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laser cutter

Plattsmouth library director Karen Mier shows designs etched on wood from a laser cutter.

PLATTSMOUTH – There will soon be an interesting way to show off a favorite picture, piece of artwork or a holiday scene. Words like ‘Welcome’ or ‘Love’ can be expressed in a distinctive new fashion.

All of this and more will be possible through the use of a laser cutter at the Plattsmouth Public Library.

“Its versatility in what it can do with something makes it so interesting,” said Karen Mier, director of the Plattsmouth Public Library.

Mier hopes to have a permanent laser cutter installed by the end of this month as fundraising effort for its purchase is nearing its goal, she said.

It can be used to etch pictures or sayings on wood, glass, ceramic tiles, and coasters; it’s even been used to etch on Legos and a brick, Mier said. It can also cut intricate designs from paper, she added.

Dozens of local people have already experienced it with positive results during a temporary period earlier this year, according to Mier.

“It is so versatile,” she said. “That is why it was so popular.”

Through a state grant program, many Nebraska libraries, including Plattsmouth, received different types of creative equipment like 3D cutters, heat presses, different forms of robotics and laser cutters to determine which were the most popular with the public. That way, libraries would avoid buying items that would end up being little used by the public.

During a three-month period, nearly 80 people signed up to receive training on one or more of the available items. The laser cutter was by far the most popular among that group, Mier said.

“They used it more than 100 hours total,” she said. “People had so much fun.”

Fundraising efforts began for a permanent cutter and accessories like filters, a computer and software, costing about $17,000. This week, the effort was given a boost when the Midlands Community Foundation of Papillion awarded a $3,000 grant to the cause.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” Mier said.

Donations have also arrived or will soon from the library’s foundation, the Friends of the Library, other organizations and individuals, she said.

“We are still doing a little (fundraising),” Mier said. “We are almost there.”

The finished pieces from a laser cutter can be used for business or personal reasons, she said.

“You can use it for gifts, for a business, use it for crafts that people may want to sell,” Mier said.

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