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.