HCPL is where you can make things happen!
HCPL's Maker Central is dedicated to the ideas that the tools that drive 21st-century innovation and invention should be accessible to all, and that the imagination and the urge to create are the strongest motivations for learning new skills.
We currently have nine maker labs and one digital media lab in operation with plans to open new maker labs in other regions of the county to make the maker experience available to a wider range of Harris County residents.
Go to Create @ HCPL for more ways to make at HCPL.
Check out Maker Mondays! A family-friendly online craft and coding series from HCPL's Maker Central Team! Follow us @HarrisCountyPL
Maker Monday #28: Create a Custom Trophy with Thingiverse
Maker Monday #27: Groovy 1960's Art
Maker Monday #26: Learn to Build a Neural Network!
Maker Monday #25: Make custom-printed bags using utensils!
Maker Monday #24: Create a Yarn Bowl
Maker Monday #23: Build a Parallel Processing Machine
Maker Monday #22: Upcycled CD Fish
Maker Monday #21: How to Draw Perfect Circles with Pi
Maker Monday #20: Make Your Own Backpack Badges
Maker Monday #19: Build a House in Tinkercad
Maker Monday #18: Learn How to Use Photopea.com
Maker Monday #17: Crafty Catapult
Maker Monday #16: How to Make a Lithophane
Maker Monday #15: Create a Google Doodle
Maker Monday #14: Using Canva Templates
Maker Monday #13: Make a Logo in Inkscape
Maker Monday #12: Wrapping Paper
Maker Monday #11: Cricut Circuit Tree
Maker Monday #10: Salt Dough Ornaments
Maker Monday #9: Snowy Sensory Bottles
Maker Monday #8: Let's Make Gratitude Pie!
Maker Monday #7: How to Make Corn Husk Dolls
Maker Monday #6: Diwali Paper Diyas
Maker Monday #5: Animate Your Name with Scratch
Maker Monday #4: Build a LEGO Pumpkin with TinkerCad
Maker Monday #3: Paper Marigolds for Día de los Muertos
Maker Monday #2: Scratch Art Paper
Maker Monday #1: Spooky Stamps
New videos every other Friday at 6:30 PM.
STEM PJ Story Time #15: Dinosaur Woods by George McClements
Read by Anne-Elisabeth Baker, of Precious Plastic UH. Anne-Elisabeth shows us how to recycle plastic scraps!
STEM PJ Story Time #14: Harlem Grown by Tony Hillery
Read by Dr. Bandana Chawla, of Lifestyle Docs Clinic. Dr. Chawla helps us learn more about nutrition and healthy eating.
STEM PJ Story Time #13: I Am Peace by Susan Verde
Read by Dr. Munish Chawla, of Peaceful Planet Foundation. Dr. Chawla helps us learn more about mindfulness.
STEM PJ Story Time #12: Bloom Boom! By April Pulley Sayre
Read by Natalie Rodgers, of Houston Center for Photography. Natalie shares a look inside HCP and photography inspiration.
STEM PJ Story Time #11: I Don’t Draw, I Color! by Adam Lehrhaupt
Ready by Sneha Bhavsar, who shares her experience of being a professional artist with us!
STEM PJ Story Time #10: Father’s Chinese Opera by Rich Lo
Read by Claire Williamson, Director of Education & Community Engagement at Society for the Performing Arts.
STEM PJ Story Time #9: Chicken In Space by Adam Lehrhaupt
Read by Jennifer Thompson, electrical engineer at Boeing. Jennifer and her team in Houston support the International Space Station.
STEM PJ Story Time #8: Love By Sophia, written by Jim Averbeck
Read by Elizabeth Roath Garcia, Manager of Studio and Gallery Programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
STEM PJ Story Time #7: Lights! Camera! Alice!: The Thrilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker by Mara Rockliff
Read by two-time regional Emmy winner Jerod Couch. Jerod and his work have been featured in ESPN, USA Today, Sports Illustrated, and more. Visit his website at CreativeCouch.
STEM PJ Story Time #6: Invent-A-Pet by Vicki Fang
Read by Israel Garza of HCC’s IDEAStudio on the West Houston Institute campus
STEM PJ Story Time #5: Rosie Revere Engineer by Andrea Beaty
Read by Bryan, a robotics engineer for NASA space projects as well as vice president for Creatorspace which is a non-profit in Clear Lake. His favorite thing to do is share the joys of hands-on STEAM with the community.
STEM PJ Story Time #5: Rosa Pionera, Ingeniera por Andrea Beaty
Este cuento lo lee Estefannie - una ingeniera de software, diseñadora, inventora, oradora pública, así como escritora, productora y estrella del canal de YouTube "Estefannie Explains It All."
STEM PJ Story Time #4: Boxitects by Kim Smith
Read by Bernard Li, an engineering student at the University of Houston, lead technician at the M.D. Anderson Library, and founder of University Drone Pilots.
STEM PJ Story Time #3: What do you do with a problem? by Kobi Yamada
Read by Estefannie, a software engineer, designer, inventor, public speaker as well as writer, producer, and star of the YouTube channel “Estefannie Explains It All”
STEM PJ Story Time #2: Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beatie
Read by Israel Garza of HCC’s IDEAStudio, a makerspace at the West Houston Institute
STEM PJ Story Time #1: What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada
Read by Charlotte Craff of re:3D, a Houston-based giant 3D printing manufacturer
Make @ HCPL: What You Need to Know
- If you wish to use the library maker equipment, you must attend a free orientation class for each type of maker equipment you wish to use (3D printer, laser cutter, CNC mill machine, etc.).
- The orientation class covers the basic operation of the equipment, the tools and techniques needed to use it and HCPL’s maker policy regarding the equipment.
- When you have successfully completed an orientation class, you will earn a badge that entitles you to book time at any HCPL maker space that contains that equipment.
- Most maker equipment has age restrictions, see individual machines for more information
- For more complete information about individual maker equipment and user requirements, see Detailed Information links below
- Sign into your existing Maker Central account or sign up for a free account now. (If you registered for HCPL's Summer Reading Program, you may already have an account)
- Under the “Programs” tab, click on “Maker Central”.
- Click on the appropriate badge. For example, if you’ve taken the orientation class for the Full Spectrum Laser, then click on the Full Spectrum Laser badge.
- Staff will register your orientation completion in the Beanstack system within 2 business days.
- You will receive a confirmation email for receipt of your badge.
- After being badged you are able to click on the rewards tab and make a reservation.
- Fill out the Equipment Reservation Form and click “Submit”. You will receive an initial email confirming receipt of your request. Within one business day, you should receive an email confirming your request.
- Upon completion of the full orientation, you are able to earn additional model-specific machine badges. Utilize other machine models throughout the county by simply scheduling the machine at that branch. (Retaking the full orientation class is not required.)
- If you have any questions, please contact the branch library for assistance.
- Enjoy the perks of being a badged HCPL Maker!
HCPL currently offers 10 Maker locations. Learn more about how to get started being a Maker at HCPL
|Location||3D Printing||Laser Cutting||CNC Milling||Vinyl Cutting||Cricut||Sewing Machines||Digital Media Lab/Equipment|
HCPL Administrative Offices
|CC||Barbara Bush Branch Library|
|FM||Clear Lake City - County Freeman Branch Library|
|EV||Evelyn Meador Branch Library|
|BC||Katherine Tyra Branch Library @ Bear Creek|
|KW||Kingwood Branch Library|
|NC||North Channel Branch Library|
|TOM||Lone Star College - Tomball Community Library|
|MM||Maud Marks Branch Library|
|PW||Parker Williams Branch Library|
Maker Central Resources
3D printers build three-dimensional objects by laying down thin layers of a material, such as melted plastic, based on a computer-generated design. Make a prototype of your invention, a replacement part for a household gadget, a cosplay mask, or just about anything else you can think of.
- Makers who wish to use one of the library's 3D printers must attend a free orientation class (check the Events Calendar for dates and times) and earn a “3D Printing Badge” created on HCPL’s Maker Central site for the printer you wish to use. The orientation class covers the basic operation of 3D printers, the tools and techniques to create 3D models and HCPL’s 3D Printing Policy. After earning the badge, patrons may reserve time on the 3D printer to work on projects.
- The cost of printing is 10¢ per gram of the final part.
- Makers must be present to begin the print.
- Makers under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
For detailed information about 3D printing at HCPL, click here.
Laser cutters use focused light to cut or etch designs onto a variety of materials including wood, acrylic plastics, tile, stone and glass. The laser beam diameter is small and the computer-controlled positioning is very precise. Depending on the material used and the quality of the artwork, lasers are capable of cutting and etching very fine details.
- Makers who wish to use one of the library's laser cutters must attend a free orientation class (check Events for dates and times) and earn a “Laser Badge” created on HCPL’s Maker Central site. The orientation class covers the basic operation of laser cutters, the tools, and techniques to create your designs and HCPL’s Laser Cutting Policy. After earning the badge, patrons may reserve time on the laser cutter to work on projects.
- Use of the laser cutter is free, but you must provide own material to cut and/or etch.
- Makers must be present throughout the laser cutter job.
- Makers under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
For detailed information about laser cutting at HCPL, click here.
They are similar to a drill or router bit, is spun at very high speeds and moved to cut/carve the material to be machined. This is a subtractive process which starts with a block of solid material and material is removed to create the finished piece.
- Makers who wish to use a CNC mill must attend a free orientation class (check Events for dates and times) and earn a “CNC Desktop Mill” badge created on HCPL’s Maker Central site for the machine you wish to use. The orientation class covers the basic operation of the CNC mill, the tools, and techniques to create the design files and HCPL’s CNC Desktop Mill Policy. After earning the badge, patrons may reserve time on that machine.
- Patrons must be present to supervise the CNC mill job at all times.
- Use of the desktop CNC mill is free, but patrons must supply their own materials.
- Patrons under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
For detailed information on the CNC milling process, click here.
A vinyl cutter (sometimes called a vinyl plotter) is a computer-controlled plotting device with a blade instead of a pen. A design is created in a software program and then sent to the cutter where it precisely cuts adhesive vinyl along the paths laid out in the design. The finished product can then adhere to walls, windows, and other surfaces.
Makers who wish to use one of the library vinyl cutters must attend a free orientation class (check the Events Calendar for dates and times) and earn a “Vinyl Cutter Badge” created on HCPL’s Maker Central site for the vinyl cutter you wish to use. The orientation class covers the basic operation of vinyl cutters, the tools, and techniques to create the artwork files and HCPL’s Vinyl Cutter Policy. After earning the badge, patrons may reserve time on that vinyl cutter.
Use of the vinyl cutter is free, but you must supply the materials to be cut, transfer tape and application material
For detailed information on vinyl cutting at the library, click here.
Cricut machines are computer-controlled machines that can cut intricate line-art images with a fine blade. Cricuts are very precise machines that allow for accurate results whether the design is large or small. A variety of materials can be fed through and cut by the machines, such as vinyl, paper, fabric, and more. Heat Presses are also available at select locations and can be used to apply iron-on materials such as Heat Transfer Vinyl and Cricut infusible ink.
- Makers who wish to use one of the library's Cricut machines must attend a free orientation class (check Events for dates and times) and earn a “Cricut Badge” created on HCPL’s Maker Central site. The orientation class covers the basic operation of Cricuts, the tools, and techniques to create your designs and HCPL’s Cricut Policy. After earning the badge, patrons may reserve time on the Cricut to work on projects.
- Use of the Cricut is free, but you must provide own material to cut and/or etch.
- Makers must be present throughout the Cricuttttt job.
- Makers under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
For detailed information about Cricut machines at HCPL, click here.
The Innovation Lab is a place for people of all ages to learn, share resources, work on projects and network with other creative minds.
Classes are offered in the Innovation Lab free of charge to the community. From simple circuits and machine design to computer programming, classes are available for all ages, with an emphasis on hands-on and cooperative learning. A monthly schedule of classes is available at www.hcpl.net.
Featured Tools & Software
- 3D Gigabot 3D Printer
- MakerBot Replicator 2 3D Printer
- Ultimaker 3 3D Printer
- Full Spectrum 40W CO2 Laser Cutter/Etcher
- Desktop CNC
- Signet Dual-Channel Oscilloscope
- Variable DC Power Supplies
- Dremel Rotary Tool Workstation
- Soldering Stations
- Arduino-compatible development kits
- Raspberry Pi development kits
- Autodesk Product Design Suite
- Adobe Creative Suite
- Simplify 3D
The Jocelyn H. Lee Digital Media Lab offers library patrons the opportunity to create and edit audio, music, images, and videos, or to convert old video and audio formats to digital.
Visit library staff upstairs to find out how you can register for orientation or reserve this exciting creative space.
Featured Tools & Software
- Two 27” iMac computers
- Graphics drawing tablet
- Professional microphone
- Professional headphones
- MIDI controller
- LP/cassette/CD converter
- DSLR camera with video
- Green screen
- VHS/DVD converter
- Adobe Creative Cloud Suite
- Elgato Video Capture
- 8mm/Super 8 Digital Converter