The Maker Movement: DIY, Hands-on, Innovation In Action!

maker movement fostered at MIDAS

There is a movement afoot and, with the help of education, tools and equipment (such as welcomes you at MIDAS!) to more easily and cost-efficiently bring ideas to life, it’s gaining tremendous steam!

The Maker Movement – or in more familiar terms, Do-It-Yourself – is growing in participation in schools, communities and industry throughout the province, and, of course, beyond.  What makes this a movement, rather than simply the act of puttering in one’s garage, is the resources, equipment and materials available to support it in ways we’ve never seen before.

This movement is grassroots innovation and it’s being enthusiastically embraced and fostered in more and more communities, nurturing an ever growing number of people, creative and curious.

The digital age has really blown the lid off what was formerly tinkering, or on a larger scale, inventing and innovating with significant effort and resources to bring an idea to prototype, using specific manufacturers located by and large overseas.  Inventing and innovating, as it has previously been known, has required very specialized software and fabrication equipment, not easily accessible either in terms of cost or location and has made it prohibitive for potential innovators to see a project through to completion let alone market.

With technology expanding as it is, so fast and with such scope, the creative process of invention and innovation is being transformed.  The access we have to imaging, scanning, drafting and other specialized software as well as the fabrication equipment to translate plans into tangible, surprisingly high quality, prototypes allows and encourages Maker creativity and invention unlike any time before.

MIDAS, and our MIT certified facilities, is a great example.  As part of this movement gathering momentum, every day we see makers contributing to what is becoming their own market ecosystem, developing incredible new products and services. The combination of ingenious makers and innovative technologies such as the Raspberry Pi mini-computer and Arduino micro-controller along with 3D printing are driving innovation in manufacturing, engineering, industrial design, hardware technology and education.

Makerspaces are cropping up in communities big and small. Offering everything from Repair Cafes – where makers offer up their talents to fix and repurpose everything from computers to mobile phones to toaster ovens – to workshops on soldering and Arduino to imaging software education to actual fabrication and prototyping equipment, as we do here.

Inquiry-based and more hands-on education trends are beginning to trend as well.  Schools, for pre-schoolers through secondary students, are offering more and more resources and opportunities to explore and nurture their curiosity.  Through electronics and technology, young people are challenging their own creativity, innovating unlike ever before through coding, robotics and other fun and hands-on ways of expanding their knowledge and experience in the various facets of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art (Design), Mathematics, or STEAM.

While many makers consider themselves simply hobbyists or enthusiasts they are a vibrant and fundamental source of innovation, embracing creativity, developing new products and generating value in the Maker community.  In fact, it’s not unusual for some of these Makers to take the leap as entrepreneurs and start companies.  We see it all the time!

While there are several industry professionals who take advantage of the incredible Maker opportunities at MIDAS, it’s not necessary to be an engineer or techie to enjoy all a space like MIDAS offers.  Check out our #madeatMIDAS features to see the examples of ordinary people making extraordinary things.

That’s what’s so great about the Maker Movement: accessibility!  You don’t even need to bring an idea… just your imagination and curiosity.  The ideas will flow soon enough!

What can MIDAS can help you make!  Check out our calendar of courses HERE!

#madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake

Introduction to MIDAS from MIDAS Fab Lab on Vimeo.

MIDAS Course: Markforged 3D Printer

markforged 3d printer MIDAS course

The printer in action. The larger tube feeds plastic filament while the smaller feeds carbon fibre.

Note:  This is a MIDAS certification course.

Sometimes traditional 3D printing just doesn’t cut it – that’s where the Mark Two from Markforged comes in. The Mark Two is an industrial strength 3D printer here at the MIDAS Lab and using continuous fiber inlays together with high-performance nylons, it creates parts that can compete with metal!  The Markforged Mark Two is simply an incredible piece of engineering.

Markforged Mark Two:  High strength parts printed overnight.

Upcoming course April 9, 2018.  Register HERE to reserve your seat!

The MarkForged Mark Two course at MIDAS

A beautiful minimalistically designed and user-friendly desktop machine offering a touchscreen display and a print volume of 120 x 132 x 154mm. Pick your reinforcement and plastics, and remove the time, hassle and design iterations so you can put your parts to use right off the printer, engineered with the right material for any job.

The Mark Two prints with two printheads: one builds nylon parts, and the other is a revolutionary, new composite print head to reinforce those parts with continuous fiber.

By reinforcing your parts with composite fiber while 3D printing them, The Mark Two achieves unparalleled strength, stiffness and durability in its printed parts.  The Mark Two prints materials that no other 3D printer can, like Carbon Fiber, Fiberglass and Kevlar.

3D printing with composite fiber is as much about the software as it is about the unique technology of the printers.  This printer comes with MarkForged’s browser-based 3D printing software, Eiger, which is user friendly, and runs on any computer system, making your printed part flexible or strong in a process that is both easy and intuitive.  The Markforged Eiger software is both powerful and easy to use in your browser, importing your drawing and slicing it for high strength printing.

Markforged Mark Two Eiger software

The touchscreen makes it easy to connect to wifi, start prints and manage your printer.  The Mark Two print bed clicks into place with 10 micron accuracy – allowing you to pause a print, remove the bed, add components, click the bed back in and then continue the print in the exact same position.

Upcoming course April 9, 2018.  Register HERE to reserve your seat!

#madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake

Markforged Mark Two Course at MIDAS

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Fun Friday! Raspberry Pi DIY Laptop With A Little Trotec Laser Cutter!

 

Raspberry Pi Trotec Laser Cutter DIY laptopWhat do you get when you combine the magic of a little Raspberry Pi with a wood casing courtesy a Trotec 120Watt Laser Cutter?  One heckuva DIY laptop!

Between the Raspberry Pi, loaded with powerful capabilities in such a tiny little package and the Trotec (upcoming Trotec 120Watt Laser Cutter course April 20th!) making short work of model making, industrial design, prototyping and just about any kind of DIY application, this creative idea is a great example of an integration of both.

Trotec Laser Cutter and Raspberry Pi DIY laptopThis project also relies upon a 3D printed component (Ultimaker 3D Printer course, April 13th!in the design for the screen hinge, but the rest of the PlyTop is cut out of a three 2′ x 4′ sheets of 1/8″ Baltic birch plywood.

The Plytop base and top are held together with a fair amounts of translucent wood glue.

This design uses a Peripad II B Touchpad, apparently the only self contained touch pad close to the size of a normal laptop trackpad at a decent price. It sits neatly in the Plytop shell and works just fine out of the box with the Raspberry Pi 3. Plug ’em in and they behave like your typical trackpad.

The Waveshare 10.1 is the best LCD screen on the market that includes a form fitting HDMI interface driver, powered through USB. These screens come attached to a laser cut acrylic base and some cheap HDMI and USB cables.

The monitor is affixed with some very brittle plastic screws and nuts and will require an HDMI cable with a very low connector profile (Monoprice cable) to best fit into the Waveshare’s port once it’s installed in the top shell.

If you’d like to see this project coming together click HERE.

If you’d like to see all the plans and ingredients to make this neat little device click HERE!

 

 

Plytop DIY laptop - Raspberry Pi Trotec laser cutter

 

 

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Redefining Teck’s By-Products

Trail Operations partners with MIDAS to explore new ways to create value from slag

Metallurgical slags, by-products of Teck’s lead-zinc smelting and refining complex in Trail, B.C., are at the centre of a three-year research project led by the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Graduate students are looking at ways to extract and refine valuable rare elements from the slag, which can be used  commercially in semiconductors and other electronic applications.

Much of this is unfolding at MIDAS (Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration and Studies), a fabrication lab located in Trail, where this project is able to flourish, along with other technical opportunities heating up in the region.

A Centre for Regional Innovation

From the outside, MIDAS could be another retail shop in a strip of small businesses, but inside, technology and innovation are at the forefront. The applied research, commercialization and digital fabrication training facility services the metallurgical sector that clusters around Teck’s Trail Operations. MIDAS makes advanced manufacturing technology—including 3D printing—accessible to many in West Kootenay, B.C.

MIDAS, a public-private enterprise initiated by the Kootenay Association of Science & Technology (KAST) and Fenix Advanced Materials, opened in 2016 to leverage the region’s technical talent, commercialize new products and technologies, and diversify the local economy.

“Part of the rationale for building MIDAS here in Trail is the proximity to Teck’s Trail Operations,” explains Amber Hayes, project director for MIDAS. Science & Technology (KAST) and Fenix Advanced Materials, opened in 2016 to leverage the region’s technical talent, commercialize new products and technologies, and diversify the local economy.

Regional companies use the facility and its equipment to supplement their business. For example, manufacturers can digitally print test prototypes in plastic before creating their products in wood or metal, training programs can be downloaded and accessed virtually, and aging equipment can be reverse-engineered. These disruptive technologies are not only being accessed by engineers, but also by resident artists, students and entrepreneurs.

“There is also a strong material stewardship opportunity with MIDAS for Trail Operations,” says Greg Richards, Superintendent, Knowledge Management, Trail Operations (pictured below). Greg is also a metallurgical engineer and serves as Chair of the Lower Columbia Community Development Team Society’s Metallurgical Committee, which works to advance business development and economic strength in Trail and surrounding areas.

“Being able to provide our by-products to MIDAS improves our ability to maximize the value of our materials across their life cycle while providing economic development opportunities for other companies and our region,” adds Greg.

When the facility was being commissioned, MIDAS also took the opportunity to gain critical safety expertise from Trail Operations.

Dallas Cain, Trail Operations’ Superintendent of Health and Safety, together with Chris D’Odorico, Manager of Health and Safety, supported MIDAS in developing the safety program for the site, which includes equipment operator training, lock-out procedures and facility safety management.

“MIDAS provided a real locus for the ideas that had been generated around regional metallurgical technology and innovation,” says Greg, recalling the number of discussions and attempts at something like MIDAS over the years. “I believe that MIDAS was the missing piece that we needed to help advance opportunities in our area.”

Originally posted at Teck Connect.

MIDAS Course: Roland MonoFab SRM-20 Mini Milling Machine

MIDAS course - Roland MonoFab SRM-20 Mini Milling Machine

Prototyping made easy!

Create realistic 3D prototypes that are virtually identical to production parts.  The Roland MonoFab SRM-20 Mini Milling Machine offers compact size and powerful functionality for production ready, realistic parts and prototypes.

The Roland MonoFab SRM-20 incorporates innovative features, including a new spindle, collet, circuit boards and control software. The result is a leap forward in milling precision, speed and ease of use. The SRM-20 can precision mill a wide range of materials, including modeling wax, chemical wood, foam, acrylic, poly acetate, ABS and PCBs .

The SRM-20’s strengths lie in providing outstanding accuracy and smooth finished surfaces. With its new milling spindle, collet, circuit board and firmware, the SRM-20 delivers maximum speed and precision in a small package.  Optional collets extend the mill’s capability with a wide range of end mill shapes and sizes, ideal for creating beautiful finishes and intricate details.

Upcoming course March 26, 2018.  Register HERE to reserve your seat!

MIDAS course: Roland MonoFabTaking advantage of more than 25 years of experience in manufacturing 3D devices, the evolutionary SRM-20 desktop milling machine incorporates several innovative subtractive rapid prototyping (SRP) features to meet the needs of a new era.

Engineered for optimum efficiency and productivity, the SRM-20 is a next-generation desktop mill that boasts a micro-step motor drive system for clean and precise contours and a phenomenal feed rate that’s two times faster than previous generations.

Upcoming course March 26, 2018.  Register HERE to reserve your seat!

#madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake

 

 

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#madeatMIDAS: Jonathan Quarrie & Starlight Snowboards

Tracy Connery Photography - #madeatMIDAS- Jonathan Quarrie Starlight Snowboards

Jonathan Quarrie, Starlight Snowboards, standing in the MIDAS Fabrication Lab

This month, #madeatMIDAS features Starlight Snowboards and creator, Jonathan Quarrie.  Jonathan and his emerging business are a great example of the capabilities of the MIDAS facilities to help bring an innovative new vision to reality.

Our MIT-certified digital fabrication laboratory, or “Fab Lab”, equipment is geared to support this kind of entrepreneur development: collaborating and adopting state-of-the-art technology to create new and marketable products.

You can do it too! Check out our course calendar HERE!

Tracy Connery Photography - #madeatMIDAS- Starlight Snowboards Shopbot CNC course at MIDAS

Jonathan Quarrie – Snowboards created using the Shopbot CNC for his new company Starlight Snowboards

Here’s a little glimpse into Jonathan’s entrepreneurial journey here at MIDAS:

Please tell us a little bit about your background and how you found your way to MIDAS.
A machinist/toolmaker who was trained in the aerospace industry in the U.K., I’ve always had a passion for creating things myself whether it be building a lego set as a kid or building the furniture in our home.  I heard about MIDAS a few years ago when I was out riding a prototype bindingless snowboard I’d built at home.  A guy I met told me about a meeting where they were going to talk about MIDAS and look for volunteers.  I got involved there and then and started as a volunteer helping out with setting up some of the machines.  I’ve been visiting MIDAS ever since then.

What was it about your project that made you feel DIY was the best way to go?
I’d been making Snowboards as a bit of a hobby for about 7 years as a bit of fun.  I always enjoyed the process of designing and building something that I could then go and use and appreciate and to be able to see if I could improve or learn something new with each new board.

What is the intent behind your product and what are your intentions with it now that you’ve brought your vision to reality?
The intent was just to be able to produce a board that worked very well in the environment that we have locally.  We tend to ride steep terrain that is treed, for this I wanted to build shorter than normal boards that were light and nimble but still gave enough float to handle deep powder conditions. This first year was all about refining some of the manufacturing techniques, experimenting with shapes and construction and seeing if there was interest in the product.  The interest has been overwhelming and the results from the product testing have been great.  Going  forward I’d like to grow the project into a small company with the intention of selling boards starting 2018/19.   There is still a lot to do but I feel we are heading in the right direction.

Jonathan Quarrie - Snowboards created using the Shopbot CNC for his new company designing Starlight Snowboards

Jonathan Quarrie – Snowboards created using the Shopbot CNC for his new company, Starlight Snowboards

Please outline the process from start to finish with MIDAS, including the equipment & materials used, on this project.
There are over 100 individual processes that go into building a board, broken down and simplified it goes something like this:
1.Process starts with the board design which is done on the SpaceClaim program.  This includes the outline board shape, board profile (how it curves when viewed from the side) and the design of the wooden core of the board (how its thickness alters throughout the length of the board)
2. MDF material is cut on the Shopbot that is assembled to form the mold that the board will be pressed into.
3. Various, wood types are selected and bonded together in a block, this is then cut on a bandsaw to produce a blank that the board core can be shaped from
4. Using the Shopbot the core is machined to allow a rubber sidewall to be cast into it.  Once this is cured it is put back on the Shopbot to be machined on both sides so it is ready for assembly. It is this process that controls a lot of how the board performs. By altering the thickness of the core you can adjust how the board flexes and thus performs.  By using the Shopbot and the digital design this is very easily controlled.
5. MDF templates are cut using the Shopbot that are used to rout out the base material by hand. Ultimately I would like to use the Shopbot to cut the base material directly.
6. The base material is edged using ski /snowboard edge material.
7. various carbon fibre and fibreglass materials are cut ready for the assembly process.
8. at my home the board is assembled from the components: base, carbon and glass layers, the core, topsheet, metal binding inserts and epoxy resin.  It is then put in a hydraulic press that I built that compresses all the components together at around 100psi pressure until the resin has cured.
9. once cured excess material is cut off back to the metal edge, the board then has a base grind and some other finishing before decals made on the Roland vinyl cutter are applied.
10. The board is then waxed and ready for snow.

Do you expect you’ll use the MIDAS facility again?
Certainly, there is still development work to do and other ideas that I have that I’d like to try out there… it’s a fun place to be.

How would you sum up your experience at MIDAS?
It’s been great!  The team at MIDAS have been really supportive and encouraging and have been a massive help in bringing my project to where it is now.  It’s great to be there and see what other people are working on and to share ideas.

I feel very lucky to have such a great facility available to me and encourage anyone to get involved, if you have an idea of something you’d like to make go and make it happen.

You can do it too! All the resources you need to help take your idea, startup, or business to the next level.  Check out our course calendar HERE!

Be sure to check out more about the process – Jonathan and Starlight Snowboards:

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MIDAS Course: Trotec 120 Watt Laser Cutter

Tracy Connery Photography - #madeatMIDAS-Trotec 120Watt Laser Cutter

With the advanced Trotec 120Watt Laser Cutter, you can laser cut, etch, and engrave a variety of different materials: wood, metal, glass, leather, acrylic, natural rubber, stone and more.

In addition to the range of materials, there are also a wide variety of applications.  Signage, stamps, toys, promotional materials… the creative possibilities are remarkable!  The laser engraving and marking capability offered by the Trotec makes short work of model making, industrial design, prototyping and just about any kind of DIY application. The possibilites that this laser cutter offers to individuals and businesses is endless and inspiring. Whether it be personal DIY projects or prototyping an idea geared for industry, learning your way around the Trotec arms you with a powerful tool!

MIDAS course: Trotec Laser Cutter

A red laser pointer indicates the location where the laser beam will contact the material. The auto-focus ensures the laser beam is
correctly focused when contacting material. Equipped with a ferromagnetic working platform, making the Trotec ideal for mounting thin materials such as paper or films using magnets to ensure an even, flat surface.

Upcoming course March 19, 2018.  Register HERE to reserve your seat!

Tracy Connery Photography - #madeatMIDAS-Tromac Laser Cutter Course.jpg

Upcoming course March 19, 2018.  Register HERE to reserve your seat!

The Trotec can even engrave cylindrical, conical or spherical objects such as bottles, glasses, balls or mugs. It makes handling your engraving and cutting jobs of any kind fast, accurate and trouble free.

Trotec lasers are the fastest and most productive systems available. The Speedy 300 CO2 offers a top speed of 355cm/ sec. with an acceleration of 5g.

#madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake

Tracy Connery Photography - #madeatMIDAS-Tromac Laser Cutter Course

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MIDAS Course: Shopbot CNC (Desktop & Alpha)

Tracy Connery Photography - #madeatMIDAS- Starlight Snowboards Shopbot CNC course at MIDAS

Snowboards created using the Shopbot CNC for new company, Starlight Snowboards

The possibilities available to make an incredible range of products, from woodworking to ski & snowboards to musical instruments and so much more are so exciting!

The next Shopbot CNC course is March 9th, 2018.  Register HERE to reserve your seat!

Showbot CNC course at MIDASLooking to revamp your kitchen or shop? Making cabinet components on a CNC router is entirely do-able. Using CNC technology, cabinetmakers are now able to increase production while minimizing material handling.  In addition to high-volume furniture and millwork companies, novice and master craftsmen alike are embracing CNC technology.

Need a sign for your business and want to give it some oomph? Shopbots can be used to carve images in wood and foam, to cut plastic and aluminum letters, and to intricately machine the all sorts of graphic objects and letters. Full 3D cutting capabilities allow cutting and machining of practically anything.

Maybe you’re a water sports enthusiast with a vision of building your dream boat. Boatbuilding is a natural for utilizing the benefits of CNC technology.  In fact, the first ShopBot was developed as a boatbuilder’s tool. In boatbuilding, Shopbot CNCs are used for cutting frames, plywood panels and all manner of interior and exterior parts. They are used in wood, fiberglass and aluminum production processes.

Looking to create your dream guitar?  The Shopbot CNC can supplement your traditional woodworking tools. While the CNC may not duplicate all of the specialized processes involved in instrument making, it can offer new capabilities to assist in bringing your instrument to completion.

Makers of all disciplines:  the Shopbot CNC can be used in many ways for prototyping, reverse engineering and modeling. As a rapid prototyping tool, this equipment can machine foam, wood, plastics and aluminum to efficiently create prototype and reproduction parts. Shopbots are used in large-scale production, from Boeing’s F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet to WoodMode’s custom cabinets.  Production operations from drilling and trimming to more complex milling or machining are easily customized and incorporated into cellular production operations.

CNC stands for computer numerical control and a CNC router only functions connected to a computer equipped with software to direct the tool path of the machine. A power tool router is affixed to the machine that directs its X and Y coordinates as it cuts. Router bits of various shapes and sizes are used for achieving different cutting results.

CNC routers can be used to cut wood, foam, and plastics. Projects include interior and exterior decorations, signage, wood frames, toys, finishing carpentry (cabinets, mouldings), as well as larger objects like furniture, boats, and even houses.

The next Shopbot CNC course is March 9th, 2018.  Register HERE to reserve your seat!

#madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake

Jonathan Quarrie - SSnowboards created using the Shopbot CNC for his new company designing Starlight Snowboards

Snowboards created using the Shopbot CNC for new company, Starlight Snowboards

 

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MIDAS Course: Ultimaker 2 3D Printer

Ultimaker 2 3D Printer Course at MIDAS

The Ultimaker 2 3D printer is easy and reliable, designed for the best experience in 3D printing.   Engineered to perform, this 3D digital printing workhorse is reliable, efficient, and user-friendly and particularly useful for artists, engineers, makers and innovators looking for fast, high quality prints in just about any size or material.

Ultimaker 3D 2 Course at MIDAS

Featuring a .4mm extruder capable of an amazing 20 micron layer resolution, 12 micron XY precision, and 5 micron Z precision, the Ultimaker 2 is the best consumer 3D printer available today.  It has a great compact design, uses standard consumables such as nylon, glass-filled polyamide, epoxy resins, wax, metal filaments and more; and works very quietly with a large print platform for creating relatively large objects in one piece.

Upcoming courses March 2 and April 13, 2018.  Register HERE to reserve your seat!

Pet urns printed with biodegradable PLA plastic on Ultimaker 2 by MIDAS Private Member Gordon Cleland #madeatMIDAS

The Ultimaker 2 uses the fused deposition modeling (FDM) method of mainstream printers that print by melting a plastic filament to create the 3D print. This method is also called fused filament fabrication (FFF).

This 3D printer produces high-quality product preserving excellent detail.  There is a good range of print speed and quality to choose from: quick and low quality, or slow and high quality, as required.  The Ultimaker 2 is a versatile, high-quality 3D printer that can be used for multiple purposes. It can crank out quick, rough prints, or produce smooth, clean prints of excellent quality.

In a nutshell:

  • World class specs. Unmatched with its max print speed of 300mm/s and 20 micron layer resolution.
  • Industry-leading print-to-size ratio. Small footprint, large build volume.
  • Premium materials used in construction. Heated bed smooths prints and allows for ABS printing.

Upcoming courses March 2 and April 13, 2018.  Register HERE to reserve your seat!

Tracy Connery Photography - #madeatMIDAS Ultimaker 2 MIDAS course

Prototype of a cast for a dog’s leg printed on the Ultimaker 2 #madeatMIDAS

 

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#madeatMIDAS: Gordon Cleland

Tracy Connery Photography - #madeatMIDAS Gordon Cleland_01

The team at MIDAS is so proud of the variety of #madeatMIDAS ideas that are brought to reality everyday here at the Fab Lab!

In the past, the process of prototyping an invention or innovation could be cost and time prohibitive, not to mention the challenges of simply finding a manufacturer, often oversees, that might be capable of bringing your idea to life.  Today, a maker space like MIDAS cracks the entire prototyping model wide open allowing for fast and cost effective production onsite, with access to almost half a million dollars in state-of-the-art equipment, in days or weeks rather than the months, perhaps even years, that it used to take.

Several #madeatMIDAS projects have been created by engineers, with a very specific product and result they’re interested in achieving.  However, while we encourage and love our corporate members, we want everyone to know that the MIDAS Fab Lab is open to just about anyone who comes with an idea, the vision and the desire to learn in order to bring it to life.

#madeatMIDAS celebrates the range of creativity and innovation as well as the incredible projects that have been created through the Fab Lab and promotes the maker space as an accessible facility ready to take on just about any kind of project.

A great example is Gordon Cleland, a builder, inventor and artist at heart, who has brought two separate visions to life utilizing all that MIDAS has to offer.

A big do-it-yourselfer, wood, metal and clay were his go-to materials in developing his ideas.  Often, though, he found that the hand-tools he was used to working with were too limited to bring his ideas fully to fruition.  The 3D design and 3D printing training provided at MIDAS were game-changers! Access to this level of new manufacturing technology, and to have it conveniently located nearby in Trail was a huge plus.

When Gordon read one of the early articles about MIDAS, the opportunity to get education and access to new technologies was one he had to take advantage of.  In fact, he made a point of attending the grand opening to learn more!   A member since the opening of MIDAS, he’s taken courses on nearly every machine available at the Fab Lab.  He’s created vinyl signs and wood projects using the CNC router table;  3D scanned and 3D printed prototypes; and, most recently, CNC machined aluminum.

Gordon has enjoyed the accessible membership and training fees as well as the easy access to the amazing talent making up the core of the MIDAS shop. People like MIDAS Lab Director, Brad Pommen, Jason Taylor of Selkirk College, and Chris Kent of Left-of-Center Design provided the skills, knowledge and expertise instrumental to bring Gordon’s visions to reality.

“I also received acceptance for my design into the Venture Acceleration Program, a complimentary group that assisted with market research, legal and engineering.”

It wasn’t long after he began his journey with MIDAS that he made the investment in his own 3D printer, in which he produced a working prototype of his latest project. This allowed him to refine his design before taking the leap, investing in machining a full aluminum version.

Tracy Connery Photography - #madeatMIDAS-January18_91

He looked to the CNC Machining Center at MIDAS to produce the aluminum parts in the finished product.

“By utilizing the machining center at MIDAS I was able to work with designer and machinist Chris Kent as each part was made, helping to ensure our final product worked as intended. It also allowed for a quick turn-around from prototype to finished product at just under 2 weeks.”

His new design adds functionality to an existing piece of equipment used to cut steel pipe. It allows precise adjustment of cut angle, extremely useful when steel pipe is driven into the ground as support pilings. Pipe pilings are used in place of concrete pilings or footings and used extensively in the oil and gas and other industries around the world.

Tracy Connery Photography - #madeatMIDAS-January18_84

Using Gordon’s product reduces the time it takes to cut, level and weld pilings on a job site. As a welder for over 25 years, it’s a product he’d known was in need: a simple and accurate way to cut pilings accurately.

“Now I’ve built one and I’m eager to get it into the hands of tradespeople that can use it.”

Gordon is well aware what would have had to be invested to see this innovation brought to reality without a facility like MIDAS:

“Without the training from MIDAS my only local option to explore the design would have been hire a designer or mechanical engineer to do it for me, and those costs would have been beyond my means. MIDAS and VAP made it possible for me to pursue my idea to a market ready stage economically.”

Have an idea or innovation you’re looking to bring to reality? It can be #madeatMIDAS!

Looking to learn valuable skills?  MIDAS can help!  So many great courses and training to give you the preparation you need to take full advantage of all MIDAS has to offer!

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