It’s 3D tonight at the Tauranga City Library. speakers. Another of the regular informational and educational forums organised by Michelle Sims of the Business Section of the Tauranga Library and features specialist Librarian Harley Couper and two representatives of 3D Design of Greerton. There’s an example of a 3D printer on the table and two sets of 3D production examples including a large brightly purple Eiffel Tower and violently green Hulk torso.
Tonight the topic has attracted a crowd including a number of parents and young children (5.30pm is such a great time to hold these forums). Harley Couper opens the forum with a power point presentation which includes the history of the development of 3D, some personal background; dyslexia and an image of a young and very hirsute Harley in front of a very large computer screen (and yes I remember those). We’re also shown international examples of practical applications of the 3D printing process – in a nutshell the printer creates items by layering molten compounds in accordance with a computer generated design or plan. There are even pharmaceutical tablets unique to the individual and jewellery. They can even print in chocolate and can print skin for prosthetics. After the image of the Chinese using sand, concrete and glass fibre to create prefabricated building panels Harley asks 3Design what’s the biggest thing they’ve created so far. It’s the dashboard panel for a Kenworth truck. We’re told there’s a 3D printer just inside the Library door – it’s part of the Libraries commitment to technology and education.
Harley is a witty and easily listened to presenter who’s soon inviting questions from the audience and then encouraging them to come up and touch the 3D examples on display and to ask and discuss.
Earlier in the evening I’d been asked what I thought 3D printing could be used for – self-focused and sustainability oriented I suggest really basic stuff like “creating a new arm for my reading glasses; making replacement parts for “obsolete” household equipment and machinery. Laugh out loud I’ve since heard a radio commentator complaining about the cost of trying to repair a somewhat recently (like in the last 10 years) acquired refrigerator with a factory part. 3D could provide another alternative.
Business@ the Library forums are another really good example of thecontemporary work of the Tauranga Libraries. I’ve been to several and enjoyed them all and learned something every time. The forums are free and open to the public. You can join the Business@ the Library email list contact Business Librarian and Forum organiser Michelle.Sims@tauranga.govt.nz
Rosemary Balu is a regular contributor to ARTbop and is the founding and current Editor of ARTbop.