3D printing use case of the Marin City Library

Library stories: A lot more is happening in the library than just borrowing books

  • Contributed by Etienne Douglas, Webstar Coordinator/Community Library Specialist Marin City Library
    Jun 8, 2017
  • Category:
    / Inspiration

In over two years of our 3D printing program at the Marin City Library, we've had great success. Our intention was to bring new technologies to a community that lacks access to resources that others take for granted. We also wanted to establish a maker community comprised of individuals from all around the world. We’ve worked with local schools to integrate 3D printing and design into an after-school program. During the summer, we held a 3D Rubber Band Car Design Contest where students learned 3D design and then used that knowledge to design a rubber band powered car. They then raced the car for speed and distance.


Marin City students learning 3D design
Marin City students learning 3D design

The public has used the 3D printers to prototype innovative designs and prototypes. A hiker and blogger designed a piece he dubbed “The Party Hat.” The object enabled him to drastically reduce his load when hiking as it allows him to use his two hiking poles as a quick tent prop up. He blogged about the details in this post.

Showing Ultimaker’s Luis Rodriguez the Party Hat
Showing Ultimaker’s Luis Rodriguez the Party Hat

Another patron prototyped a piece for making it easier to change sails on a sailboat during a race. This was a little bit more secretive than “The Party Hat,” as he was planning on patenting the idea and selling his invention. Currently, his patent is pending and his product, called the Foiling Rabbit is for sale. It allows the shafts on the sailboat to stay lubricated so that it doesn’t require three or four people to change out a sail. It also significantly reduces the amount of time it takes. This is valuable in boat racing where you need to adjust to the conditions at a moment’s notice.


3D Printer Cart at the Marin City Library
Ultimaker 3D Printer Cart at the Marin City Library

We have several other patrons who are prototyping inventions, though these are the only ones I’m at liberty to talk about. As you may guess, these inventions involved many different iterations and perfecting over several months. The Ultimaker has fared very well in reliability and quality.

We are also currently partnering with the Tiburon Library in making hands for disabled children through e-Nable. We plan to create a hub for those who want to help assemble and donate to the creation of these hands. Having the 3D printer has been a great addition to our library and it has been recognized throughout the Bay Area.

For more information about the library, check out our website


Me, librarian Diana Lopez and Ultimaker’s Luis Rodriguez at Marin City Library
Me, librarian Diana Lopez and Ultimaker’s Luis Rodriguez at Marin City Library

Links to the Marin City Library 3D printer program in the news:

1 reply

Dan Sazer Anonymous User
Posted by
Dan Sazer

Posted Jun 11, 2017 - 1:33 PM

Great stuff everyone!

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