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!

Members Luncheon with Innovate BC and BC Innovation Commissioner

KAST and MIDAS luncheon

On June 20th MIDAS hosted member luncheon and discovery with Innovation BC and Innovation Commissioner, Alan Winter

For several hours yesterday, MIDAS had the honour of hosting B.C.’s first Innovation Commissioner, Alan Winter, Raghwa Gopal, president and CEO of Innovate BC, and several MIDAS commercial members for a luncheon promoting science, technology, and the range of exciting innovations born here in the Kootenays.

After a rousing welcome introducing the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST) and the organization’s, along with that of MIDAS, leadership in supporting technology and innovation throughout the region, MIDAS members shared their positive experiences in the Fab Lab.

Success stories abound out of the MIDAS Fab Lab!

A catalyst for the region’s tech sector, KAST and MIDAS help entrepreneurs start companies, find customers, and attract investment. Some of the extraordinary regional businesses in attendance shared the ways they’ve leveraged new technologies, taking advantage of the Lab’s rapid prototyping and fast-iteration capabilities.

MIDAS Fab Lab Innovate BC

In attendance to share their MIDAS success stories:

Interested in learning what a MIDAS Commercial Membership can do for your business? Contact us and set up a consultaiton.

Commercial Memberships at MIDAS

Leverage new technologies – get ahead of your competition! Commercial memberships at MIDAS are designed to support prototype and product commercialization for your business. 

MIDAS offers state-of-the-art technology tools and equipment you cannot access anywhere else in the region – we’re here to help your business grow and innovate!

With over $430,000 of the best digital fabrication equipment and access to industry-leading expertise developing new ideas and products has never been easier… or more cost-effective.

Our membership services are open to regional companies, including start-ups, with a focus on supporting prototype and product commercialization. A variety of businesses in the Kootenays have taken advantage of MIDAS commercial memberships to explore new innovations, conduct vital research and development to advance their own technologies, and to launch new ideas and products through our rapid prototyping and fast-iteration capabilities.

Innovative regional upstarts Austin Engineering, Environmental Engineers specializing in Hydro Electricity look to digital fabrication and CNC milling to provide for their in-house testing and research and development.

Advanced Biocarbon – ABC3D leveraged their membership at MIDAS to marry environmental sustainability and innovation with their carbon negative bioplastics. They’re creating 100% biodegradable, engineering grade plastics and carbon fibre – 3D printing filament derived from lignin, the natural glue-like fibres found inside of wood. 

#madeatMIDAS and I/O Design

I/O Design & Engineering look to cutting edge technology – Virtual and Augmented Reality – to provide their clients with reliable, accurate, and realistic modeling for a variety of applications. With the help of their MIDAS commercial membership and the expertise of MIDAS instructor, Jason Taylor, who spent almost 20 hours converting 3D designs to VR/AR to see if what the company had in mind was even possible, drew on various resources and did all the vital legwork to hand the team at I/O the ball so they could run with it!

Significant benefits to Commercial membership at MIDAS

MIDAS makes a commercial membership a win-win for everyone! Members explore and learn new technologies in order to help them get ahead of their competition; they enjoy customized and specific training alongside our expert staff based on their needs and desired outcomes; prototype development at any stage; bring product(s) to market faster and more cost-effectively than ever before.

  • Time to Prototype – coordinate your schedule with MIDAS and utilize the space on the days and times suited to your needs – at every stage of your business growth.
  • Prototype consulting – from customized training to side-by-side prototype development to contracted fabrication services.
  • Space to Expand – starting or expanding your business is expensive. Scale without scaling by using our 6500 sqft facility to expand without increasing your footprint.
  • Learning Centre – Need a space for design work, team meetings or events? Utilize our 1000 sqft Learning Centre setup with fibre broadband internet and Windows 10 workstations. Our computers are fully loaded with modern 2d and 3d design, engineering and CNC software packages for use by your company.
  • High speed “Fibre Broadband” – wireless internet access throughout our facility ensures you are connected globally to your clients and audience.

Interested in learning what a MIDAS Commercial Membership can do for your business? Contact us and set up a consultaiton.


A MIDAS Commercial Membership: Energize Your Business through Innovation and Rapid Prototyping

MIDAS Fab Lab Commercial Membership benefits

If you’re business is looking to innovate and create in order to boost the bottom line, look no further than a Commercial Membership here at MIDAS!

MIDAS membership services are open to regional companies, including start-ups, with a focus on supporting prototype and product commercialization. We provide all the modern technology your business needs to develop fast-iteration, short-run prototypes.

While the MIDAS Fab Lab is not intended for high volume production runs, we pride ourselves on offering the modern technology tools you cannot access anywhere else in the region – we’re here to help your business grow and innovate!

With over $430,000 of the best digital fabrication equipment, our industry-leading expertise gives you peace of mind.

Win – Win – Win

  • Embrace new technology – get ahead of your competition
  • Get customized training
  • Prototype development at any stage
  • Bring your product to market faster!

Commercial Membership benefits include:

  • Time to Prototype – coordinate your schedule with MIDAS and utilize the space on the days and times suited to your needs – at every stage of your business growth.
  • Prototype consulting – from customized training to side-by-side prototype development to contracted fabrication services.
  • Space to Expand – starting or expanding your business is expensive. Scale without scaling by using our 6500 sqft facility to expand without increasing your footprint.
  • Learning Centre – Need a space for design work, team meetings or events? Utilize our 1000 sqft Learning Centre setup with fibre broadband internet and Windows 10 workstations. Our computers are fully loaded with modern 2d and 3d design, engineering and CNC software packages for use by your company.
  • High speed “Fibre Broadband” – wireless internet access throughout our facility ensures you are connected globally to your clients and audience.

#madeatMIDAS: Regional examples of cutting edge innovations created here at MIDAS

Our equipment along with our expert team have helped several regional companies innovate and prototype to take their businesses to the next level. Read about these recent journeys in MIDAS innovation.

MIDAS Fab Lab Commercial Membership process and benefits

If you’re interested in more information regarding our Commercial Memberships, please click HERE for all the details, including payment, package, and investment info.

Are you an individual looking to explore the possibilities available at MIDAS? See our course calendar HERE. Check out what our Public Services might be able to do for you!

WEEKLY TOURS THURSDAYS FROM 6-7 PM

#madeatMIDAS: Pulse Labs Inc. ProFlex

Pulse Labs Pulse Proflex Kickstarter

Revelstoke’s Pulse Labs Inc. is serious about getting the right fit – and flex! – in a ski boot!

If you’ve recently been sizing ski boots, chances are you’ve encountered some unreliability when it comes to flex rating, even in boots of the same brand.

Enter Pulse Labs Inc.

With their extensive expertise and new and innovative boot fitting system they’ve come up with the answer to the flex issue with a convenient and effective aftermarket accessory: The Pulse ProFlex. Developed and prototyped with the help of the MIDAS Fab Lab!

The flex in a ski boot refers to how difficult it is to flex the boot forward. Boot flex ranges from very soft to a stiffness required for racing, indicated by a numeric “flex index” typically from 50 (soft) to 130 (very stiff). Frustratingly, for skiers of all skill levels, this number is rather arbitrary and a 100 flex rating, for example, can vary from boot to boot, even from the same manufacturer.

Check out the Pulse ProFlex Kickstarter>>

The Pulse ProFlex is a ski boot insert created specifically to stiffen almost any two-piece ski boot by 15 to 30 per cent. It’s been made to be easy to install without altering or compromising the fit of the boot.

Current bootmakers prioritize features and convenience – walk modes, tech fittings, thinner walls and lightweight plastics – over stiffness and performance. Innovator and partner in Pulse Boot Lab & Ski Co., Kai Palkeinen, was looking for more. Understanding that serious skiers have been left wanting, he saw the need for a reliable, aftermarket solution that had the power to amp up the flex and, ultimately, the performance of any ski boot.

So the ProFlex was born. With the help of our team at MIDAS!

Beginning over a year ago, the team at MIDAS, specifically Lab Director, Brad Pommen, assisted in scanning the prototype and producing 3D models to help identify the size, shape, and positioning of what would become the ProFlex. Through several iterations and many communications between Pulse Labs’ Matt Moor and Brad, fundamental challenges were identified.

MIDAS provided the opportunities and resources for learning!

The learning process not only helped refine the design and drawings that would be sent on to the engineers, but the experience also helped to answer the important question: which manufacturing process would provide the best product?

For instance, after delving deep into carbon fibre, vacuum moulding and even 3D printing at MIDAS it was established that none of these would provide the necessary rigidity or rebound for an effective insert. To achieve what the company needed, injection molds were found to be the way to go.

Through MIDAS, Kai explained, “We went from knowing nothing to gaining a far better understanding.”

Kai learned how “complicated, difficult, and expensive, not to mention arduous the manufacturing process is”. MIDAS and the Fab Lab team helped alleviate some of this stress and hard work, facilitating rapid prototyping, exploration, experimentation, and tweaking, in a fraction of the time and expense that it would have taken otherwise.

“Without MIDAS we may not have made it to the end result.”

Looking for additional stiffness and performance in your ski boots or those of a skier you love? Be sure to get the Pulse ProFlex – support the Kickstarter Campaign>>

Just in time for Christmas!

Curious about all that’s available – and possible! – at MIDAS? Join us for a tour: Thursdays at 6pm!

 

 

SMARTS Program: Selkirk SME Applied Research and Technology Solutions

SME Applied Research & Technology Solutions (SMARTS) Program

The SMARTS Program: Connecting small- and medium-sized businesses with research expertise in the fields of geospatial technology and digital fabrication. 

It’s those companies that invite innovation and embrace technology that are leading today’s competitive economy.

Selkirk College, a hidden academic gem here in the West Kootenay steps in to help, offering specific and much-needed applied research support to help businesses develop new or improved products and services.

The SMARTS program builds on the Adopting Digital Technologies program, a success story featured by the National Research Council, which provided small- and medium-sized businesses with direct support, technical training, and advisory services aimed at increasing productivity through the use of digital technologies.

Support for Development of Products and Services

The SMARTS program aims to engage in research that results in the development of innovative products or services, expanding the offerings, that local businesses can bring to market.

Businesses may be eligible for the SMARTS program if they:

  • Have less than 500 employees
  • Are growth-oriented
  • Are located in Canada

Selkirk College knows that research and development partnerships that involve marketable products or services require strict confidentiality. Businesses can rest assured that the College maintains confidentiality protocols to protect the interests of both the business and the College. Selkirk College also understands the need to complete work in ‘business time’ and will work with business to move the idea to action efficiently and effectively.

Do you have a project idea that you want to explore with the SMARTS team? Want to discuss your expertise and funding needs? Find out more!

A Sample of R&D Services

Geospatial Technologies

WEB MAPPING
– Developing custom mapping platforms for data sharing and communications

3D VISUALIZATIONS
– Generating static and dynamic visualisations of 3D geospatial data – Developing augmented reality and virtual reality applications

REMOTE SENSING
– Collecting data via UAV
– Testing sensors
– Analysing remotely sensed data from UAV or satellite – Developing workflows and algorithms

SPATIAL MODELING
– Modeling landscape impacts of environmental change

APP DEVELOPMENT AND CUSTOMIZATION
– Building customized mobile tools for geospatial data collection and sharing – Researching and testing technology options

Digital Fabrication

RAPID PROTOTYPING
– Producing prototypes
– Researching and testing prototype designs and materials

3D MODELING
– Scanning 3D objects for reproduction
– Generating 3D models for analysis and production

ADVANCED MANUFACTURING PROCESS OPTIMIZATION
– Building custom digital fabrication equipment
– Improving productivity with new workflows and equipment configurations

Funding Available for a Limited Time

The SMARTS program runs until March 2019 and is supported by the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). As a result of this support, funding is available to cover the majority of the research costs associated with approved projects. The company also contributes a portion of project expenses.

Do you have a project idea that you want to explore with the SMARTS team? Want to discuss your expertise and funding needs? Find out more!

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.

REGISTER NOW!

Fun Friday! 6 Cool & Pretty Easy Welding Maker Projects!

Welding is one of those maker activities that most might consider requires skills well beyond their capacity and might stick to arduino, 3D printing and basic carpentry projects seemingly more accessible.

But, welding doesn’t have to be hard and can actually be a lot of fun. With these few projects you can increase your confidence and skills whereby you may even feel up to taking on those home repairs you’ve been putting off or perhaps even getting creative with metalwork art.

Here are some great project ideas to introduce you to the range of skills and equipment required, while making some pretty cool stuff!

DIY welded jewelry treeJewelry Holder. This is a wonderfully simple project that requires you to weld small, straight steel pieces together into the shape of a tree.

You then weld the tree to a square piece of steel so that it can be set on a table or dresser.

You can choose to decorate the project to make it look realistic or allow the rustic steel look to stand.

Learn how HERE.

 

 

metal table welding projectsDIY Metal Table. This simple table uses a handful of straight metal pieces that are welded together into a frame.

Metal slats on top provide spaces for clamping, providing a sturdy space for heavy projects that is still light enough to move.

Click HERE for instructions.

 

 

welded stackable side tableTV Tray Tables. This is a beautiful addition to any home or office.

Also great as a side table, a laptop stand, and much more. The C-table design requires minimal welding and is very forgiving to beginners.

Dozens of ideas that follow this frame give you the options you need.

 

 

DIY welded doorbellDIY Doorbell. A unique and beautiful addition to your exterior decor.

All it took to complete this project was a small argon cylinder and some scrap steel.

You can mount it directly onto your home exterior or attach it to your preferred material to add a unique look to your property.

A total conversation piece for you and your visitors!

Learn how HERE.

 

 

DIY welded fire pitDIY Firepit. This unique fire pit was made simply with a half-sheet of steel.

A textured steel was used for this project, but any steel plate of 2.1 mm thickness will get the job done. You can also adjust the size of the design to meet your specific needs.

Make it “fire ban” friendly by adding propane fittings.

Instructions are HERE.

 

 

DIY welded benchGarden or Mudroom Bench. This project requires 1-inch square tubing.

Other than that, you can build it to your own preferred dimensions. It does require some metal cutting as a skill, but otherwise, this little bench will add a nice touch to any home.

Learn more HERE.

 

 

Fun Friday! DIY Foam Paddle Board

We are near mid-summer and the weather has been nothing short of glorious! And, with all of this sublime weather, no doubt everyone has been enjoying their local waterhole, river, or lake with their favourite watercraft.

Fun Friday! DIY standup paddle board

Looking for a Standup Paddle Board Without the Steep Price Tag?

If you’ve been coveting the rash of standup paddle board (SUP) activity but purchasing one isn’t in your summer budget, the innovative folks over at instructables are offering the perfect DIY alternative.

While the cost of a SUP has certainly come down over the past few years, it’s still a rather grand sum to pay for some hollow plastic.  But, with a little initiative, a few tools, and some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease here’s a way for you to relax on the water with unique hand-crafted style and a totally do-able price tag – guaranteed to be one-of-a-kind!

Here’s What You Need (costs are approximate):

A sheet rigid foam insulation 2″ thick ($25).  This may even be something you or a DIY neighbour already has on hand, so the price may be even lower!

Insulation saw ($12).

Two large tubes of construction adhesive ($6).

A fine notch plastic trowel ($1.50).

A wood rasp ($6.50).

Orbital sander.

An optional 1/4″ sheet of plywood ($20).

Heavy items – sandbags, cinder blocks, bricks, etc. – to help set the glue.

The total cost (cash money, that is) is only about $50, possibly less if you’re able to source from your own garage, or those of your friends and family. The real cost for this project is your time and energy.

DIY Standup Paddle Board

Building Instructions:

1. Lay out the paddle board shape on heavy paper or stretches of cardboard. If you’ve got a model to use that’s ideal, but most online retailers’ product descriptions provide the dimensions you need. Prepare for this to take some time – it’s worth it!

There will be additional time tracing and retracing if you’re incorporating the plywood deck surface.  In this example, the SUP is kid-sized: 4″ thick and 24″ wide. If you want to make a 12 footer you’ll need more foam.  Note: the wood deck does make for a more slick surface, the bare foam actually provides some grip.

2. Glue the foam together.

3. The board ought not be left flat. There should be a rocker of a few degrees on both ends.
Trace out the curve of the nose rocker onto the profile and sculpt with a long razor.
Once the shape is roughed out use the wood rasp to remove the rest and to make the curves more hydrodynamic. FYI:  working with the foam is messy!  It’s recommended that you set up some means of dust collection (ie. ShopVac on hand!).

Finish the smoothing with an orbital sander, stepping down the grits.

4. To make the plywood impermeable to water, it needs to be prepared with polyurethane on both sides. After sanding the edges and top of the deck board, apply four coats of poly, sanding the top side between coats. Don’t worry about the underside as it will be glued to the foam. Once it’s dry, and before securing with glue to the SUP, test the placement of the deck. Lightly trace the outline of the deck so that you know where to spread the adhesive. Coat both the foam and the underside of the deck with your adhesive. Place the deck with care and press the two parts together and leave overnight under pressure.

There you have it! Don’t forget, you can apply laser cut vinyl, or paint designs, to customize your unique DIY board. If you’d like more photos and far more detail into the construction of the handmade SUP, check it out HERE!

BTW, if you’re new to DIY for projects like this, check out the MIDAS course calendar for all kinds of education and training into the kinds of equipment and design software that make creating these kinds of projects just that much easier.

#LearnCreateLaunch #madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake

Fun Friday! The Ultimate in Maker Pizza!

pizza oven made from an old car

So, this project may not necessarily be accessible to most of us, but for those of us who love pizza, or those of us with a penchant for learning new cooking techniques, this project certainly looks like a whole lot of fun!

Love Pizza?  Here’s a Pizza Oven Unlike Any Other!

There are probably any number of things that can be done to recycle an old car that’s pretty much had the biscuit: donate to your nearest volunteer fire department (they can always use old cars for practicing rescues and extractions), a unique wildflower planter, a pretty cushy doghouse, or maybe even a funky chicken coop.

This idea… well, this one’s probably not the first many of us would think of!

Leave it to French artist Benedetto Bufalino to come up with one of the more unique and practical ways to repurpose an old car.

Bufalino has made a name for himself transforming and repurposing old cars and other otherwise useless items into cool and interesting objects.  Playable ping pong tables made from upside down cars, aquariums from telephone booths, fun and innovative designs from ordinary, discarded stuff.  In true maker spirit, the french artist hacked an old Ford Mondeo into a fully functioning, pizza lovers dream of a wood-burning pizza oven where the pies come out looking as delectable as any restaurant.

He cut out the windows of the old Ford and removed all the technical and internal components including the seats and wheels. A shelf within the car interior was constructed and covered in an all-brick surface to sustain the heat required to bake. Wood logs positioned, ignited, and voila! A singular and unique pizza oven that could easily be the envy of any traditional pizzeria.

Devised while Bufalino was a participant at cultural art association 2angles based in France, the car-turned-pizza-cooker attracted many visitors who wanted to check out the car that doesn’t burn gas — but wood.

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