Wednesday, January 23, 2019

A 3D printed anatomical model of a heart, carved wooden signs, embroidered t-shirts and other custom projects lined the tables of the Arlington Public Library’s makerspace during January’s free makerspace orientation class. More than 50 patrons viewed these creations as they learned about the makerspace’s machines and how to use them. Free orientations are currently offered once a month.

The makerspace is a collaborative learning lab on the Downtown Library’s second floor. From sewing and other traditional fiber crafts to cutting-edge 3D printing, there is something for both experienced and aspiring makers. The makerspace is free to use for library card holders. Some materials do have an associated cost.

Attendees ranged from students seeing their first 3D printer in person to seniors learning a new skill in retirement. Creative entrepreneurs also attended to learn how to leverage makerspace tools for their businesses.

“I had no idea what I could do with these machines,” said patron Erin Skipper as she examined a set of delicately cut fabric earrings that were created using the library’s Cricut machine. “I want to start a jewelry shop on Etsy and there are tools here to try a lot of different techniques.”

Makerspace orientation covers the makerspace’s calendar of classes, how to sign up for events, and how to become certified by library staff to use machines during open hours.

“Attending a class is a great way to start the certification process,” says program specialist Cesar Hernandez. “We also have online training documents on our website for many of the machines, so you can start learning at home.”

Click here to find video training and tutorials online:

The makerspace offers a variety of machines, including a heat press, vinyl cutter, milling machine, and multiple 3D printers. Fiber craft options including a serger, embroidery machine, quilting machine, and multiple sewing machines. Auxiliary tools include an ironing board, scissors, screwdrivers and more.

Makers provide their own materials to use with most machines. 3D printing filament is available for purchase. See guidelines on materials and tools here:

Makerspace orientation is offered on the following Saturdays at the Downtown Library:

  • February 2, 1 to 2 p.m.
  • March 9, 1 to 2 p.m.
  • April 6, 1 to 2 p.m.
  • May 4, 1 to 2 p.m.
  • June 1, 11 a.m. to noon
  • July 6, 11 a.m. to noon
  • August 3, 11 a.m. to noon

There is no registration required to attend orientation. Curious and creative families, students, entrepreneurs and other makers should mark their calendars now to learn all about making at the Arlington Public Library.