Repair Clark County Program Introduces 3D Printing Technology

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Get your old stuff fixed and check out some cool new technology at the Repair Clark County event on Saturday, May 4th, from noon to 2:00 PM at Cascade Park Community Library.

The Repair Clark County program holds free events where community members can bring broken items and get them fixed by skilled volunteer “fixers.” Bring your bicycles, clothing, small home appliances or electronics, jewelry, or tools/knives for sharpening. Fixers will try to repair them or give you advice on how fix them yourself.

In 2018, the program boasted an 84% repair rate and fixed a total of 855 items for Clark County residents. The goals of Repair Clark County events are to help community members save money, reduce waste, practice environmental stewardship and create an inclusive community environment where skills and knowledge can be shared across generations.

“We are excited that the libraries will be able to offer 3D printing demonstrations at our next two events.” said Terra Heilman, the program’s coordinator. “Most people have heard of 3D printing by now, but few have seen it in action. We hope that by demonstrating the technology, we can build enthusiasm for science and technology.”

Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries strive to offer access to new, emerging, and established technologies to inspire creativity and learning. 3D printers are provided for public use at several library branches for educational, entertainment, and prototyping purposes. 3D printers create plastic reproductions of objects and can print replacement pieces for many household items. The cost of 3D printing replacement parts is minimal and can give new life to a worn-out object.

Indeed, there are practical applications of 3D printing that Heilman says are important to the program. “Often, some part has broken over the years-we see it all the time with our repairs. Sometimes, we’re able to 3D print a replacement part for the item and extend its useful life.”

The program will not be printing replacement parts at the events, though. “Unfortunately, it’s a bit more complicated than that.” says Heilman. “In order to print the part, you need to have a digital file with all the correct specifications. So, while we won’t be printing repair parts, we hope that by simply demonstrating the printer’s capabilities, people will get excited about what might be possible in the future.”

Community members can gain experience with this technology by attending free workshops offered by the library system. Community members who have gained a little experience with the 3D printer can then certify to use the 3D printers independently. Anyone 12 or older can certify to use the library’s 3D printer. Minors (12-17) must certify with an adult. Contact the Library at 360-906-5000 to learn more about this service.

For more information visit Repair Clark County online.

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