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GPL staffer Devon Dorsey, center, teaching a 3D Printing session

Learn how to DIY in library's free MakerSpace Lab

Contributed By: The 411 News

Gary Public Library teaches how to use tools, equipment, and materials

Everywhere she goes, Carolyn Riggins takes her snake that is wearing a hat. “I think it is so cute. I love to show it off,” she said.

It’s not a real snake; it is plastic. Riggins made the snake on a 3D printer in the Gary Public Library’s MakerSpace Lab. The library is among the many MakerSpace sites around the nation that encourages exploring, collaborating and creating.

The GPL opened its MakerSpace in October and offers it free to cardholders. The country’s first official MakerSpace opened in the Fayetteville Free Library in upstate New York.

Riggins initially checked out the lab for her grandson; and it also appealed to her, as a hobbyist. MakerSpaces are sometimes called tinkerer’s labs and do-it-yourself studios.

Kenda Mincy uses the lab to help home school her daughters.

On a recent Monday afternoon, Riggins and Mincy were in a MakerSpace demonstration session using colored sands to create works of art. Mincy said she’d next like to try the lab’s Printed Circuits for Beginners.

3D printing is just one of the components in the MakerSpace that works on 21st century technologies. In its data storage system, the 3D printer had the dimensions of Riggins’ snake – its height, width, and depth. Using that model and a plastic material heated to 1200 degrees inside the printer, layer upon layer of the snake was created.

Another 21st century technology at the library is the Cricut machine. It can cut paper, fabric, vinyl, leather, balsa wood and more. Like the lab’s 3D printer, it uses digital modeling and is a desktop version of industrial manufacturing.

In a nod to the past, the lab has sewing machines able to create hundreds of stitches and patterns. “A lot of people still want to sew and I tell them they can come to the Gary Public Library,” Riggins said.

The lab is managed by library staff. Devon Dorsey teaches 3D Printing and Cricut. “Overall, the public’s response has been a positive one,” he said. “We’ve received positive input, along with some suggestions and comments.” “If anyone has a cricut machine and doesn’t know how to use it, we can show you how at the library,” Dorsey said.

Danyell Cooper is the art instructor. Kathleen Yon is the sewing instructor.

MakerSpace sessions are free and reservations are required. Contact (219) 886-2484 ext. 332 to register or for more information. Patrons should know what session they want to attend and how many people would be attending, along with a call back number.

Reserved lab times, Open Lab, is available for use with certain equipment. Time can be reserved depending on the number of people signed up for that day and stations available.

Information on sessions available is available on the library’s website at

Patrons under 17 years of age must have a parent or guardian present to sign the required Waiver Form. A parent or guardian must accompany patrons under the age of 13 at all times. Complete guidelines are available at the library or at

The MakerSpace Lab is in the Gary Public Library & Cultural Center, 220 W. 5th Avenue.

Carolyn Riggins initially checked out the lab for her grandson; and it also appealed to her, as a hobbyist.

Kenda Mincy and her daughters use colored sands to create artwork

A desktop cricut and the decals it created were placed on t-shirts

A low poly Bulbasaur (Pokémon) Planter with a base. Because of the large size and detail, this 3-D planter took about 12 hours to print.

Story Posted:02/07/2024

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