THOMAS — About two weeks ago, the Snake River School/Community Library received a 3D printer. The printer uses plastic tubing to form a 3D project.
Students in the drafting class at Snake River High School have been busy designing projects to explore its capabilities.
The first project that SR drafting students designed was glass that measured about three-eighths inch tall. The hollow glass has a bottom and could actually hold a small amount of liquid.
"Designing a glass that was hollow was difficult," said Sherrilynn Bair, Snake River School/Community Library Director.
To demonstrate the capabilities of the 3D printer, the drafting students designed and printed a bottle with threaded neck and cap. The bottle and cap fit perfectly.
"Anyone living in Bingham County can come out and see the printer and learn how to use it," said Bair. "We're not ready for everyone to use it, yet."
The Snake River School/Community Library is one of five libraries in the state to receive a state-of-the-art 3D printer.
Asked why the library received this printer, Bair said, "We applied for the grant.
"We are also one of three school/community libraries in the state," she said. "[The ICfL] gets more bang for their buck because we reach students and the community."
The five printers were delivered to the Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) by Reuseum(™) Educational Inc., the nonprofit arm of The Reuseum(™) scientific, industrial and government surplus equipment outlet in in Garden City.
ICfL deployed 3D-printing technology as part of its "Make It Idaho" initiative to create makerspaces throughout the Gem State, an effort made possible via grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Micron Foundation.
As part of its contract with the ICfL, Reuseum Educational conducted an intensive two-day operations, maintenance and troubleshooting training session for staff from the five libraries to which the 3D printers are being deployed. Reuseum Educational also will provide the libraries with service and support of the next year.
The five libraries ICfL chose for the pilot program are Ada Community Libraries, which operates four branches in Boise and Star; the Community Library Network, a consortium of eight North Idaho libraries in Kootenai and Shoshone counties; the Gooding Public Library; the Meridian Library District, which maintains two branches; and the Snake River School/Community Library.
3D printers work somewhat like ordinary printers but instead of squirting ink onto paper, they extrude thin layers of molten plastic that are built up to make solid, useful three-dimensional objects of virtually any shape.
A growing number of manufacturers in the fashion, industrial design, architecture, engineering, construction, automotive, aerospace, defense, foodservice, dental and medical industries are embracing 3D printing.
Reuseum Educational is funded in part through donations of unused capital equipment and surplus assets on behalf of businesses in Idaho and beyond. Visit www.reuseum.com  or educate.reuseum.org for more information.