Core Maker Technology Interest Group

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About this Group

👐 Anyone can view all content in the group, but only people who join it can post to it. Anyone can join to participate.

Purpose: Explores technologies located within makerspaces, content creation spaces, and the management of such areas. These technologies include 3D printers, computational textiles, light boxes, recording studies, laser cutters, video equipment, and more.

This group is part of Core's Technology Section.

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  • 1.  Consumables Policy: Free or Paid?

    Posted Jan 27, 2023 12:00 PM
    Edited by Jacqueline Lockwood Jan 27, 2023 02:55 PM
    Hi Maker folks! I work in a public library makerspace and I'm hoping to find out more about how you provide supplies to your users. Any insight you can share on these questions would be most appreciated!

    What type of makerspace/institution?
    What is your current method for providing supplies to users?
    What are the pros and cons of this method?
    What would you like to implement in the future?

    For example, do you perhaps offer a limited amount of something for free? Does the user need to have a library card? Or do you charge for supplies including filament, plywood, etc...?

    My public library makerspace is transitioning off of the initial grant funding and we need to determine our policies around providing supplies to our users.

    Thank you!

    Jacqueline (Jackie) Lockwood
    Makerspace Librarian
    Bellevue Library
    King County Library System
    (Washington State)

  • 2.  RE: Consumables Policy: Free or Paid?

    Posted Jan 27, 2023 12:11 PM

    Hi Jackie,


    I manage a public library makerspace. We have been running for almost six years now. Users must have a library card and a use agreement on file. We have always charged cost for consumable supplies. Our price list is here: One con is that prices do fluctuate depending on the costs changing as I source materials over time.


    Patrons are able to bring in their own consumables for many of our machines if they would prefer, but staff always check the materials for safety and machine compatibility.


    This has worked well for us. I wish we had more space to offer more consumables on site. We are noticing that a few of the local craft supply stores are starting to carry more materials for lasers and sublimation which help as well.


    Cara Kouse

    Innovation and Makerspace Manager

    Greene County Public Library



  • 3.  RE: Consumables Policy: Free or Paid?

    Posted Feb 03, 2023 01:20 PM
    Hi Cara,

    Thank you so much for this information! If you have time for a couple more questions, may I ask what cash register system you are using? Is it integrated with your ILS?

    Jacqueline Lockwood
    Makerspace Librarian
    King County Library System

  • 4.  RE: Consumables Policy: Free or Paid?

    Posted Feb 03, 2023 01:44 PM

    We have a university library maker space, called the Maker Lab.  It is open to anyone from the community, not just those affiliated with our campus.  We ask everyone who enters the space to check in by scanning a QR code on a computer or by entering their username.  If it's their first visit, they are prompted to sign off on a safety and usage agreement before creating an account.

    Our policy on consumables is similar to what others have posted.  We charge for most big supplies, like wood, sign or heat press vinyl, and 3D printer filament and resin.  Makers are welcome to bring their own provided it is acceptable to our equipment.  We also have a scrap pile that people can use for free.  We found this is a good way to reduce waste, and it encourages people to try something when they didn't have to be afraid of messing up their own material.  Our store is

    We do have to update prices as costs go up.  This happened most notably for wood.  However, we don't price things to make a profit, just to recoup costs.  People pay for supplies in the Maker Lab, not at the library's main circulation desk.  We use TouchNet for our payment system because that's what our campus uses.

    I'm glad to answer any more questions if you have some.

    Laura Baker
    Librarian -- User Experience and Assessment
    Abilene Christian University Library
    221 Brown Library / ACU Box 29208
    Abilene, TX  79699-9208
    phone: (325) 674-2477
    fax:   (325) 674-2202

  • 5.  RE: Consumables Policy: Free or Paid?

    Posted Jan 28, 2023 12:23 PM
    Hi Jacqueline,

    I run an academic library makerspace. We allow for a small amount of free supplies for every student each semester. After they use their free supplies they can bring in their own supplies. We run on the honor system for this, as it would be really hard to track how much each student has used. We have had two students that I can remember who we've had to say something to about using too many materials. Most students are very conscientious. I'll have to look into our budget to find the exact amount we spend on consumables each semester/year. If you're interested, I can do that for you.  So far our Dean has said he is not concerned at all about supply use. Our users have to be Miami students, faculty, or staff.

    A huge pro to providing the supplies for free is that we don't create barriers for any students who may have to worry about costs. Additionally, it saves us a lot of headache having to charge students, as university policy states that projects for academic use would not require tax but personal projects would. So, we'd be in a position where we would have to ask every student whether the supplies their purchasing are for academic or personal purposes.

    The exception is when we work with courses or special events with other university partners. If I have a class coming in where every student will be using materials, we often just charge materials to that department.


    Sarah Nagle
    Creation and Innovation Services Librarian
    Miami University

  • 6.  RE: Consumables Policy: Free or Paid?

    Posted Feb 03, 2023 01:27 PM
    Hi Sarah,

    I really appreciate your reply, thank you! Lots of great insight to think about here. If you have the time, I would be interested to know what amount you spend on consumables each year. Thank you for offering to provide that information. Would you be able to estimate the number of students you serve each year as well? A per student cost could be informative.

    Thank you!

    Jacqueline Lockwood
    Makerspace Librarian
    King County Library System

  • 7.  RE: Consumables Policy: Free or Paid?

    Posted Jan 30, 2023 11:25 AM
    I work for a public library system. We currently provide access to Cricut, Taz 3D as well as sewing machines. Fabric, papers or vinyl for the Cricut and sewing machine must be provided by the patron unless they are attending a class. Whatever class they are attending (ie "Stickers on the Cricut") would have the necessary supplies available for free. The 3D filament is paid for by the hour. We found weighing filament to be somewhat tedious and hard to be precise. We decided on an hourly price because no matter what you end up with after your 1,2,3 etc hours it is the product of the amount of time the machine was running. We use Polymaker PLA Terra filament and it is pretty affordable for us.
    I would be hesitant to offer any items for purchase like papers or fabric as we just don't have space.
    Users are required to have a library card but that account is free to get assuming to can show proof you live in the county limits. We also require training which takes less than 1 hour.
    Does that help?

    Caitlin Lombardo
    Lincoln City Libraries

  • 8.  RE: Consumables Policy: Free or Paid?

    Posted Feb 03, 2023 01:32 PM
    Hi Caitlin,

    Thank you, yes this information is really helpful! I would love to know more about how you provide training to your users. You mentioned it takes less than one hour. Is that for the 3D printer only, or all of your equipment? Do you have a badging system of some kind to record who has completed training?

    Thank you so much!

    Jacqueline Lockwood
    Makerspace Librarian
    King County Library System

  • 9.  RE: Consumables Policy: Free or Paid?

    Posted Jan 30, 2023 08:47 PM
    Edited by Tara Radniecki Jan 31, 2023 03:35 PM

    Hi Jackie!


    We have a bit of a hybrid model.  Here are my answers to your questions:


    • What type of makerspace/institution?
      • Academic library makerspace
    • What is your current method for providing supplies to users? 
      • We provide access to smaller supplies/consumables for free. These include things like wood and super glues, various tapes (electrical, duct, etc), solder, thread for regular sewing machines/serger, nails/screws, etc. We just use operational funds to cover these.
      • We charge for the following: 3D filament/resin, vinyl (for the vinyl cutters & circut), plastic sheets for the vacuum former, and thread for the embroidery machine.
      • All other supplies/consumables need to be brought in by the user. This includes things to engrave/cut in the laser cutters, wood for the CNC mill or Shaper Origin, fabric for the sewing machines, etc.
      • Users leave their end cuts so we have scrap bins for nearly every machine that people can help themselves to.
      • For workshops, we provide all the materials for free. However, we are considering more complex and/or multiday workshops where users would pay for the consumables (Make Your Own Electric Skateboard, etc)
    • What are the pros and cons of this method? 
      • Pros:
        • Charging for the expensive consumables has allowed us to be sustainable as a makerspace. In some cases, we charge just for the cost of materials and in less expensive items (like vinyl) we can include a little cost to go towards things like maintenance or repair parts.
      • Cons:
        • We would like to sell more consumables – it is not handy for our on-campus students to have to go get wood or other supplies from a home improvement store across town. But selling consumables requires ample fiscal oversight.
        • Most of our fee-based consumables are too cost-prohibitive to include maintenance/repair costs. And in some cases, the at-cost price is so high we/the library has to subsidize the cost so it will be affordable for students.
    • What would you like to implement in the future? 
      • As mentioned above, we would like to sell more supplies in general.
      • We would also like to have some sort of vending machine for smaller consumables so students can buy them and use them outside of our makerspace – glues, tapes, screws, nails, etc








    Tara M. Radniecki 


    Head of the DeLaMare Science & Engineering Library

    Patent & Trademark Resource Center Librarian

    Liaison to: College of Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics & Statistics
    Pronouns: She, Her

    University of Nevada, Reno

 ">Click here to book a consultation with Tara.





  • 10.  RE: Consumables Policy: Free or Paid?

    Posted Feb 03, 2023 01:42 PM
    Hi Tara,

    Thank you so much for your reply and all of this great information! I love the idea to have a vending machine for smaller consumables. As you mentioned that you charge for some supplies, may I ask what payment/register software you are currently using?

    Thank you, I truly appreciate your time!

    Jacqueline Lockwood
    Makerspace Librarian
    King County Library System