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September 3D Printer Certification Dates

August 25, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Want to learn more about the 3D printer and see how it works, or have you been wanting to get your hands on using it.  Come down and take the 3D printer certification on any of the following dates, and have instant access to the most talked about toy in the new Digital Innovation Hub.


We posted on the Toronto Public Library website a couple of dates for the month of September and wanted our readers to be the first to hear about it.  Sign up quickly as tickets go fast.

In the session, you'll get a better understanding of how to use the printers and the software that accompanies it. 

* How to prepare a 3D design file for print
* How to use the equipment properly and safely
* Reviewing the rules and guidelines to using the 3D printer

Customers must complete this 3D printer certification before they can use the 3D printer independently.

The dates are below:
Saturday, September 6th (10 a.m. - 11 a.m.)
Tuesday, September 9th (2 p.m. - 3 p.m.)
Tuesday, September 23rd (2 p.m. - 3 p.m.)

Be sure to keep an eye out as we will be hoping to add more dates in the future.

Hope to see you there!!

3D Certifications for August

August 19, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

We hope everyone's summer is going well. Just a quick note that the Toronto Reference Library's Digital Innovation Hub will be back hosting some new 3D Printer Certifications. 

The hub will be offering certifications on a regular basis starting next month and we'll post them online sometime next week. But as a thank you for your patience and to get the ball rolling a bit faster we added two new sessions for this month.

Sign up as fast as you can, and keep your eyes peeled for the later dates next week.

Get your free tickets to the sessions below:

August 23rd, 3-4 p.m.

August 27th, 6-7 p.m.

Until then,

Learning Code

June 25, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

If you ever wanted to try your hand at learning something new, certainly Coding can be a great place to start.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to increase your skills and the possibilities.  A major incentive would hopefully to start a new career, or help out with a game or app that you’ve always wanted to create.


Coding is not the easiest thing to do, but like anything you are trying for the first time, if you put in some time and effort, it can be very rewarding.  One website that is trying to do its best and encourage you to try coding for at least an hour before you make a permanent decision on it is:  In fact they’ve created an amazing video with some pretty successful people to help try and convince you. 

On the website you’ll find some encouraging videos and tutorials, all of them showcasing a different type of code and at different levels.  Exercises that really help your skills evolve and that are relevant with what’s going on in the world of computer and electronics today.  Below you see a list of just some of the great exercise available at your fingertips. 

Build your first computer program

Learn the basic concepts of Computer Science with drag and drop programming. This is a game-like, self-directed tutorial starring video lectures by Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies. Learn repeat-loops, conditionals, and basic algorithms. Available in 34 languages.

Introduction to JavaScript

Learn the basics of JavaScript programming while creating fun drawings with your code. Do it on your own or with your class!


Learning Python

Choose from 3 activities designed to give you your first experience programming. For example, use the programming language Python to build a chatbot called "Eliza". Can she fool your friends into think she's a human not a computer? This can be done in either a student-guided or teacher-facilitated form and comes with all notes and solutions.


Create an iPhone game in an hour

Tried programming already, if so learn to develop an iPhone game in an hour! Guides to help you through the process will get you on your way to coding, testing and playing your game.  After you’ve finished it, share your game with friends and family via Facebook. 


Develop and build your knowledge quickly with guides and the best part is, you can do all of this in the browser window.  No software download required.  Login and create an account to take advantage of greater lesson plans and get up to date news.

After checking out a few of these lessons, don’t forget to come in and take advantage of the Raspberry Pi and Arduino kits we have available in the Hub.  Those kits are a great tool to help strengthen that knowledge and take you to higher levels.  In addition, try some app or game development on our driverless PC.

Have fun!!

New Audio Classes

June 19, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

If you've ever wanted to experiment with sound editing and creating wonderful sound art or music compositions, be sure to check out the latest class the Digital Innovation Hub has to offer.

Create Your Own Sound Art is a workshop taught by musician and artist Barry Prophet.  In the session you'll get familiar with the open source sound edting program called Audacity.  The lesson is a hands-on workshop that will give you all the tools you'll need to create on your own.  Explore channels, effects, and other common used tools while also playing with a multi-track sound project.


For anyone hearing about Audacity for the very first time be sure to check out this blog post I did from 2012.  The program is essentially used for audio recording along with sound editing and adding adjustments such as removing noise or distortion, changing the pitch and tempo of the files with built plug-ins and effect tools that make the process a little bit easier.


Have fun!!

Library is Hiring Filmmaker for Residency

June 16, 2014 | Ab. Velasco | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Toronto Public Library is hiring a filmmaker for a unique and fun job: our Fall 2014 Innovator in Residence.
The six-week residency will take place October 20 to November 30 at the Digital Innovation Hub at Toronto Reference Library.
The recently-opened Hub is a learning and creation space that gives anyone with a library card access to a wide range of digital tech, including: Mac computers, laptops and tablets; HD cameras; a green screen; and video editing software, like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere and iMovie.
The Innovator in Residence's job will include the following tasks:
* Meet with customers to critique and answer questions about their video projects
* Create and offer film-related programs and workshops for the public
* Post on the Digital Design and Technology Blog (this blog)
See the job posting (PDF) for full details - including info on how to apply. Deadline to apply is Monday, June 30.
The Innovator in Residence program takes place twice a year at the Digital Innovation Hub. Each residency focuses on a different aspect of the technology offered through the Hub. The first residency in Spring 2014 focused on 3D printing.
Please help us spread the word to those you think would be interested and who would make a great candidate!

June 3D Printer Certification Classes

May 29, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

I just wanted everyone to know that we just posted some new dates for the 3D Printer Certification classes for the month of June.  Be sure to sign up as fast as you can.


The dates and times can be found by clicking here.

If you try and get a ticket and it asks you to be put on a waiting list, that does mean the class is full and it is possible a ticket could get released to you after the fact if and only if customers who have successfully registered cancel their spot.

Thanks for all the interest in the programs and we'll try to provide as many dates as we can in the near future.  Continue to check this blog for information about new classes, interesting news and more.


3D Printer Certification Classes this Saturday

May 28, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

Just a quck note to let you all know that we have added three additional 3D Printer Certification classes for this upcoming Saturday.  Be sure to book for any of the three time slots by clicking below on any of these links.

Saturday May 31st at 9:30 a.m.

Saturday May 31st at 11:00 a.m.

Saturday May 31st at 3:30 p.m.

Sessions will be about 45-60 minutes in length and is required if you want to print on one of the 3D printers in the Digital Innovation Hub.

Also be on the lookout in the next day or two as we'll be posting the dates for June shortly.

Hope to see you then.

3D Print A TCAF-Inspired Souvenir

May 5, 2014 | Ab. Velasco | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

The 2014 Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) will welcome an exciting lineup of artists and illustrators from around the world to the Toronto Reference Library on Saturday May 10 and Sunday May 11.

The Digital Innovation Hub at the Reference Library has partnered with TCAF on a fun 3D printing project.

Starting on Friday, May 9, you can download three different 3D objects from the Hub's Thingiverse page that are based on this year's TCAF poster (see above) by award-winning Canadian illustrator Michael DeForge.

You can then print these files using the Hub's 3D printer.

The 3D objects were created by Digital Innovation Hub staff member Alex Dimitrov (pictured below) - with permission from and thanks to TCAF and Michael DeForge. Thanks also to Nicolas Di Lollo for suggesting this project idea.


Check out a photo gallery below of the three 3D objects that you can 3D print. Each image shows a screenshot of the 3D design file on the left; and on the right, the resulting 3D print is shown juxtaposed against the portion of the TCAF poster that it was inspired from.


Download the 3D object above.


Download the 3D object above.


Download the 3D object above.

Arduino Classes: Electronics and Computer Programming 101

April 17, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

We’re excited to announce a brand new program that’s definitely going to take things to a whole new level in the Digital Innovation Hub.  If you ever wanted to try your hand at computer programming and electronics, then the new Arduino classes are for you.  


For those of you who have never used or heard of the Arduino, it’s in fact a single-board microcontroller, intended to make the application of interactive objects or environments more accessible.  It’s an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. 

Image courtesy of

Arduino can connect and receive inputs from a variety of sensors and can control lights, motors, and other actuators. The microcontroller on the board is programmed using the Arduino programming language (Open Source) and can communicate as a stand-alone device, or connect and run along with a computer or other Arduino boards.

Image courtesy of

The software can be downloaded for free, directly on the Arduino website, as well as interactive scripts to get you started.   Those scripts are meant to be a starting point, a template to push your project off the ground, but also a bunch of intermediate and advanced scripts are available, use them and adapt them as needed.

Some great projects using an Arduino could be LED light displays, garage door opener, home security system, clock, thermostat, and robotics to name a few.  Some amazing project ideas that have been shared online are available in the links below:

10 Amazing Projects
Arduino Playground

Cool video showing a Christmas Lights display using an Arduino.

The hardware consists of an open-source hardware board designed around an 8-bit Atmel AVR microcontroller, or a 32-bit Atmel ARM. Current models feature an USB interface, 6 analog input pins, as well as 14 digital I/O pins which allow to attach various extension boards.

The current prices of Arduino boards run around $30, and are available with a variety of introductory accessories to get you started.  The Arduino boards along with the do-it-yourself kits are a great way to get introduced to this wonderful technology, but are priced a higher.


As with some of the programs available through the  Digital Innovation Hub, we’re offering the Arduno programming classes in two parts and have partnered up with HackLab’s very own Eric Boyd to conduct these workshops.  This program is for those who know nothing about Arduino, micro-controllers and electronics and want to learn. A laptop and Arduino kit is provided for use during this workshop.  Program descriptions are below:

Arduino Part 1: Intro for Total Beginners.  Here is where you’ll learn the basics and how to use an Arduino micro-controller.

Students will learn how to:
* Make an LED blink at various speeds
* Use a button to turn LED on and off
* Use a light sensor to control brightness of an LED
* Construct various small circuits on the breadboard

Students will also learn about:
* The basics of electronics (e.g. voltage, current, resistance, ohms law)
* Basic Arduino functions: digitalWrite, digitalRead, analogWrite, analogRead, delay(),
* Programming structures: variables, functions, for loop, if/else structure

Arduino Part 2: Beginners Projects.  Learn how to use an Arduino micro-controller to create a small interactive Arduino project.

Prerequisite: This workshop is suitable for those who are comfortable with the material covered in our "Arduino Part 1: Intro for Total Beginners" program and for those who have knowledge of basic Arduino breadboarding and the four basic Arduino functions.

Students will:
- Create "rave party" code for LED, which will change color based on pot and button

Students will learn about:
- Serial data transmission
- Advanced breadboarding techniques
- Use of variables
- Map() function
- Millis() timer
- Use of battery, stand-alone operation of Arduino

Click here for a list of the dates and times.

Online registration is required for these workshops. Space is limited. To reserve a ticket, click on the link below. Registration for the May sessions is available starting next Thursday April 24 at 9am.

I had the opportunity a while back to take the class for a staff training exercise and was amazed at how much fun and easy it was.  It’s intimidating to think about the code and all the steps that are needed, but Eric does a great job at easing you in.  They’ll be times when you feel a little lost, but pack your patience and you’ll be fine.  Below is a picture of my little creation at an earlier stage, before I added a sensor, additional lights and other components.


Have fun!!

3D Certification Sessions for May

April 16, 2014 | Greg Astill | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Just wanted to post a quick message to let everyone know that a new batch of the 3D Printer Certification classes just got posted for the Month of May.

Be sure to sign up as soon as possible and we look forward to seeing you there.

Here's a link to get to the page much faster.

Also I wanted to let everyone know that we picked up a new colour of PLA filament just this past week.  Come on down and try it out.  It especially looks great in the dark. 


Let us know what colours you might like to see.


Welcome to the Digital Design & Technology Blog. Our bloggers post about topics like digital photography, audio and video creation, scanning, graphic and 3D design and printing as well as other emerging digital tech trends. We also take you behind the scenes of science, technology and “maker” programs offered at the library.

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