AZTEC — The excitement about 3-D printing could not be contained during the 2014 Summer Makerspace Tour.
The two-hour program, part of the New Mexico State Library's Summer Reading Program, teaches the basics of 3-D scanning and printing using an Xbox Kinect and the computer program, Tinkercad.
About 15 people, mostly children, attended the program on Wednesday at the Aztec Public Library.
Mariano Ulibarri is the founder and director of the Parachute Factory, a community makerspace in Las Vegas, N.M., and is teaching the program in libraries across the state.
Ulibarri explained how a 3-D printer operates and showed a series of models that were made of members of the Parachute Factory, including a 6-inch tall purple vase made from polylactic acid, a biodegradable plastic, which took five hours to complete.
He then held up an Xbox Kinect and explained the motion sensing camera would be used to scan the head and shoulders of a volunteer.
"We're not using it for video games, but for 3-D printing," Ulibarri said.
Once asked for the volunteer, a number of small hands rose into the air.
Ali Cochran, 9, was the first to have her image scanned.
Ulibarri explained that any problems with the image would be fixed before it is submitted for printing.
He also reduced the size of Ali's image to about an inch because if the actual size were to print, it would take about 10 hours to complete.
Ali sat next to her mother, Cindy Cochran, and to the side of the 3-D printer, Maker Bot Replicator 2, which can be purchased on the Internet for about $2,000.
"Pretty cool," Ali said as she watched her image take shape.
"There's your little nose," Cindy said. "This is so cool being exposed to new technology."
After about 10 minutes, the printer completed the model and Ali removed it from the machine's base announcing where she planned to place it at home.
"In my room," she said.
Participants were also allowed to operate the scanner and save those images to the computer program for printing.
"It's so cool," someone said as they watched Mekenzie Bullcoming's image appear on the computer screen.
Bullcoming, 8, attended the program with her mother, Vanessa Gus, after they heard the noise from the 3-D printers in the library and decided to check out the robotic sounds.
"Now we'll have a mini-mold of her," Gus said after her daughter's profile was scanned.
Bullcoming said she was excited to learn about the printing process.
"I really like the colors and it's cool," Bullcoming said.
This is the first summer Parachute Factory has teamed with the New Mexico State Library to offer the program in 18 state libraries over the next six weeks.
One of the program's goals is to generate children's interest in science, technology, engineering, art and math.
The program was offered on Monday at the Bloomfield Public Library then on Tuesday at the Farmington Public Library and on Wednesday and Thursday in Aztec.
Ulibarri said the Parachute Factory teamed with the state library because it operates facilities in rural communities and often rural libraries are the central meeting place for residents and families.
"My personal goal is to give them opportunities to learn with known and unknown technologies," Ulibarri said.