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HCPL is where you can make things happen!

HCPL's Maker Central is dedicated to the idea that the tools driving 21st-century innovation and invention should be accessible to all.  Imagination and the urge to create are the strongest motivations for learning new skills. 

We currently have ten maker labs and one digital media lab operating with plans to open additional maker labs throughout Harris County libraries.  These provisions assist in extending the maker experience to every community we serve.

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 Mondays!
A family-friendly online craft and coding series from HCPL's Maker Central Team!

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!

Printable Instructions: Make custom-printed bags using utensils!

Maker Monday #24: Create a Yarn Bowl

Printable Instructions: Create a Yarn Bowl

Maker Monday #23: Build a Parallel Processing Machine

Maker Monday #22: Upcycled CD Fish

Printable instruction: Upcycled CD Fish

Maker Monday #21: How to Draw Perfect Circles with Pi

Printable instructions: How to Draw Perfect Circles with Pi

Maker Monday #20: Make Your Own Backpack Badges

Printable Instructions: Make Your Own Backpack Badges

Maker Monday #19: Build a House in Tinkercad

Printable instructions: Build a House in Tinkercad

Maker Monday #18: Learn How to Use Photopea.com

Printable instructions: Learn How to Use Photopea.com

Maker Monday #17: Crafty Catapult

Printable instructions: Crafty Catapult

Maker Monday #16: How to Make a Lithophane

Printable instructions: How to Make a Lithophane

Maker Monday #15: Create a Google Doodle

Printable instructions: Create a Google Doodle

Maker Monday #14: Using Canva Templates

Printable instructions: Using Canva Templates

Maker Monday #13: Make a Logo in Inkscape

Printable instructions: Make a Logo in Inkscape

Maker Monday #12: Wrapping Paper

Printable instructions: Upcycled Wrapping Paper

Maker Monday #11: Cricut Circuit Tree

Printable instructions: Cricut Circuit Tree

Maker Monday #10: Salt Dough Ornaments

Printable Instructions: Salt Dough Ornaments

Maker Monday #9: Snowy Sensory Bottles

Printable Instructions: Snowy Sensory Bottles

Maker Monday #8: Let's Make Gratitude Pie!

Printable Instructions: Gratitude Pie

Maker Monday #7: How to Make Corn Husk Dolls

Printable Instructions: Corn Husk Dolls

Maker Monday #6: Diwali Paper Diyas

Printable Instructions: Diwali Paper Diyas

Maker Monday #5: Animate Your Name with Scratch

Printable Instructions: Animate Your Name with Scratch

Maker Monday #4: Build a LEGO Pumpkin with TinkerCad

Printable Instructions: Build a LEGO Pumpkin with TinkerCad

Maker Monday #3: Paper Marigolds for Día de los Muertos

Printable Instructions: Paper Marigolds for Día de los Muertos

Maker Monday #2: Scratch Art Paper

Printable Instructions: Scratch Art Paper

Maker Monday #1: Spooky Stamps

Printable Instructions; Spooky Stamps 

STEM Pajama Story Time
A bimonthly program for the whole family designed to spark the imagination and inspire creativity.
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

Free 3D Print File: "The Idea"

Make @ HCPL: What You Need to Know

Getting Started
Be a Maker! It's as easy as 1-2-3
  • 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

Beanstack Logo 2021

To get started, sign up for a free HCPL Maker Central account online or by downloading the free app for iOS or Android 

Using Maker Equipment
  • Sign into Beanstack to access your Maker Central Challenge account or sign up for a free Beanstack account now. (If you have registered for HCPL's Summer Reading Program, you may already have a Beanstack account. Make sure you are enrolled in the Maker Central Challenge as well.)  
  • Select the “Maker Central Challenge” on your main page.
  • Click the "Badges Tab" under the 'Be A Maker' logo.  Any grey machine badge has not been earned and may be selected to find an orientation for badging on the machine.
  • After attending a machine orientation, staff will register your 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 Maker Machine Use Policy

HCPL Maker Locations
Harris County Public Library currently has 10 Maker Locations open to the public, with more coming in 2022!

There are currently 10 Maker locations throughout HCPL. Become a Maker @ HCPL today!

Map of HCPL Maker Lab Locations

 

Maker Libraries and Equipment
  Location 3D Printing Laser Cutting CNC Milling Vinyl Cutting Cricut Sewing Machines Digital Media Lab/Equipment
ADM

HCPL Administrative Offices

Red Check Red Check Red Check Red Check Red Check    
CC Barbara Bush Branch Library Red Check       Red Check    
FM Clear Lake City - County Freeman Branch Library Red Check Red Check Red Check Red Check Red Check   Red Check
EV Evelyn Meador Branch Library Red Check Red Check       Red Check  
BC Katherine Tyra Branch Library @ Bear Creek Red Check            
KW Kingwood Branch Library Red Check Red Check       Red Check  
NC North Channel Branch Library Red Check       Red Check    
TOM Lone Star College - Tomball Community Library Red Check Red Check     Red Check Red Check Red Check
MM Maud Marks Branch Library Red Check Red Check     Red Check    
PW Parker Williams Branch Library Red Check Red Check Red Check   Red Check    

 

Maker Central Resources

3D Printing
From the practical to the fantastical, 3D printers let your imagination take shape!

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 Events for dates and times) and earn a “3D Printing Badge” created in HCPL’s Maker Central Challenge via Beanstack. 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, makers may reserve time to work on projects using the 3D printer. 
  • 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 Cutting
This cutting edge technology allows you to put your artwork, logo, and other designs on a variety of materials.

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 Cutter Badge” created in HCPL’s Maker Central Challenge via Beanstack. 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, makers may reserve time to work on projects using the Laser Cutter. 
  • Use of the laser cutter is free, but you must provide own material to cut and/or etch. (Material must be approved by HCPL staff)
  • 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.

Mill Machines
CNC mills are computer-controlled carving machines

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 in HCPL’s Maker Central Challenge via Beanstack.  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, makers may reserve time to work on a project using a CNC 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. (Material must be approved by HCPL staff)
  • Patrons under age 16 must be accompanied by an adult. 

For detailed information on the CNC milling process, click here.

Vinyl Cutter
Create then cut your designs on adhesive vinyl for t-shirts, window decals and more!

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 in HCPL’s Maker Central Challenge via Beanstack. 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, makers may reserve time to work on a project using a vinyl cutter. 

Use of the vinyl cutter is free, but makers 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
A Cricut is an electronic cutting machine that can cut all sorts of designs from materials like paper, vinyl, card stock iron-on transfers and much more!

Cricut machines are computer-controlled machines that can cut intricate line-art images with a fine blade. These very precise machines allow for accurate results whether the design is large or small. A variety of materials can be loaded into 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 in HCPL’s Maker Central Challenge via Beanstack. The orientation class covers the basic operation of Cricut machines, the tools, and introductory techniques to create your designs using the Cricut software along with reviewing HCPL’s Cricut Policy. After earning the badge, makers may reserve time to work on projects using a Cricut machine. 
  • Use of the Cricut is free, but makers must provide their own material to cut and/or etch. (Material must be approved by HCPL staff)
  • Makers must be present throughout the Cricut job.
  • Makers under 12 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

For detailed information about Cricut machines at HCPL, click here.

Innovation Lab
The Jocelyn H. Lee Innovation Lab is a free, community Makerspace at the Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library.

 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 Printers: Gigabot 3+ and Ultimaker 3
  • Dremel Digilab LC40 CO2 Laser Cutter/Engraver
  • Nomad 883 Pro Desktop CNC Mill
  • Dual Channel Oscilloscope
  • Variable DC Power Supply
  • Dremel Rotary Tool
  • Soldering Irons
  • Autodesk Fusion360
  • Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CS6
  • Vinyl Cutters: USCutter MH 871-MK2 and Cricut Maker 3
  • Heat Press

Book a time at the Innovation Lab

Digital Media Lab
Located on the 2nd floor of the Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library, this space is made for patrons to learn and Create

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 an 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
  • GarageBand
  • iPhoto
  • iMovie
  • Elgato Video Capture
  • 8mm/Super 8 Digital Converter

Maker Street Blog View HCPL Blog >

Last Saturday marked the end of the HCPL Summer Reading Program “Tails and Tales,” and it was one for the books!