A makerspace is an open place with tools and supplies where anyone can go to work on a creative project of his or her own choosing. Projects can include endeavors in the fields of art, music, technology, small business, authorship, science to name a few. At the Idea Factory, we have everything you need in one creative space to explore 3D printing, to work with many types of digital media, to hold collaborative meetings, to learn from skilled professionals and to get going on your own projects! 

Our main Makerspace Lab is at Rawlings Library and there is also a Makerspace at Pueblo West Library. Please call 719-562-5600 to make appointments to use the equipment.

Check our events calendar for Makerspace Workshops


The purpose of this training is to:
  • Briefly introduce you to the technology available in the Idea Factory at the Rawlings Library.
  • Provide some important safety reminders for using Idea Factory technology.
Even if you have used these technologies before, if you would like to use them at the Rawlings Library Idea Factory, you must first read this document and complete a short assessment (google quiz).
You will be asked to sign a liability waiver. A liability waiver means that you agree to accept responsibility for injury to yourself and/or damage to our equipment if you misuse or mishandle the technology.
You may lose the privilege of using the Idea Factory if you:
  • Do not report equipment-related injuries immediately.
  • Do not report damage to the equipment immediately.
  • Cause damage to the equipment or injury to yourself (or someone else) becasue you were not properly careful.
  • Fail to abide by the “General Rules” in the next section.

General Rules

Adult supervision is required to use any Idea Factory machinery. No exceptions. Adult supervisors must also complete this training and assessment
  • Do not use machinery while tired or under the influence of a perception altering substance (such as alcohol or cannabis).
  • Dress appropriately
    •  Do not wear loose-fitting clothing or accessories while using machinery.
    •  Remove ties, neck scarves, jewelry, etc. while using machinery.
    •  Tie back or cover long hair while using machinery.
    •  Wear only closed-toed shoes while using machinery.
  • Report any injuries or equipment damage to a librarian immediately. If you experience an injury that you believe is life threatening or requires emergency care, call 911.
  • If you do not remember how to use a machine or are not sure, ask a librarian for assistance.
  • If the machines are not operating as expected, do not attempt to fix them yourself, ask for assistance.
  • Clean up after yourself.
Review each training module tab here and then complete the assessment:


3D Printing Basics
  • 3D Printing is a process for making a physical object from a three-dimensional digital file (.stl or .obj)
  • It does this by laying down layer on top of layer of a material until the object is complete.
  • The material our printers use is plastic (ABS, PETG and PLA) which come in spools of filament.
  • The plastic filament is heated to very high temperatures in the extruder until it is soft enough to make the layers.
  • As soon as the plastic is laid down on the print bed, it begins to cool and harden again.
  • If you know how to use 3D modeling software (TinkerCAD, Rhinoceros, Sketchup etc.) you can create your own models to print.
  • Or you can find 3D printable files on websites like Thingiverse or Youmagine.
  • Either way, in order to print on our 3D printers, your files need to be in .obj or .stl file formats.
  • These files then need to be opened in a slicer program that is compatible with the printer you are using. These programs tell the printer how to print the file (How big do you want to print it? How thick should the layers be? Does the print need supports? etc.)
  • Once the file has been “sliced” it can be sent to the printer.
  • Sometimes prints fail. This can happen for many reasons. It may be a problem with the file, how the file was sliced, or the printer itself. If the problem can be found and fixed, the print will usually be successful.
3D Printing Safety
  • Parts of the 3D printer can get very hot.
  • Do not touch the extruder
    • In order to melt the plastic, the metal nozzle where the plastic comes out can get up to 250 degrees C (482 degrees F). If you touch it, it can burn you very badly.
  • The print bed is also heated and can get very warm to the touch.
  • If you experience a burn while using the printer, notify a librarian immediately.
  • If something is going wrong with the printer, turn it off.
    • Do not pull the filament out of the printer
    • Do not try to physically stop the printer.


How to use our 3D Printers

Printers: the Dremel Digilab 3D45.
Although the following manuals and videos explain how to setup and adjust the printer, do not attempt to make adjustments or re-calibrate the printer without the assistance of a librarian.
3D printer filament should only be changed by a staff member.
Dremel Digilab 3D45
Steps to 3D print in the Makerspace
  • Prepare your .stl or .obj file in the slicer:
  • Before printing, have a staff member approve your print.
  • If necessary, ask a librarian to change the filament.
  • Save and transfer the sliced file to a thumb drive (USB drive)
  • Start the print.
  • Monitor your print for the entire printing process.
  • If your print is failing, stop the printer.
  • Whether the print is complete or failed, wait for the print bed to cool.
  • Remove your print from the print bed.
  • Notify a staff member when you have finished using the printer.

In order to use the Vinyl Cutter,  you must complete our Safety Training and Assessment.
Vinyl Cutting Basics
  • A vinyl cutter cuts designs out of vinyl and other supported materials.
  • Although vinyl cutters often behave like desktop printers, they use a blade to cut the designs into the material instead of printing the design on the material.
  • The vinyl cutter is attached to a computer and a computer program tells the cutter how to cut the design into the material.
  • The program that comes with our vinyl cutter, VinylMaster, can be used to prepare your design or selected image to cut.


Vinyl Cutting Safety
  • The vinyl cutter uses a sharp blade to cut. Keep body parts, clothing and other personal items away from the space where the carriage arm operates.
  • Do not leave the vinyl cutter unattended while it is cutting your image.
  • When you have finished using the vinyl cutter, turn it off.
  • Only the Idea Factory librarian is allowed to change the cutting blade and the cutting pressure on the vinyl cutter.
How to Use Our Vinyl Cutter
We have the USCutter MH Series 871 34 inch vinyl cutter.
Although the vinyl cutter can cut materials other than vinyl. Do not attempt to cut your own material without getting approval from the Idea Factory librarian first.


USCutter MH 871 - MK 2


Steps for Vinyl Cutting
  • Prepare your cut in VinylMaster
  • Before cutting, have the librarian approve your cut.
  • If using a material other than the vinyl provided by the library, ask the librarian to approve your material.
  • Make sure the material you’ve selected is loaded between the pinch rollers, the pinch rollers are locked, and the blade origin is set properly.
  • Start the cut.
  • Monitor the entire cutting process.
  • If the cut is failing, stop the cutter.
  • Notify the librarian when you have finished using the vinyl cutter.

Laser Cutting Basics
  • A laser cutter is a prototyping and manufacturing tool used to cut and etch into flat material.
  • Laser cutters use a thin, focused laser beam to pierce and cut shapes out of materials or etch designs into the surface of materials.
  • The material that is being used (wood, cardboard, acrylic etc.) is placed in the print bed.
  • The design to be cut and/or etched must be an .svg file created in a program like Adobe Illustrator, Corel Paint, or Inkscape. Again, existing designs can be found on Thingiverse.
  • A program, called K40 Whisperer, is used to tell the laser cutter how to etch or cut the design into the material.
Laser Cutting Safety
  • For safety reasons, this machine can only be operated under the direct supervision of a librarian.
  • Watch Video: K40 Safety Questions
  • Never turn on the laser (laser switch or test switch) while the cover is open.
  • Always use safety goggles when observing the laser through the glass. Looking directly at the laser without eye protection will damage your eyes.
  • Never leave the laser cutter unattended while it is operating.
  • When you have finished using the laser cutter, turn it off.
About our Laser Cutter
We have the K40 laser cutter
The K40 laser cutter has a class 4 laser, which means it can only be operated under the supervision of someone with laser safety training. Therefore, the librarian is the only person qualified to operate the machine. You may however, use Inkscape independently to prepare your design for the cutting process.
K40 Laser Cutter Design and Software
Steps to Laser Cut
  • Make an appointment to use the laser cutter.
  • Before your scheduled appointment, select or create your design in Inkscape or another vector based design program. Be sure your design follows the specifications described in the K40 Whisperer and Inkscape Tutorial
  • Arrive before your appointment with enough time to prepare your design for cutting.
  • Sign in for your appointment with the librarian.

Equipment available for use.
To use 3D printers, Vinyl Cutter and Laser Cutter, you must complete our
Safety Training and Assessment and sign a liability waiver.
3D Printing

Learn more about 3D printing

3D Modeling Software
Vinyl Cutting
  • Digital Cameras
  • Video Camera
  • Green Screen 
Adobe Creative Cloud


  • Large video screen
  • Whiteboard
  • Easel


  • Sewing Machines
  • Knitting Needles
  • Crochet Needles
  • Embroidery Machine
  • Various Craft Supplies
  • Various Tools


Give us a call at 719-562-5600 or submit a question below.

Makerspace Contact