On Sunday, July 24, at 2 p.m., the downtown Camden Public Library will offer An Introduction to 3-D Printing as one of the regular Cyber Sunday tech sessions led by staff wizard Olga Zimmerman. The introduction will cover what 3-D printing is; how to prepare files for printing on the library’s new 3-D printer; and how and when the printer will be available.

Also covered will be information about the cost of printing; and the materials and colors for the filaments used to create the 3-D objects. Zimmerman also will share creative tips on how to make good use of a 3-D printer.

3-D Printing is the action or process of making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital model, typically by laying down many thin layers of a material in succession. If it can be designed, a 3-D printer can print it. From body organs to jet fighter parts to a kindergarten project, 3-D printing is used today in a wide variety of ways with unlimited possibilities. As the cost of 3-D printing goes down, each person has an opportunity to experiment with personally manufacturing a single item.

Camden Public Library’s mission is to offer access to technology for the community, whether through its print collections or the availability of new technologies as they become available including computers, printers, scanners, telescopes, iPads and e-books.

“Now we are proud to offer a 3-D printer, the current new technology which is in wide use in many industries throughout the world,” said Zimmerman. “And this year we’ll host the fourth annual Midcoast Mini Maker Faire, a celebration of making!”

Creating an opportunity for community members to design and print throughout the year has long been a goal, she added. The library currently has one LulzBot Mini 3D Printer, which will be on display in the Rotunda when not in use. The LulzBot brand is made in the United States and has been around for several years. This model prints objects up to 6-by-6-by-6.2 inches. The filament is plant-based, recyclable PLA plastic (#7). PLA does not contain BPA, and no safety concerns have been raised about using it with food. PLA is not heat resistant.

Everyone in the community is welcome to use the 3-D printing service; however, only trained library staff will handle the 3-D printer and associated equipment. Printing cost is 15 cents per gram of filament. Total cost is based on the estimate given by the printing software program after one submits a design. Printing fees are collected at the Circulation Desk at time of pickup. Most 3-D print items cost $5 or less. Printing times vary based on size, complexity and any backlog.

To create a 3-D file for printing, visit the Resources page at the library’s website for modeling software, design libraries and tutorials. Choose or create a 3-D model to print and save the model as .stl file (maximum size 50 MB), then submit a 3-D printing request via the form on the website. For more information, contact the library with questions at 3DPrinting@librarycamden.org.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.