The Hungry Bookshelf Blog
Well, we're one week into this adventure, and we've learned quite a bit (although we don't have tech support on speed dial. Yet.)

The printer has been named Anakin. After Anakin Skywalker. (Warning, this is a spoiler alert if you are one of the approximately, um, three people I know reading this blog who have never seen Star Wars...) As everyone else knows, Ani is cute, at first, and very smart. However, he becomes a rather petulant, spoiled brat at times...and that is as an adult....

Sounds a lot like our printer.

It does well on prints it likes, like the Captain's wheel which it has printed numerous times already. Or the cloud spinner for the fundraiser. The elliptical gears are another story.

However, when printing multiple piece prints, or those with small pieces, it throws little clotting temper tantrums at 67%, 84%, even 90%...and no filament comes out. This, naturally, ruins the entire print. Once, when unloading the filament to remove the clog, Anakin had the audacity to have the filament break off in an awkward place. I'm sure he thought it was funny as we had to relay messages across the media center from the circulation desk to the computer nook as we talked to tech support. But the force was with us...we have solutions if he tries that trick again.

Now that we are finally understanding 3D vocabulary like brims, rafts, infill and so forth, we are getting ready to move into the next realm of Anakin's talents: 3D scanning.

May the force be with us.

The infamous clots

Some of the "almost dones"

They look done, until you look at the thickness
(lack thereof)

An attempt at a gyroscope...two layers thick before Ani quit.

For the last few years, James Patterson has been extremely generous in creating grants for books. He has helped numerous school libraries (I applied, but was not a lucky recipient) as well as small, independent book stores. This year's grant contest is a bit different.

While I wish this opportunity was for the library, I love that James Patterson's generosity is extending this year to the classroom teacher's library. When I taught middle school, I had to build my own classroom library, including a collection of Spanish language novels for my low-level English Language Learners who otherwise found book projects difficult to complete. (By reading the novel in their native Spanish, they could concentrate on the writing project in English and, therefore, improve their written language skills on that particular assignment.)

I hope all of my classroom teacher friends and colleagues take the time to read the grant requirements and apply for this fabulous opportunity. He is giving away $1.75 million in $500 increments so you have a GREAT chance to improve (or start!) a classroom library. While only not everyone will actually receive the grants, if you don't apply, you definitely won't receive it!

James Patterson Classroom Library Grants

The week before the week before spring break it finally arrived! (No, not the Easter Bunny....our 3-D printer!)

We now have the Da Vinci 3-n-1 1.0 Pro 3-D Printer in our computer nook! It took a day or two to actually read through all of the directions and understand everything, as well as calibrate and level the platform. Then we had to explore the many different possibilities for printing. We are also in the final stages of writing the rules for printing for students.

Yes, students will be able to print on this fabulous new piece of technology! The rules will involve a few things like not designing things that break school rules, the size limitations (it's not going to print a car, for example), and the cost for printing. The cost will allow us to continue to replace the filament. It won't be a money-maker for the library, but we don't want it to stop us from being able to buy books with our regular funding either!

Yesterday we finally were ready to put it to the test...and started with a captain's wheel fidget spinner that will be the fundraiser item for the TSA (Technology Student Association). At first, there were issues. We couldn't get anything to print...we cancelled the print and started over. Still nothing. It was a very frustrating situation.

Finally I took apart the filament cartridge, following steps for reloading it I found on a youTube video, and discovered a kink in the filament that was preventing it from going through the cartridge! Voila! Problem solved and by the second half of the day, we had three fidget spinners printed.

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