3-D print­ers back on­line at li­braries, but you won’t be able to print a gun

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Local - By Larry Barszewski South Florida Sun Sen­tinel

The 3-D print­ers at Broward County li­braries can make the Scare­crow a brain and the Tin Woods­man a heart, but a broom for the Wicked Witch would be out of the ques­tion.

Not only could the broom be con­sid­ered dan­ger­ous, but it’s not on the list of ap­proved 3-D mod­els avail­able to be printed for pa­trons.

The li­brary sys­tem shut down its 3-D print­ers in Au­gust af­ter con­cerns were raised about the tech­nol­ogy’s abil­ity to repli­cate guns or other weapons. The county is now mak­ing the print­ers avail­able again on a more lim­ited ba­sis.

Noth­ing, in­clud­ing guns, will be al­lowed to be printed that is “un­safe, harm­ful, dan­ger­ous, ob­scene,” the county’s new pol­icy states. All print­ing will con­tinue to be done by li­brary staff.

Carol Russo, the li­brary sys­tem’s as­sis­tant di­rec­tor, said the down time gave the sys­tem time to have a “pol­icy in place that would ad­dress the needs of cus­tomers of all ages.”

The fo­cus is on cre­ativ­ity, dis­cov­ery and sup­port­ing stu­dents in the sci­ence, techonol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics fields, of­fi­cials said.

Li­brary ses­sions about the 3-D tech­nol­ogy could be­gin again as early as Novem­ber, Russo said.

But peo­ple won’t be able to have just any­thing printed.

In­stead of bring­ing in projects on flash drives, as had been done in the past, pa­trons will select what they want printed from an on­line ser­vice, Gale In­ter­ac­tive: Sci­ence. It has 59 sci­ence-re­lated mod­els that can be copied.

Nearly a third of the mod­els are skulls: ape, cat, dog, dol­phin, Homo Sapien, Cro-

Magnon, horse, kudu, owl, mam­moth — not life sized — pig, pi­geon, rab­bit and rat, not to men­tion the di­nosaur skull op­tions for T Rex, tricer­atops, pterasaur, di­plodocus and al­losaurus.

Other mod­els in­clude a hu­man brain, hu­man heart, Hu­man Im­mun­od­e­fi­ciency Virus, a corn ker­nel and a vol­cano, a sci­ence-project sta­ple. The types of projects avail­able could ex­pand or change in the fu­ture if the li­braries select a dif­fer­ent provider.

Broward li­braries have had 3-D print­ers for about four years, of­fi­cials said. They’re at Cre­ation Sta­tions at the Main Li­brary in down­town Fort Laud­erdale, the North­west Re­gional Li­brary in Coral Springs and the Jan Mo­ran Col­lier Cen­ter Li­brary in Pom­pano Beach.

Mi­ami-Dade County li­braries also have 3-D print­ers, while Palm Beach County’s A hu­man heart is one of the items Broward County li­brary pa­trons can repli­cate with one of the li­brary sys­tem’s 3-D print­ers. The heart is one of 59 3-D mod­els avail­able to pa­trons from Gale In­ter­ac­tive: Sci­ence.

do not. Mi­ami-Dade li­brary of­fi­cials said most of the print­ing re­quests they re­ceive are from teenagers work­ing on school projects or want­ing to learn about the

new tech­nol­ogy.

TAIMY AL­VAREZ/SUN SEN­TINEL

A 3D printer runs in­side the new Cre­ation Sta­tion in­side Broward’s Main Li­brary in Fort Laud­erale. Cre­ation Sta­tion of­fers use of iMacs, 3D print­ers and more for free.

GALE IN­TER­AC­TIVE: SCI­ENCE/COUR­TESY

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