be brought by the maker, but wood is available for a small fee. For the 3D printer, the plastics are available at 20 cents per gram, making a small item typically less than $10.

“We will work with people long enough to show them the basics. We’re all self-taught too – that’s part of the point of the space – and we do what we can to help people. But we really don’t want to do their projects for them because the idea is that you’re learning new skills when you’re in the space,” said Post Art Library Director Jill Sullivan.

Individuals have made their own customized wedding invitations using the laser cutter, made pieces for a self-created game using the laser cutter and 3D printer, 3D printed a stethoscope and so much more.

And in some cases, this is a way to help build a business. A local individual who makes customized cutting boards began visiting Makerspace to use the laser cutter as an engraving tool.

“They liked it so much, now they’re buying their own laser cutter for their business,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan describes Makerspace as an opportunity to “learn from one another, gather, and create.”

Makerspace holiday hours:

  • Tuesdays: 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Wednesdays: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Thursdays: 2 p.m. 8 p.m.
  • Fridays: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Second & Fourth Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Permanent hours will be announced after the beginning of 2022.

Makerspace users who are under 18-years-old must be accompanied by an adult. 

For more information about Makerspace, visit Joplin Public Library’s website.

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