New 3D printer brings new opportunities to Lawrence County

If it can be scanned, it can be printed in Lawrence County. The public library now has a 3D printer, which will soon be available for public use.

“That’s something that’s beginning to trickle into libraries. Because of cost, most libraries don’t have the budget to just go out and buy one,” Library Director Rex Bain said.

Printers like the one the library now has can cost more that $2,500, not including the scanner and extra filament.

The library in Moulton was awarded a $50,000 Library Services and Technology Act grant toward the end of 2016. That allowed them to get some new computers as well as the 3D printer.

The next closest 3D printer is at the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library.

Bain said the library board is still working out the public, but said on Friday that it will likely cost $5 for the set up and then 25 cents per gram printed. He added that prices will probably be cheaper for school projects.

“Being a rural library with funding issues, if this was to tear up, without another grant, we don’t have a way of replacing it. So we gotta make sure we’re recouping the cost through the setup fee and things like that,” Bain said.

While the printer isn’t quite ready for public use just yet, folks like clock repair woman Kemper Key said this will be a big time and money saver for her and other local businesses.

“I wouldn’t have to order clock parts that could take several weeks to get to my shop. Time is money and that would cut down on that,” Key said.

Bain said the next evolution in 3D printing for them would to be able to connect it to the XBox Kinnect, which would allow them to scan much larger objects like people.

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