3D Printing: Parts and Products Made Faster, Better, More Cost-effective

3D Printing and manufacturing training at MIDAS

Parts and products created through 3D printing are easy to make, highly accurate, and extremely strong.

And, it’s ideal for product manufacturing, rapid prototyping, and mechanical testing. 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, has now become the go-to for those individuals and companies looking to accelerate their product development; creating prototypes quicker, easier, and more cost-effectively than ever before.

Put simply, 3D printing is the creation of a three dimensional solid object from a digital model.

With advances in materials and efficiency in additive manufacturing technologies, the opportunity to use 3D print processes for low-volume manufacturing is easily and inexpensively realized. A primary benefit is that parts can be developed as you need them (just-in-time production).

It may come as a surprise, but additive manufactured parts can be as strong as traditionally manufactured metal components. In fact, the porosity of an object made by a high-quality 3D printer can reach 99.5% density.

The digital printing of parts allows for changes to be made during production without seriously impacting costs, incurring delays, or tooling modifications.

Curious about how 3D printing can help propel your idea or product development? Register for a course at MIDAS or talk to us about membership!

How Does Additive Manufacturing Work?

The process begins with a 3D model. The model is scanned with a device such as the Creaform Handyscan 3D scanner and provides the foundation for the additive manufacturing processes.

In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the resulting item.

Additive manufacturing is the opposite of subtractive manufacturing which is the cutting or hollowing out of a piece of metal or plastic with, for instance, a milling machine.

3D printing enables you to produce complex shapes using less material than traditional manufacturing methods.

Applications of 3D Printing

Additive manufacturing technologies and materials are being used across sectors and in almost any industry you can think of.

A few examples:

  • clear aligners / braces in dentistry
  • eyewear
  • architectural scale models & maquettes
  • industrial research and development
  • prosthetics
  • movie props
  • design (lamps, furniture, toys, etc.)
  • reconstructing fossils in paleontology
  • replicating ancient artifacts in archaeology
  • reconstructing bones and body parts in forensic pathology
  • reconstructing damaged evidence retrieved from crime scenes

Rapid Prototyping & Rapid Manufacturing

Companies have used 3D printers in their design process to develop prototypes since the late seventies. Using 3D printers for these purposes is called rapid prototyping.

Why use 3D Printers for Rapid Prototyping?
In short: it’s fast and relatively cheap. From idea, to 3D model, to holding a prototype in your hands takes only a matter of days instead of weeks. Iterations are easier and cheaper to make and you no longer need expensive molds or tools.

Besides rapid prototyping, 3D printing is also used for rapid manufacturing. Rapid manufacturing is a new method of manufacturing where businesses use 3D printers for short run / small batch custom manufacturing.

Additive manufacturing provides competitive advantages, particularly when it comes to reducing vital time-to-market. The ability to quickly produce a working, or final, iteration cheaply and more efficiently provides a range of valuable savings as you advance your product commercialization.

Curious about how 3D printing can help propel your idea or product development? Register for a course at MIDAS or talk to us about membership!

FREE Webinars: Legal Insights for Business Owners

Get your legalities right, the first time

The Women’s Enterprise Centre is a non-profit organization devoted to helping BC women launch, lead and scale their own businesses. The organization’s full range of services includes business loans, skills training, advisory services, mentors, resources and a supportive community to help women business owners gain the skills, mindset, financing, and networks they need to realize their business potential.

Their training participants, over 35,000 to date, attribute half of their increased revenues directly to their training, and their business loans have helped generate over $1.95 billion in economic activity and have created or maintained over 3,100 jobs in BC.

This summer, take advantage of this series of valuable and FREE legal webinars!

Women’s Enterprise Centre is excited to partner with Driven by Women™, an initiative of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG), to offer a series of free legal webinars this summer! 

Open to women and men, these interactive webinars are facilitated by associates of BLG and will give you a better understanding of key legal considerations for your business.

July 17, 10am to 11am
Raising Capital 101

Learn about the different types of financing, their risks and benefits.

We’ll discuss the type of legal documents you’ll need, how you can structure your business to increase your chances of raising capital and programs and tax credits available to businesses.



August 14, 10am to 11am
Commercial Leasing Basics

All leases are not created equal!

Get an overview of leasing and the pitfalls to watch our for as a tenant. We’ll discuss leasing structures, key provisions and a few tools to negotiate the best lease for your business.



September 18, 10am to 11am
Letters of Intent and Confidentiality Agreements

Understand the context, timing and scope of these two tools to ensure the best outcome for your business as you conduct key commercial transactions like licensing and distribution.



You may also be interested in…
June 20, 10am to 11am
Mentor Advisory Forum: Using Mediation to Solve Business Challenges

There are times when you should hire a lawyer, but other times solving the problem with mediation can be equally as effective, less expensive and quicker. Join us to discuss mediation can be used to resolve some business conflicts.

Panelist: Ashley Syer, Lawyer and Mediator, Syer Law


See how you can get personalized support at womensenterprise.ca.

6 Ways to Develop the Maker Spirit in Your Child

MIDAS How to Make your child a Maker

Sure, the maker spirit is alive and well at a makers space such as MIDAS, but how do you encourage it in your child in this modern, device-driven age? We’ve got a few suggestions.

Humans are, by their very nature, makers. Tinkering, building, disassembling, inventing, innovating. These are not only the touchstones of what has become known as the Maker Movement but human evolution, for the most part.

Today, these fundamentals of making are being encouraged and nurtured very specifically, particularly when it means inspiring our kids off of the screens and devices that have become ubiquitous with modern human experience.

The Maker Movement, or what is this emerging social exercise promoting a creative, artisan, innovative spirit, encourages children and adults alike to explore their world through curiosity, discovery, and a hands-on approach to learning.

The maker spirit thrives at MIDAS where we believe that Making is about helping people realize that they have the ability to solve problems and explore options and alternatives as they create something new and potentially innovative, even disruptive. We believe that Making is great for everyone, no matter their age, to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills – by following their curiosity, exploring the things they love!

Here are a few suggestions for nurturing the Maker in your child from our in-house Maker expert:

  1. Start with their interests and passions
    Interests can be so diverse: music, fashion, fishing, race cars, motorcycles, video games, and so much more. It doesn’t matter; a maker spirit begins with whatever sparks your child’s imagination and curiosity. As long as it’s something they love, chances are they’ll be keen to learn more about it, including how it’s made and how it works. “It’s important to identify a child’s interests – their passion – and provide related activities,” according to MIDAS Fab Lab Director, Brad Pommen.
  2. Encourage curiosity about how things work
    Everyone has some old electronics or appliances lying around which are wonderfully appealing for taking apart and exploring what’s inside. Curiosity and a willingness to ask questions are key. “It’s fun to see how things work and think about ways to make them better,” Pommen encourages.
  3. Build something new
    It can be as simple as Legos or cardboard, writing a computer program using Scratch, or using a sewing machine and craft materials to make a Halloween costume. Let the child’s interests guide, but it’s certainly OK to help inspire based on upcoming events, holidays, or merely to expose them to something out of the ordinary.
  4. Failure is your friend
    Failure can be hard for all of us to get our heads around but can be doubly so for youngsters. However, as any successful innovator or disruptor will tell you, invention and innovation are founded on trial and error – mostly error! Brad understands that failure is a natural and inevitable part of the creative process, “Celebrating failure is fundamental to what we do here at MIDAS!”  Accepting and embracing failure is an integral part of the design process and helps to create an environment where aspiring makers understand that failure is actually a safe place where they can learn valuable lessons from their mistakes, and feel more confident taking risks.
  5. Find a community
    In addition to failure as a Maker fundamental, collaboration and sharing ideas are integral to the Maker experience. In order to continue learning, it’s important to help your child connect with others who share their interests. Your school may offer a robotics club or Makerspace and encourage them to attend local Maker camps. There are online communities and resources as well such as websites like Make Magazine, Instructables.com, and DIY.org. For the real go-getters, encourage them to initiate their own groups or clubs to help foster and develop their Maker spirit!
  6. Participate in a fun maker event
    A wonderful way to motivate the Maker in your child is to encourage them to participate in local or online competitions or events. Like clubs or groups, fun events such as the Kootenay Contraption Contest or the Selkirk GLOWS RobotGames, are founded on the principles of collaboration and sharing. Fab Lab Director and RobotGames founder, Brad Pommen understands the positive and inspiring impact these events can have on children’s competency and learning even beyond the event itself, “Learning how to build, program and compete a robot (in RobotGames) combines programming technologies,” Pommen added. “Robotics introduces logic; engineering speaks to the design aspects;and maker is putting the whole physical package together…”

Ultimately, Making is just a terrific way for young people to explore their creativity and imagination. More than that, it’s a great way for parents to enjoy fun, quality time with their child, learning and creating.


Young Entrepreneurs Program

Trail BC Young Entrepreneurs program

Junior Achievement BC & Austin Engineering present… the Young Entrepreneurs Program with Mary Austin in Trail, BC.

Junior Achievement is a nonprofit dedicated to educating youth in business, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. We are excited to launch a series of 6 (free) workshops for local youth age 9-12 that will help inspire and educate Trail’s leaders of tomorrow.

This interactive, after-school program facilitated by Mary Austin (and guest speakers) will provide basic business concepts and help identify the key success factors needed to turn personal and team performance into profit. Through this program, local youth will be inspired and equipped with the skills to bring their entrepreneurial ideas to life.

Where: Midas Fab Lab, Trail, BC

When: Wednesdays from 4:00 – 5:00 PM, February 6 – March 13, 2019

Ages: 9-12

Cost: Free

For more information or to register your child, please contact Alanna Tynan at alanna.tynan@jabc.org

A Great Combination: Trail Smoke Eaters and MIDAS!

Tracy Connery Photography - MadeatMIDAS Trail Smoke Eaters

We support our local Smoke Eaters! Hockey and makers go together like glue on wood, a solder iron on metal, skates on ice!

As a proud supporter of the Trail Smoke Eaters Hockey team, KAST has donated 10 MIDAS Fab Lab gift certificates. Lucky winners receive a choice of Laser Cutter or 3D Printer Course, where they can learn, be inspired, and enjoy the opportunity to work with the best in the biz – the MIDAS Fab Lab team!

So, check out the game schedule and make sure you come on out and enjoy a fun-filled, action-packed hockey night andhave a chance to win some wonderful prizes!

If you’d like to know more about the possibilities – so many! – available here at MIDAS, please click HERE.

Still curious? Join us for our MIDAS Public Tours, every Thursday evening at 6:00 pm.

Check out the range of courses and training on offer at MIDAS (2019 schedule currently in the works – lots to come!)

Go Smoke Eaters!

Fun Friday: Activities to Inspire Your Kids to be Makers!

We have come to that special time of year referred to as the November Doldrums: the weather has turned gloomy, Daylight Savings has kicked in and it’s dark by supper time, the colour of vibrant of autumn has blown from the trees, and we’re still a ways off from the merriment of Christmas… or, perhaps worse, anticipating the rash of spending the Season inevitably brings!

Well, turn that late fall frown upside down, people, as we’ve come across a wonderful way to beat the November blues: making makers! There’s no better time of year to inspire the maker in just about anyone than during this autumn dead zone.

Here are some great ideas to help take a bit of blah out of the dreariness of after school:

Building with Cardboard

Cardboard box building

There’s really nothing that invites the imagination of a child like a simple cardboard box. Go with it! Cars, costumes, houses, you name it, cardboard can become it. Perfect for inspiring your little makers!

Stop Motion Video

Super easy and, thanks to modern technology, you don’t need much more than a smartphone or device with a camera and the appropriate mobile app – there are plenty of filmmaking apps out there as a simple Google search will attest.  You may want to get your hands on a tripod, too, to make this fun project just that much easier. If you can’t get a tripod, simply setup some support for the device that will allow for hand-free.

Break out the toys: blocks, legos and lego characters, action figures, Barbies. Let your imagination go wild!

Here’s an example that is probably a little ambitious – aspirational, shall we say!

For beginners:

Electronics! Projects we advocate for as often as we can involve supplying power to make things work.

Kids into Mighty Makers

How about an easy-peasy DIY flashlight to dip your child’s toe into the world of electronic gadgetry? With simple AA batteries, a piece of aluminum foil, some duct tape, a mini light bulb, and a paper roll to house everything, this project couldn’t be easier! You can find the complete instruction HERE!

easy DIY flashlight

Take something apart!

inspire your young makers

Making doesn’t always have to be about putting something together – no way! It can also be about the exploration and investigation involved in taking something apart. Super fun with a ton of learning moments, particularly if the end-game is to put it back together – also strongly encouraged!

Here are some ideas of things that can be disassembled:

  • A broken motorized or battery-operated toy. It’s a fun and educational exercise to see if, once the motor has been removed, if it can be reassembled and made to work!
  • An old smartphone – so interesting to see what’s behind the magic!
  • An old landline – explore the roots of our modern devices.
  • An old computer hard drive. For older kids, a great way to see what components are involved and maybe even what can be done to bring it back to life!

Computer Programming

making young makers - computer programming

We assume such technical proficiency in our kids. The reality is, they are actually masters at consuming technology, not necessarily what goes on to make it happen. More of us have to encourage our kids, who spend an awful lot of time on computer to use that time a little differently – make something!

Kids of all ages can get to learn the programming that goes into the computer games and activities they enjoy.

Scratch, a free programming language and online community where kids (or any programming beginners) can create interactive stories, games, and animations, is a fantastic introduction into the world of code and computer programming.

MIDAS – Leading the Regional Maker Community

MIDAS Fab Lab is an integral leader in the Maker culture and community in the region: industry, startups, creatives, students – everyone welcome!

#madeatMIDAS MIDAS Fab Lab

If you’re looking for inspiration with regards to your existing business, the innovative idea you’ve been nurturing, or simply about the future of technology and innovation in the region and beyond, spend a couple of hours here in the MIDAS Fab Lab.

Step inside the doors and you’ll be welcomed by our exceptional team, either exuberant Fab Lab Director – “Mr. Technology” – and innovative entrepreneur in his own right, Brad Pommen or the more reserved but no less enthusiastic or inspiring MIDAS Lab Assistant, Shawn Curran, or both.

State-of-the-art Inspiration, Learning, Fabrication


The MIDAS (Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration Studies) Fabrication Lab is a multimillion-dollar technology hub offering our members the education, training, and skills required to operate advanced fabrication and manufacturing equipment such as 3D scanners and printers, laser cutters and CNC milling equipment.

The resources at MIDAS – skilled and knowledgeable team, courses, half a million dollars in state-of-the-art equipment – are available to aspiring and advanced learners and makers of all levels of expertise.

Every day creative innovators throughout the region explore the range of rapid prototyping and fabrication possibilities at MIDAS to advance their own aspirations and goals to expand their business and develop new products and services. Without MIDAS Fab Lab the limitations of developing new innovations and products could be so labour, time, and costs prohibitive as to stop an idea in its tracks.

Turning Ideas into Gold! Take Advantage of our Range of Exceptional Courses & Training to help Bring your Idea to Life!

MIDAS equipment is most often used for rapid prototyping and training in additive manufacturing, building 3D objects by adding layer upon layer of material, such as plastic, metal, wood, and even concrete. 

Our users are able to quickly create a 3D model of an item (using a remarkable 3D scanning device) to create, in some cases, industrial grade prototypes – mechanical parts, for instance – using 3D computer-aided design and a 3D printer.

It doesn’t end with 3D printing, however. Electronics, circuit construction, CNC machines, moulding, casting, metalwork and woodwork are also available.

Since the inception of our MIT-certified Fabrication Lab in the fall of 2016, over 1,000 people from all walks of life, from laymen to startups to industry, have been introduced to not only the potential of MIDAS but their own as well.

Curious and want to learn more? We host weekly tours Thursdays from 6-7pm. Join us!

#LearnCreateLaunch #madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake

Fun Friday! Fabtronic Sewing Kits

Fabtronic Sewing Set

Enter the world of e-textiles and wearables with Fabtronic Sewing Kits!

Custom reusable parts that allow you to make and remake as many times as you want! 

Electronic technology and wearables are becoming all the rage!

What began as watches and fitness trackers is evolving quickly to include e-fashion and e-textiles as well. Not only are they fun to wear, but they’re also a fun and creative activity while being a terrific way to get the basic foundation of electronics as well.

Smart Garments do what traditional fabrics cannot!

Electronic textiles, also known as smart garments, smart clothing, smart textiles, or smart fabrics, are fabrics that enable digital components such as a battery and a light (including small computers), and electronics to be embedded into them.

Smart textiles are fabrics that have been developed with new technologies that provide added value to the wearer. Pailes-Friedman of the Pratt Institute states that “what makes smart fabrics revolutionary is that they have the ability to do many things that traditional fabrics cannot, including communicate, transform, conduct energy and even grow”.

Smart textiles is typically broken into two categories: aesthetic and performance enhancing.

Aesthetic includes fabrics that light up and fabrics that can change colour. Some of these fabrics gather energy from the environment by harnessing vibrations, sound or heat, reacting to these inputs. The colour changing and lighting scheme can also work by embedding the fabric with electronics that can power it.

Performance enhancing smart textiles are intended for use in athletics, extreme sports and military applications. These include fabrics designed to regulate body temperature, reduce wind resistance, and control muscle vibration – all of which may improve athletic performance. 

If you’re just learning how to sew and want to learn a few basic electronics too, Fabtronic Sewing Kits are a really great way to get started.







3D Design & Printing with TinkerCad | September 7, 2018

3D Design & Printing with TinkerCad

From mind to design in minutes

Tinkercad is a free online collection of software tools that help people all over the world think, create and make. It’s the ideal introduction to Autodesk, the leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software.

You don’t need to know CAD to make and print awesome 3D models

Tinkercad is the largest community of 3D design and 3D printing enthusiasts of its kind!

Free, easy-to-use app for 3D design, electronics, and coding. It’s used by teachers, kids, hobbyists, and designers to imagine, design, and make anything!

Tinkercad is an easy, browser-based 3D design and modelling tool allowing users to imagine anything and then design it in minutes.

This course will give starting tools and tips in 3D Design with TinkerCad from Autodesk, a powerful but intuitive to learn design program.

You’ll also learn how to 3D Print these designs in this dual class! You’ll be printing your design on the Ultimaker 2 3D printer. It’s easy and reliable, designed for the best experience in 3D printing.   Engineered to perform, this 3D digital printing workhorse is efficient and super user-friendly; particularly useful for artists, engineers, makers and innovators looking for fast, high-quality prints in just about any size or material.


Fun Friday: Back-to-school Maker Edition!

Dedicated maker spaces in local schools

The brand new B.C. curriculum has Glenmerry students learning 21st century skills in applied technologies, such as coding and robotics, in their designated makerspace. Elsewhere in the Kootenay Columbia district, Fruitvale Elementary School also has a makerspace classroom that includes its own 3D printer.

As summer winds down we’re all starting to think about the getting ready for back-to-school and wondering where the heck summer went!

Yup, it went fast! But… let’s not get too bummed out.

There’s actually reason to be excited about going back. Thankfully, school isn’t simply about the three Rs anymore. Around the country, province, and regionally, we’re seeing the Maker Movement take hold, not just in our communities with the advent of more and more makerspaces, but in our schools.

Earlier this year, the new BC curriculum expanded to include not only learning in coding and robotics, but also designated maker spaces in the classroom.

These spaces encourage creative, education freedom. Makerspaces are now being recognized for their teaching potential, being integrated into K-12 schools and libraries. Makerspaces foster and drive the desire for young technology and hands-on DIY enthusiasts to take innovation into their own hands. When students are given the opportunity to work, hands-on, with a variety of materials, they learn by doing instead of merely listening or reading.

This approach provides a practical and far more memorable way of learning a new skill or subject matter. This experience not only allows the child to learn something new through their own problem-solving, but it’s also often far more rewarding.

Inspired by hacker culture, makerspaces provide creative learning and innovation opportunities made possible with a supply of equipment, materials and resources for making a range of projects, tech-oriented and otherwise, in any work space, classroom, or community centre.

In these settings, making can range from a digital media lab, supporting multimedia creation and 3-D printing to multidisciplinary inventing, combining mechanics and electronics with social studies and music. Taking it down a notch, it can also be a space to introduce simple engineering concepts through building projects with items such as popsicle sticks and legos. A makerspace doesn’t have to be complicated for the learning opportunities vast and varied.

Glenmerry and Fruitvale elementary schools designate makerspaces in the classroom

Early 2018 saw two local elementary schools embrace the Maker Movement, promoting a foundation in Applied Design, Skills and Technology, or ADST.

ADST basics can be introduced in Kindergarten and evolve with the child and their interests up through the elementary grades and amped up through high school.

Referring to the spaces as Open Source Lab, Glenmerry and Fruitvale elementary schools, in School District 20,  begin instruction as early as Grade 1.

“It is a class, like math, science and social studies,” explains Mike Page, a Grade 5 Glenmerry teacher. “The best part about this is cross-curricular, (meaning) we can teach math, science, art, music, anything, through our makerspace.”

These spaces will include introductions to coding, robotics, virtual and augmented reality, 3D design and 3D printing.

As an example of the range of maker eduction, the Grade 1 class joined Page’s students in a project that incorporated learning both outdoors as well as in.

“We went outside and looked at snowflakes,” he explained. “Then we read a book about how everyone is an individual just like every snowflake is individual or different, and then the grade one students drew a snowflake that resembled them.”

The Grade 5 class took each unique snowflake drawing, designed it three-dimensionally and then printed the 3D image for the younger students.

“That led to learning about science, surface texture, surface tension and so on,” said Page.

This education approach is identified as interdisciplinary or cross-curricular teaching, applying knowledge, principles and/or values to more than one academic discipline simultaneously.

“It’s their favourite part of the day,” said Page. “The students don’t know they are learning, and you’ll see these ‘aha’ moments … it’s about facing a challenge, not being able to do it, and saying ‘I can’ rather than ‘I can’t.’”

As a result, students learn “growth mindset,” or the belief that basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, ideally fostering a love of learning as well as resilience.

“It’s hard, kids fail everyday but then they learn and they grow and they get better, ” Page said. “And this is through something fun, you watch the kids struggle and fail, then improve.”

This is a fundamental to the makerspace experience: trial and error, hands-on learning, and success through a variety of failures!

MIDAS was happy to play a role this new local evolution in youth education.

“We would not be here without MIDAS,” said Page. “They are great at teaching teachers, and getting us engaged.”

An integral part of makerspace learning involves “STREAM,” a concept Page says they swiped from MIDAS Lab Director Brad Pommen.

It refers to Science, Technology, Robotics, Engineering, Artisan and Makers, Pommen explained.

“Students are disconnected from the origins of objects they use everyday, from iPhones to 3D printers, resources are difficult to navigate and find guidance,” he said.

“Having a base in my STREAM curriculum ultimately opens up their world and provides them confidence to build, learn and share their ideas.”

Concepts overlap and create linkages that facilitate education across all classroom subjects.

“Learning how to build, program and compete a robot (in RoboGames) combines programming technologies,” Pommen added. “Robotics introduces logic, engineering speaks to the design aspects, and maker is putting the whole physical package together, with 3D printing for example.”

This evolution in education, particularly at the primary level, is a great reason to get excited about the new school year. Hands-on, exploration, investigation, building, fabrication, coding rather than simply consuming – and yes, even the failures – are where the deep lessons and inspiration live.

What a great time to go back-to-school!