Natasha’s Nook: 3D printing now available at BWG Library

‘I didn’t realize how many things you can make with a 3D printer. Library official: ‘Bookmarks, keychains and business card holders are just a few of the endless possibilities.

After much anticipation, BWG Library is now offering 3D Printing!

You can now create unique projects using our 3D Printer in the Creative Lab.

Wendy Zwaal, our emerging technologist has been working hard over the last few months to learn all about the machine as well as the software that goes with it. She is now ready to assist the community in bringing their unique designs and projects to life.

Wendy taught me and some coworkers to design our own keychains with TinkerCAD. It’s a 3D design tool that is free.

I didn’t realize how many things you can make with a 3D printer. Bookmarks, keychains and business card holders are just a few of the endless possibilities.

Wendy showed us how to use TinkerCAD – one of many free 3D software programs available online – by logging in. There are plenty of other free sites you can use for project inspiration, like Thingiverse, with free designs to download and print, but for this lesson, we used TinkerCAD.

It was a Mac computer, which I’m not used to, but it is great for design.

On the main page, there is your ‘Workplane’ where you design your projects on a grided backdrop. You can add different shapes and letters in the menu on the right.

Wendy told us to use letters to spell our names on our keychain. In the spirit my favourite pop-culture icon, I chose the name Barbie. It was printed in magenta filament.

Our Ultimaker S3 printer can print up to eight colours: black (or 2hite), red, orange and yellow, as well as green, magenta, blue, green and blue-green. With two nozzles you can print two different colours in a single project.

When I added the letters to my layout, I could tinker with it (get it? TinkerCAD!) TinkerCAD!) Wendy showed how to group together the letters so that they would print in one piece.

It was difficult for me to make the loop that I would use to attach the keys. We made these using the ‘cylinder’ and ‘hole’ shapes in TinkerCAD. This required a bit of geometrical thinking, but with Wendy’s help, I was able to do it.

TinkerCAD lets you view your design from every angle, so that you can see how it will appear when printed.

Wendy asked us to save our STL files once we finished our designs and then open them with Cura, another free program.

Cura is where a project is prepared to be printed. It slices up your project, and builds it from the bottom upwards in layers of filament. You can also get an estimation of the time it will take for you to print. It will cost more to print a large project.


3D printing at the BWG Library is run on a cost recovery basis – the cost of prints is $1 base fee + $0.25 per 10 minutes of print time.

Cura showed that my keychain could take up to 30 minutes to be printed, so it would cost $1 + 0.25(3)= $1.75

Use the 3D Printer

You must be in possession of a valid BWG Library Card to access the 3D Printer at the Library. If you don’t have one, you can sign up for one in person at the service desk or online here.

You can send us your 3D files via email if you already have experience with 3D printers. [email protected] You can find the following information on our website: 

  • Name
  • Library card number
  • Phone number
  • Color of filament desired
  • Estimated Print Time
  • Project attachment. (It must be an. Project attachment (it must be a. OBJ or STL file). Please only submit one project in an email. Please send separate emails for each project.  

Creative Lab will send you an email to confirm your project’s details and price. All projects with a price of $5 or under will be automatically processed. You will need to confirm the cost of larger projects that exceed $5 before they can be printed.

After your project is completed, you will be contacted to collect and pay your project.  

Workshops are available for anyone new to 3D-printing. You can sit with our staff, and they will guide you through each step of the design and printing processes.

The first workshop is for 12-14 year olds. Register for these workshops on our Eventbrite Page here.

Watch for more workshops to be held for other age ranges in the near future!

For more information and FAQ about the 3D printer, visit our website at

‘Til next week, happy reading … and tinkering!

Natasha Philpott works as the marketing and communication coordinator for the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library.

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