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There’s a subject heading for that!?: three-dimensional printing

30 May

One pizza, coming right up! Made for you, by you, while you’re in space. 3D printers and printing have gained considerable attention, and rightly so, over the past year. Everything from DYI household appliance fixes to guns and how to regulate and control them, to the latest news in the past month: NASA funding 3D food printing, and pizza is up first. Really, if you were an astronaut, wouldn’t you miss pizza, too?

Users will flood the reference desk wanting information on how to make pizza from 3D printers…if they aren’t already! Good news, the subject heading “three-dimensional printing” is authorized and in use. It is a narrower term for “rapid prototyping”:

LC Authorities screenshot

 

At first this surprised me, being the consumer-minded American that I am. Of course people and companies create prototypes before building the actual, final item that’s for sale. It’s just something that I hadn’t thought too much about before. However, it made perfect sense that 3D printing is a narrower term since the printer rapid makes something that isn’t the actual item.

Parsing out rapid prototyping from 3D printing isn’t too hard, especially with the help of the robust scope notes in their LC authorities records:

LC authorities screen shot

The authority record for 3D printing is just as long:

LC authorities screen shot

 

Basically, 3D printing focuses on the act of additive creation of an object from a printer, whereas rapid prototyping encompasses the concept and reasons for it, with business and design concerns in mind.

As the DIY, maker movement continues to grow, so will 3D printing. The machines themselves aren’t too expensive, considering, and will only become cheap in years to come. While every home, let alone person, probably won’t have one of their own, there will certainly be publicly available ones or people you can pay to produce you an item from their printer. Libraries are already starting to offer these capabilities, on a small scale–see the end of the post for more information, including my academic librarian friend who has a printer at her university!

LC has more resources on rapid prototyping as of today:

LC catalog screen shot

 

However, 3D printing books will likely outnumber them soon:

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 3.51.23 PM

 

The books themselves under 3D printing struck me since there was such a variety. Yes, among the five books there was a variety, not vast mind you. I expected to see all five about MakerBot  since that’s the brand that comes to mind for me. Still, the works cover slightly different aspects of 3D printing:

LC catalog screen shot

 

I love DIY (just check out my Pinterest boards) and making things from scratch, especially food, but I haven’t dabbled in 3D printing yet. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too hard to convince my techie librarian husband that we need a printer to play around with. Truly, it’s all about learning the tech so that we can help the users when all the libraries have one. Right?

After writing this post, I want pizza! Good thing Marco’s Pizza is just down the road…

 

 

Want to know even more about 3D printing? This is such a hot, and growing, topic that is being talked about all of the time.

My librarian friend Emily Thompson at SUNY Oswego helps students print research needs, such as a 3D snake skull.

While I haven’t watched this TED talk yet, Lisa Harouni discusses 3D printing.

Mashable will keep you up-to-the-minute with recent news stories in their 3D printing section.

One episode of The New Disruptors podcast discusses the maker movement and 3D printing. I love this podcast, and just recently discovered it!

Search the web and you will come up with tons of information. Check out YouTube for awesome videos, too!

 

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