AUGUSTA — With two 3-D printers whirring and pulsing in the background as they created plastic blocks, patrons were welcomed to a new “Makerspace” by state librarian James Ritter.

Located in a former office at the Maine State Library in the state’s cultural building, the room — called “UP,” which stands for “unlimited possibilities” — and its contents are like fancy new toys to the technologically geared.

Makerspaces are places for hands-on learning and support various programs in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The UP Room at the state library holds a huge printer capable of reproducing maps, large scanners to digitize and preserve photos, large and small tablet computers with computer-aided design programs, a Cricut machine that cuts and trims greeting cards and other scrapbook items, and a mini robot that rolls around people’s feet.

On Thursday, the duet of 3-D printers sat atop a shelf steadily extruding warmed, colorful plastic to create forms as directed by a computer file. The plastic unrolled like yarn from bobbins above the printers.

Some $15,000 from a private grant and state and federal funds made the new space possible, as did the equipment, which Ritter said has been amassed over the past few years.

Some of it, including a 3-D printer, has already traveled to some of the farther reaches of the state, including Swan’s Island in Hancock County.

“One goal of the state library is to be able to expose people to all these technologies and to do it well,” Ritter said.

Thursday’s grand opening attracted the robotics team from Hall-Dale High School in Farmingdale accompanied by their Frisbee-launching, remote-controlled robot.

The team was looking to see what capabilities the room had for their upcoming project, and Ritter suggested a demonstration of disk-throwing by the robot.

After the team members remarked that the Makerspace room might be too cramped and the ceiling fans very much at risk, the robot and the attendees removed to the atrium, and the disks flew high and low, forcing some people to duck and leap aside.

Colt Seigars, a senior at Hall-Dale, said the team expects to receive the details in January 2016 about what the robots must be able to do in the upcoming competition.

That’s when team members might return to use the 3-D printers to create certain parts.

In the meantime, however, members Barry Nitzel and William Fahy, both juniors, got familiar with the computer-aided design program by attempting to create a file that would build a 3-D replica of their “REM RIM Delta Prime Robotics” logo. The logo resembles a hand, with fingers stretching out from a triangular palm.

Fahy said the group is composed mostly of juniors and sophomores this year.

“We hope to work on recruiting because it’s on a four-year cycle,” he said.

An announcement about the grand opening of the library’s new room says, “Visitors to the UP Room will have access to technology, supplies, resources and expertise to help them craft, innovate and remake something new from old.”

Eventually people will be able to use the equipment on their own, but until they’re trained, library staff will be offering support. The room is available by appointment 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and there is no fee to use the equipment.

Becky LaBonte, library innovation technologist, described the operation of the 3-D printer at the grand opening, saying in passing that she had both machines stripped down to their component parts at one time or another.

“We see that as a resource, being able to train the trainer,” Ritter said.

Ritter also showed a more practical use for the 3-D printers. They created the plastic couplers used to link two plastic water bottles together in an experiment that shows how a vortex works. That was one of the features of the library’s science day on Thursday.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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