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3D printer Leonardo Da Printi debuts at Evergreen Park library

The new 3D printer at Evergreen Park Public Library might represent the latest trends in technology, but its new name hearkens to an innovator from centuries ago.

Channeling the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, the library’s new device now will be called Leonardo da Printi, thanks to Evergreen Park resident Jayna Rumble, a photographer and journalism teacher at the University of Chicago Lab Schools whose entry was selected as the winner of a library naming contest.

Officials at the library hope that the new printer will help people be as creative as da Vinci, and said the device could be just as versatile as the storied inventor.

Frank Murray, the library’s director, said the possibilities the device brings to library patrons are “endless,” having had experience with the devices at other facilities.

“I have found them to be successful and inspiring,” Murray said. “That’s what we’re hoping to bring here to Evergreen Park.”

Evergreen Park Public Library Director Frank Murray prepares the library's new 3D printer, Leonardo da Printi, for a demonstration during an event last week at the library where the printer was introduced to patrons.

The library hosted a launch party for the printer last week where patrons had a chance to look it over and quiz the library staff about the new gizmo, which the library acquired thanks in part to a donation from Order of St. Francis Little Company of Mary and OSF Innovation.

The event included demonstrations on how to make things with the printer, including one by representatives from Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center on how to create miniature models of human hearts.

Now that the party has passed, the library will get down to business of letting the public have a go at creating their own ideas with Leonardo, a Prusa i3 MK3 printer.

Orientation sessions will begin in the early spring. Registration and information are with Jenna Harte-Wisniewski at hartej@evergreenparklibrary.org.

The technology for 3D printing has been around since the early 1980s but some people still hear the word “printer” and think it has to do with ink and paper.

That’s not the case.

Rather, the device extrudes layers of plastic material to form objects as simple as doodads and toys or as complicated as anatomical models used in medical science.

Marty Stelk, of Homewood, stirs a molding liquid to make a replica of a human heart with the new 3D printer at the Evergreen Park Public Library during an event showcasing the device last week at the library.

Conner Davie of the Peoria-based Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center at the OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, helped patrons young and old make heart models with an assist from some modeling software.

He also brought some items, such as replicas of fingers and a life-size replica of a human heart, that have been created via a 3D printer.

“It’s a 16-year-old boy’s heart and there is a big white glob on top, which is a tumor,” Davie said while holding up the heart replica, which is the size of a fist. “They were able to go in and remove that tumor and he was able to make a full recovery.”

Evergreen Park resident Ray Lewan came away from the event amazed.

“It’s interesting,” he said. “I don’t know if I have a direct application for it, but when I heard the presentation on how the hospitals use it, I found it to be very interesting. I did some research and this is a state-of-the-art printer.”

Yes, the technology has been around for decades, but Murray points out that because of patents, it didn’t start to catch fire until the 2000s.

“This is the heyday right now, because there are so many different companies,” Murray said. “The people here are excited about it, and we can’t wait to start hosting our classes.”

Murray said the there are few limits on what this device can do.

“Literally, whatever your imagination can cook up, you can create it,” he said. “You can create it through some design software, or you can modify a file that already exists.

“You can do it,” he said.

Jeff Vorva is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.

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