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Do Space, a non-profit community center in Omaha, Nebraska, has dubbed itself a digital library, wherein people visit and use electronic devices and technical equipment for free. Unlike a traditional book-borrowing library, guests are unable to take any of the pieces of technology home, so those without a local address can also utilize the services free of charge. Members of the Do Space staff are on hand to assist in the usage of the different pieces of technology, and classes are held on a near-daily basis, from introductory level tutorials to more advanced teachings.
One of the regularly-scheduled events is in the 3D printing niche. It’s titled 3D Printing Basics, and it’s a program that’s geared toward adults, although anyone 12 or older can attend as long as those under 16 are accompanied by an adult. The two-hour course goes over the different ways that one can utilize the resources in the Do Space 3D Lab, specifically the center’s Taz 5 3D printer. (Find the comparisons that Total 3D Printing did with the Taz 5 here.) The class also walks students through the basics of using a 3D printer, including proper maintenance as well as troubleshooting common issues.
If an attendee is still in need of instruction after the event is over, Do Space staff and volunteers are available for assistance. It should also be noted that there is a small fee to help cover the cost of materials. The cost of 3D printing is $5/cubic-inch of filament and $8/cubic-inch of support material, and using the Taz 5 printer comes with a fee of $0.10/gram of filament unless you provide your own.
If you are interested in being part of a class or event, it’s recommended that you reserve a spot on the Do Space website, as attendance has the potential to reach maximum capacity.
After taking the 3D Printing Basics course, attendees are encouraged to use the 3D printers and laser cutters at Do Space. They also will have the basics covered for any at-home 3D printing as well, as the Taz models are a popular option for personal use for its compatibility with a large range of materials in comparison to printers of its size.
For a full calendar of events and classes, visit the Do Space website. Almost every day of the year, including some holidays, the center offers one or two programs. For example, every Wednesday morning is Cyber Seniors, a three-hour window for seniors to come in and ask any question they have about their technological devices. And most Sunday afternoons, the center hosts a class called Girls Who Code, where young women who want to develop their computing skills can come in and learn in a comfortable setting with like-minded students. The events also cover topics like virtual reality, social media marketing, musical technology, and several more.
We chose to highlight the events at Do Space in Omaha because we believe the facility can serve as a model for other communities looking for ways to encourage technological empowerment. Right now, anyone in the area can stop by for a class, use the technology, or just to have a look around without paying an entrance fee.