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Cincinnati Library's 3-D printer churning out models

Just three weeks into the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County's first 3D printerand patrons have designed, copied and printed plenty.

The fifth-generation MakerBotis in the Tech Center on the second floor of the downtown library. It's available by reservation by the hour. Right now, while in beta testing, it is free.

Most of the time people use designs from Thingiverseand other modeling software to crank out jewelry and gadgets. The library actually had a more practical use. It made a part for a computer keyboard that kept breaking.

Marketing Communications Strategist Maelynn Foster-Hudson emphasizes patrons don't have to have any prior knowledge of 3D printers to use it. "It's designed for really anyone who has any interest in it. It does not have to be a real technical person. So you work with a staff tech person and they can help download a design that can be inserted into the laptop computer and printer."

The new libraries in Reading and St. Bernard also have plans for 3D printers. Foster-Hudson says this is all part of providing people with the technology they want.

This technology has been around for a long time. GE Aviation has an entire building devoted to 3D printing. And just this week a UK based company, Dovetailed, announced it had invented the first 3D fruit printer using molecular gastronomy.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.