In my Graphic Design Explore class we went to visit a printing resource center in Portland.
The Independent Publishing Resource Center is a place where anyone in the community can come and use the equipment for making prints/publications, with payment of a user fee. There are also workshops to help in learning how to do various printing methods, and for graphic design and bookbinding.
When we first came in, we saw a vending machine for "zines"-- it looks like there weren't any zines in it at the time, but it looks very unique and spiffy.
In this resource center for artists writers, and anyone else interested in using it, printing can happen in several different ways. There is a large area for letterpress -- type cases with many fonts, presses, and supplemental tools such as a "corner rounder" and stack cutter.
Here are some photos of the letterpress area.
Besides letter press equipment there was an area for making silk screens, and also an out-dated form of copy machine, a Risograph. The Risograph uses actual ink, not toner powder. So only one color can be used at a time, such as with silk screen.
Here is the silk screen area:
And to help with preparing projects, or to make prints using a photocopy machine, there are a few computers and a scanner available for use.
We were given a tour of the IPRC, including taking a look at their large library of "zines." Our tour guide explained all the opportunities at this resource center-- besides using equipment there is also education available for how to use these various printing methods.
The Independent Publishing Resource Center, in Southeast Portland, is open Tues through Thurs 12 pm - 9 pm and Friday through Sunday 12 pm to 6 pm. I think it is a great idea, to have a place where these graphic design tools can be accessed by community members at low cost, and training is available for how to use the printing methods. They are not as often used for art and desktop publishing as laser printing is, but using them could be just what is needed for a certain project.