Monday, November 10, 2014

3D Printer outage

Last week, we experienced our first (and hopefully last!) Smart Extruder blockage.  Unfortunately, even after following the steps on the MakerBot support website for clearing a clogged extruder, we were unable to get filament to extrude.  Contacted MakerBot Support directly today and after working with customer service, determined the extruder should be replaced.  We’re hoping to have the replacement in hand by end of week.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

CircTV is now LIVE

On Thursday, October 16, our new digital signage system went live, and we are pleased to have chosen Xibo ( to be our content management system.  Some of the compelling reasons for selecting Xibo included ease of use, setup, platform flexibility, support for numerous media types, and colleague recommendations.  For the display screen, we selected the Samsung ME55C LED TV (  Deciding the primary location for the display screen proved to be challenging as we wanted the best possible location with the least disruption, in terms of installation.  Just about every place considered ended up needing some type of additional infrastructure changes, such as, power and/or network access.  Ultimately, it was determined to install the primary screen behind the main Circulation desk, but additional setup would be needed.  Our fabulous building supervisor reconfigured the bookshelf area, installed electrical, mounting brackets, and attached the TV to the wall.  It turned out beautifully!  

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fontbonne librarians visit!

We were lucky to have the librarians from nearby Fontbonne University visit us yesterday.  They took a tour and tested all of our new technology.  One of the favorite items was Google Glass.  Here is a look through glass of the group moving station to station.  We hope they can come back soon.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Our 3D printer is back!

 Makerbot sent us a brand-new  Makerbot Replicator Fifth Gen printer to replace the one that went missing in transit. Here are some pictures of Bill, our IT guru, doing some initial test prints.
 We've got to get the UCPL staff trained, and then we hope to have it out in the public area soon.

Our new iMacs are up and running!

We've got these beautiful computers with giant 27" screens.

As part of our MOREnet Public Library Transformation grant project, they've both got Final Cut Pro installed and are perfect for editing video.
They're also great for surfing the web.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


 The University City High School Robolions stopped by the Library  to show off their competition robots and give a talk about the joys and frustrations (but mostly joys) of robotics.

We hope to have members of the Robolions come in and help us with workshops on working with Lego Mindstorm robots this Fall.
 Thank you very much to all the kids and adults who made this program such a success at the University City Library. There were a lot of young audience members, and they all had a good time!

3D-Printer Woes (continued)

UPS picked up our Makerbot 5th Gen 3D printer today to ship it back to New York. Only this wasn't really ours. Makerbot notified us that they had shipped back the freshly fixed machine, but when we opened the box, instead of the UCPL printer with a repaired gantry, we found someone else's printer. We're shipping the "someone else's printer" and Makerbot has promised us a brand new machine soon (our original machine is somewhere in the wind). Here's hoping we're 3D printing out in the Library before August!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Computer exploration

Youth Services hosted kids for a program asking "Do you have the guts to gut our computers?"  26 responded with an enthusiastic "YES!" and had a great time learning the parts of the computer checking out the inside. Keyboards and mice were also available.  Participants had a great time and are looking forward to another session.  

Lucky we got this picture early.  The motherboard was out of this machine in less than 15 minutes:

We had 5 stations each with their own equipment to work on:

Lots of teamwork, some due to the sharing of tools:

All tables ended up looking like this:

Three of the five stations:


Friday, June 13, 2014

3D Printer Woes....

On Wednesday, we performed a firmware update as directed by the MakerBot desktop software.  After successful update, we proceeded with printing a previously printed small object, just to test.  The carriage had previously stopped at the top-left corner of the build plate.  When the job was submitted, a grinding sound was heard and the carriage did not move.  The printer started extruding plastic in the same corner, no movement, just a glob.  No errors had been displayed up to this point.  We stopped the job and when the printer attempted to move the carriage, the below popped up on-screen:

Turns out the belt had seemingly fallen off track (don't know why) and didn't look to be user serviceable.    We called MakerBot Support (which was very easy and accessible) to help with this issue.  After submitting the pictures below, MakerBot advised that the unit would need to be returned for service.  Now awaiting arrival of the pre-paid shipping materials and will be sending off for repair....

Friday, May 23, 2014

3D Printing Now At UCPL


On Wednesday, 5/7, we dove into our brand-new 5th Generation 3D printer, taking pictures along the way.  Unboxing the unit was very easy, as the printer itself does not weigh much.

Front View:

Top View:

Instruction Card:

“Natural” color filament that comes with the printer:

The Smart Extruder connects directly to the printer without any clips, screws, or other attachments.  It’s completely magnetic!  Following the instructions, attached the filament, fed through the guide tube, and powered on the unit.

Turning it on:

Following on-screen directions:

Leveling the build plate:

Keep your hands on the knob and don't remove until directed.

Heating the Extruder:

Close-up of screen:

(notice the target temperature is 230 Celsius.  That’s 446 Fahrenheit!)

On subsequent screens, we load the filament into the extruder and now ready to print.  Connectivity comes in multiple options: USB Cabled, Ethernet, USB Flash, and coming soon Wireless. 

MakerBot software and documentation is available for download from the MakerBot website. 
We proceeded with following the steps for printing the Queen Anne Coffee Table found on Thingiverse:

The mascot for the library is the University City Lion, we searched for a lion head to print next and found one here:    BTW, it turned out great!!

One question arose in regards to whether or not the filament needed to be removed from the extruder after each print or if it could stay loaded.  I didn’t see anywhere in the documentation that addressed the question, so after calling MakerBot support directly, I learned that the recommendation is to leave the filament loaded.