#madeatMIDAS: Advanced BioCarbon 3D (ABC3D)

Advanced BioCarbon 3D #madeatMIDAS

Advanced BioCarbon 3D, #madeatMIDAS Corporate Member and co-locator here at MIDAS marries environmental sustainability and innovation with their carbon negative bioplastics.

We are very proud of the accomplishments achieved by the growing list of Corporate Members. It’s inspiring to see each of them fulfilling their innovation and business aspirations with the help of the range of resources available in our MIT-certified Fab Lab.

A fruitful partnership we’ve excitedly been witness to between ABC3D and Selkirk College Applied Research Innovation Centre and recipients of a research grant through the SMARTS Program. SMARTS engages in research resulting in the development of innovative products or services, with the goal of expanding the offerings that local businesses can bring to market.

Earlier this year, Rossland’s Darrel Fry, CEO of Advanced BioCarbon 3D, and Jason Taylor of Selkirk College were awarded $300,000 through the Innovate BC Ignite Program to develop a new type of 3D-printing filament. The research project is focused on creating a new 3D printing filament to address the pressing issue of excessive plastics in 3D printing and manufacturing.

The $300,000 awarded to the project has allowed ABC3D to buy equipment and bring on employees integral to the continuing research and development.

The filament is made from 100% biodegradable, engineering grade plastics and carbon fibre derived from lignin, the natural glue-like fibres found inside of wood.

#MadeatMIDAS_Advance BioCarbon 3D

Well beyond plastic: carbon fibre. Engineering grade AND biodegradable.

ABC3D is an advanced materials company specializing in bi0degradable plastics and carbon fibres and has taken up residence in the MIDAS Fab Lab to expand its research, development, and production.

Looking to come up with a solution for the over-abundance of plastics used, and inevitably, polluting the earth on such an incredible scale, Advanced BioCarbon 3D creates a product that is, remarkably, engineering grade and 100% biodegradable.

Safe for people, animals, and nature, the ABC3D plastics and carbon fibre are created using a closed loop system with no waste. The innovative startup’s beachhead into the industry is biodegradable filaments, in production at MIDAS, extracting resins from wood and mixing them with other polymers to make plastic.

#MadeatMIDAS_Advance BioCarbon 3D

The goal of the business is all at once ambitious and noble. According to Mr. Fry, “We’ve been coming it at it through demand management, trying to promote less use, re-use, recycling and the like. As we all know of course trying to plug the pipe at the end never truly works. Moving to a supply management where rather than using less plastic we aim to use better plastic would seem to be a better route.”

While ABC3D is producing products in the 3D printing filament market, with their engineered grade quality bioplastics, previously unavailable, the company is seeing the huge potential to impact other markets. Specifically, Fry has his eye fixed on carbon fibre filaments to be used in industries such as automotive, airline, solar energy, housebuilding, batteries, and more.

“I don’t see how we can continue down the path of conventional plastics,” said Fry. “The planet can no longer sustain the amount of plastic being put into the oceans and across our landscape, nor can it sustain the carbon emissions from petroleum products. Everyone knows we need to take action.

“Nature has been making (natural plastic) for three billion years, and disposing of it for three billion years. Nature already has in place the bacteria and decomposition team it needs to break down plastic that is made from wood.”

Employee Ian, developing skills and getting the valuable training he needs to further his own professional development with the help of Advanced BioCarbon 3D.ABC3D has taken advantage of other funding opportunities to help develop his innovative products. Through the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) Youth Employment Program (YEP) and Youth-Green Program, on behalf of the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy (YES), the company has hired Ian, who is learning the R and D ropes; developing skills and getting the valuable training he needs to further his own professional development with the help of Advanced BioCarbon 3D.

Fry’s route to sustainability has begun with a blended 3D filament containing 40% of their proprietary wood product and 60% conventional plastic. The goal: subsequent iterations that lead to a truly environmentally sustainable 100% wood bioplastic.

#madeatMIDAS #metaltechalley

Listen to the rest of this amazing story HERE.

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!

Building a Culture of Innovation

Insights from Greg Brouwer, General Manager, Technology and Innovation

Building a Culture of Innovation Insights from Greg Brouwer, General Manager, Technology and Innovation

In January of this year, Greg Brouwer was appointed General Manager, Technology and Innovation, responsible for advancing Teck’s innovation and technology activities and strategy.

In addition to managing that pipeline of activities, Greg and his team are also doing an internal and external scan of ways we can evolve and strengthen our culture of innovation.

Here, Greg shares some observations on what that scan has unearthed and the opportunities that have been revealed.

On Harnessing Energy and Excitement…

“There’s a lot of buzz and excitement in the innovation and technology space, so near-term, one of our focus areas is how to harness that energy and excitement and derive value in the most efficient and effective way.”

“An important part of that is looking at how we can embed a culture of innovation at Teck, which means each of us feeling a responsibility to innovate and also having the mechanisms in place to share ideas.”

“This can be a challenge; how do you unleash the energy in a workforce of 10,000+ and manage that properly so that we’re evaluating ideas efficiently, always with a view of driving real and material value.”

“To help improve that process, we’re doing some benchmarking work to see how other companies have done this really well, and we’re also looking internally, getting feedback from a cross section of business and functional units, to get their views on ways we can effectively harness this energy and drive Teck’s culture of innovation forward.”

On Being Ready for Change…

“A lot of our workforce is very comfortable using powerful technology in their day-to-day lives—it’s actually quite amazing; the mobile phones we carry in our pockets today are millions of times more powerful than the computing technologies NASA used to first land humans on the moon in 1969.”

“At the same time, the cost of those powerful technologies has decreased dramatically.”

“Together, this makes it much easier, and an opportune time, to bring new technologies to Teck and leverage the benefits; we’re excited to see where that will take us over the coming years.”

On Opportunities and the Digital Technology Supercluster…

“Teck’s involvement in Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster has great potential to involve our employees in exciting innovation projects in a completely new way, and also to pilot groundbreaking technology at
Teck sites.”

“As a founding member of the Digital Technology Supercluster, Teck is operating in an ecosystem that’s very different than groups we normally interact with; from start-ups to medium-size tech companies, we’ll have tremendous opportunities to work closely with other companies, non-profits and academia on really big, ambitious goals that have the potential to fundamentally change mining and other industries, in really positive ways.”

Canada’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative

Canada’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative

Announced in February of this year, Teck is a founding member of the Digital Technology Supercluster, one of five Superclusters formed by the Government of Canada as part of their Innovation Superclusters Initiative.

Through the initiative, the Government of Canada is investing up to $950 million—to be matched by the private sector—to support business-led innovation superclusters through high-value, strategic investments with the greatest potential to accelerate economic growth. It’s projected that over the next 10 years, the initiative will generate 50,000 jobs and grow Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) by $50 billion.

The Digital Technology Supercluster is based in B.C. and will advance projects that are guided by defined industry needs. The chosen projects will advance solutions using virtual, mixed and augmented reality, data analytics and quantum computing, to help solve some of the most pressing productivity, health and sustainability challenges facing Canada and the world today.

Originally posted at Teck’s Connect.

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Fun Friday! Learn Something Cool: 3D Design & Printing with TinkerCad

3D Printing Made With TinkerCad_2

If you’re looking for a terrific opportunity to learn the basics of 3D Design, this course is for you!

Using TinkerCad from Autodesk, a powerful and intuitive design program, this course will give you the tools you need to get you started in 3D Design.  Through the power of TinkerCad you can quickly turn your idea into a CAD model for a 3D printer.  

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

Tinkercad is a simple, online 3D design and 3D printing app for everyone.  An easy, browser-based 3D design and modeling tool, Tinkercad allows users to imagine anything and then design it in minutes.  It’s used by designers, hobbyists, teachers, and kids, to make prototypes, home decor, toys, Minecraft models, jewelry – the list is really quite endless!

This course will give starting tools and tips in 3D Design with TinkerCad from Autodesk, a powerful but intuitive to learn design program. Also, how to 3D Print these designs is instructed in this dual class!

TinkerCad SO easy to use!

3D Design & Printing with TinkerCad - MIDAS training

Shapes are the basic building blocks of Tinkercad. Any shape can add or remove material, and you can also import or create your own shapes.

By grouping together a set of shapes you can create new models to work with. Build intricate shapes and create extremely detailed models.

Create vector shapes, then import and extrude them into 3D models.

The possibilities are endless once you learn these fundamentals to 3D Design Printing.  Register NOW to get the fabrication skills you need to bring your idea to life!

Course date:  July 23, 3018.

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Metallurgy & Economic Diversification

Metallurgy and innovation changing the economic development landscape in the Koots

Trail, BC:  small, sunny and scenically situated along the banks of the mighty Columbia River, has long been known as the quintessential, one industry town.  Anchoring the regional economy, mining giant, Teck, has loomed above the river and this small but quaint city, employing hundreds, for generations.

Teck Resources Ltd. has owned and operated the smelter in Trail for over 100 years, producing zinc, lead, silver and a vast array of other metal and chemical products. Teck has invested over $1.5 billion over the last 20 years including in significant environmental improvements in emissions (air quality, dust reduction, effluent quality), recycling zinc and lead, and land and water remediation.

As one of the world’s largest fully integrated zinc and lead smelting and refining complexes, Teck also produces a wide variety of precious and specialty metals, chemicals and fertilizer products. Teck Resources Ltd.’s Applied Research and Technology (ART) group employs research engineers, scientists and management staff.

A strong network of high-performing service businesses are linked to the region’s metallurgical sector, providing opportunities in engineering, environmental services, safety, construction, transportation, fabrication and recycling, and entrepreneurial opportunities to value-add and spin off manufacturing and technology businesses utilizing downstream non-core smelter by-products.

After more than a century of hosting one of the world’s largest lead-zinc integrated smelters, the region surrounding Trail is a hotbed of metallurgical expertise and industrial activity ranging from scientific, environmental and engineering consulting, to electronics recycling, to purifying smelter byproducts to produce materials for the semiconductor industry and other thermal applications.

What is metallurgy?

Metallurgy is “the science and study of the behaviors and properties of metals and their extraction from their ores.” – Practical Metallurgy and Materials of Industry.

Almost every aspect of our present-day existence is reliant on metals. Vast quantities of steels, aluminum, titanium, copper, and nickel alloys are used for automobiles, ships, aircraft, spacecraft, bridges, and buildings as well as the machines required to produce them. Electricity is almost entirely dependent of copper and aluminum. All around us we see the utilization of aluminum, copper, and steels, often in new applications combining metals with plastics and fiber-reinforced composite materials. Some metals such as titanium and zirconium – impossible to smelt or extract from ores just a few years ago – are now used in large quantities and referred to as space-age metals. There are also hundreds of combinations of metals and nonmetals called composites, along with many new tool steels.

Metallurgy pertains to the materials science, welding, machine shop, quality control, and industrial technology industries, each of which share equal responsibility for the design, development and implementation of metals and materials processing in industry today.

When parts fail, it is up to the metallurgist to find the cause of failure through failure analysis. Metal parts often require a specific strength, priligy precio, through heat treatments and microhardness testing to ensure the level of strength is achieved.

Metallurgy plays a role in the production of metals, from extracting from ores to the casting of metals. Every step of the way, from ore to its final form, metallurgists can study the behavior and properties of the metal(s) and offer their experience, advice and guidance towards making a better product.

Potential behind industrial innovation, academia and metallurgical sector

MIDAS is a public-private enterprise initiated by KAST, a non-profit regional economic development organization, and Fenix Advanced Materials, a private company with substantive experience in commercialization of metallurgical industry by-products. This partnership aims to leverage the region’s technical talent, commercialize new products and technologies through applied research and a value-add approach to smelter byproducts, and diversify the local economy.

Innovative businesses and startups need applied R&D (research and development) support to bring new ideas to life. Academic institutions need “real world” experience for their students (4th year undergraduates to PhD technical and business students).  Selkirk College and College of the Rockies offer trades and technical operations programs that support the mining and metallurgy sector.

Through MIDAS matchmaking, entrepreneurs can access mad brains: students, faculty, PhD candidates (and their labs) at highly subsidized rates to complete research and product development. This saves money and adds incredible growth potential to companies.

MIDAS believes industrial innovation and metallurgical sector spin-offs can create high quality, knowledge-driven jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities to be mined.

Want to know more?  Read the recent report describing findings from the Training and Skills Development survey of 40 businesses from across the West Kootenay region of BC, involved in the metallurgical and advanced manufacturing sectors specifically. These surveys were conducted in the fall and winter of 2016/2017.

This survey research is part of a project that aims to identify regional and sector-specific workforce development training needs in the metallurgical and advanced manufacturing sectors in the rural West Kootenay region of BC. Specifically, this project will identify and begin to address the technical and business skills training gaps relating to new technology and additive manufacturing.

Capital investment in MIDAS for metallurgy purposes is required and desired. Want to get involved?

#LearnCreateLaunch #madeatMIDAS #MIDASFabLab #metaltechalley

Membership at MIDAS: What It Can Do For You!

#madeatMIDAS Corporate membership

We at MIDAS are so proud of our Corporate Services.  Membership to the MIDAS Fabrication Lab opens up so many opportunities to expand, develop and grow your business and, ultimately, help you fulfill your innovation or entrepreneurial dreams.

Membership:  beat the competition through rapid prototyping at MIDAS

MIDAS specializes in fast-iteration, short-run and rapid prototyping.  Our membership services are open to regional companies, including start-ups, with a focus on supporting prototype and product commercialization.

Our facility is unique to the entire region, providing members with the best in state-of-the-art modern technology tools – almost half a million dollars in superior digital fabrication equipment and industry leading expertise to help bring your idea or innovation to life!

3D printing technology, CNC milling, vinyl cutting and more!  In addition to the equipment, MIDAS offers the necessary training, providing makers, companies, entrepreneurs and employees with advanced skills to turn business dreams to reality while defining our region as experts in advanced materials/metals and digital fabrication.  With a membership at MIDAS you can get the customized training you need to help you and your business get ahead, embracing new technology and maximizing your business’ potential through the variety of tools and equipment available.  Prototype development can be had at any stage, allowing you to get your product to market faster, hands-on, locally right here in your own backyard.

From engineers to aspiring, innovative entrepreneurs MIDAS customizes the experience to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need to develop your product or service.  Have an idea?  Join the MIDAS corporate membership to help get it out the door!

#madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake #metaltechalley

 

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Fun Friday! Easy & Fun Beginner Maker Ed Projects

banana apple makeymakey DIY beginner maker projects

Maker Ed, or Maker Education, is a new school of educational thought that focuses on delivering constructivist, project-based learning curriculum and instruction to students. As the Maker Movement begins to make inroads into conventional education, maker education spaces are geared to facilitating hands-on learning experiences that incorporate both low and high tech, and can be as large as full high school workshops with high-tech tools, or as small and low-tech as one corner of an elementary classroom.

Maker Ed is particularly effective when leveraging the balance between exploration and execution. Small projects lend themselves to indefinite tinkering and fiddling, while larger projects need complex, coordinated planning. Often, small projects can organically grow into larger and larger projects. This deliberate process strengthens and enriches a learner’s executive functioning skills.

Effective Maker Ed isn’t just about the tools and technology.  Communication and collaboration are two of Maker Ed’s fundamental values. Making allows learners to practice their social communication skills in a variety of ways:  Affinity-based, where students organize themselves in real world and/or Internet (or virtual) to learn something connected to a shared endeavor, interest, or passion; role-specific, where the learning is customized dependent upon the specific tasks and function of the project and the training is presented in the context of a specific role ands what it takes to perform that role; or, teacher-assigned, where the educator facilitates more directly assigning each student to a particular task in the project.  It’s important for all different groups to be present in student learning spaces so that all students can practice their social skills in multiple settings.

Additionally, making offers unique opportunities to generate flow learning, an optimal psychological state that students experience when engaged in an activity that is appropriately challenging to their individual skill levels while encouraging immersion and concentrated focus on a task. Flow learning allows for deeper learning experiences as well as higher levels of personal and work satisfaction where the teacher is better able to leverage high-interest projects and activities and turn them into learning objectives within a curriculum.

Ultimately, we are talking about collaboration and learning through doing.  Maker education provides the space for real-life collaboration, integration across multiple disciplines, and iteration—the opportunity to fail, rework a project and find success.

We at MIDAS are fully committed to supporting the efforts of educators and makers looking to promote a cooperative learning environment where collaboration and education work hand-in-hand encouraging innovation in the most fun and organic ways possible.

New to the Maker Culture and education?  Here are a few fun and easy suggestions to get things going with the young – or old – aspiring makers in your life:

Smaller Scale Maker Ed Projects

Do you want to get into Making and Maker Ed but don’t know where to start? No problem! Here are nine class-tested, teacher-approved ideas, which can be built using a few tools for K–8 students.

tower of power beginner maker projectTowers of Power

Materials:  Paper, Scotch tape.

Tools: Scissors.

A great starting point for a beginning Maker teacher, this “Towers of Power” activity allows students to build towers out of paper and Scotch tape.

Students can build the tallest tower with an unlimited amount of materials, constrain themselves to limited materials or introduce new materials, such as straws and paper clips.

Once it’s complete, have fun crushing the tower with textbooks! Find out which tower holds up the most weight.

This group activity can help students with teamwork, leadership and planning skills. Best of all, variations on this theme are endless — and the materials can be found in any home or office.

simple catapult beginner maker projectCatapults

Materials:  Mouse traps, wood stirring sticks, erasers, wood blocks, ping-pong balls. hot glue.

Tools: a hot glue gun.

 

Introducing elements of STEM, this catapult activity is a favourite project to introduce engineering principles, motion and fun. The catapult allows students to chase down the best launching angle and the ratio between power and arm length, as well as discuss projectile motion, gravity, physics laws and a whole host of other things.

Plus, every student likes trying to smash something apart with a teacher’s permission.

Little hands might pinch themselves handling the strong lever, so it’s good practice to disengage the spring for students while they make their catapults.

Design Challenge Projects

Terrific exercises in STEAM!  And a great way to get into making is to give you and your students a few hours to explore the Making design process. Design challenges are a great way to get this done.

Set a hard time limit, test the devices, take time to evaluate and reflect.

Bridge to Nowhere beginner maker projectBridge to Nowhere

Materials:  Wood craft sticks, hot glue, 5-gallon bucket with weights.

Tools:  Hot glue gun,  diagonal cutters.

Design a bridge to span a foot-long gap and hold as much weight as possible.

An extension could be to build a cantilever — a bridge with only one footing.

Use a set amount of craft sticks or materials in order to encourage creativity in solutions.

Float the Boat

 beginner maker projectFloat the Boat

Materials:  Tinfoil, craft sticks, bamboo skewers, paper, hot glue, clay, wood scraps, pens and markers.

Tools:  Scissors, hot glue guns, craft sticks.

Design a boat that can hold the most cargo, move through the water the fastest, or has the most efficient weight to cargo ratio.

Find the best shape for sails, design the fastest hull and find the balance point.

Egg Drop beginner maker STEM projectEgg Drop

Materials:  Cardboard boxes, packing tape, junk and stuff (the weirder, the better). Think packing materials, fabric scraps, string, rope, plastic bags, etc.

Tools:  Scissors.

Some serious STEM fun!

Throwing eggs off something high always gets kids motivated.

It’s a great way to discuss momentum and illustrate why you should always wear your seat belt!

Beginner Maker projects DIY musical instrumentsInstruments


Materials:  Wood scraps, strings, dried rice, beans, sandpaper, cardboard, cardboard boxes, paper rolls, hot glue, tape, small sections of pipe, etc.

Tools:  Hot glue gun, scissors, hole punch, awl.

If a teacher offers a student the opportunity to make something joyfully noisy, they usually take it.

Homemade, DIY, maker instruments come in all different sizes and types — from wood drums to coffee can shakers, to wind chimes to xylophones, it just takes a bit of a Google search to find great ideas.

Electricity

Once you—parent, teacher, facilitator —get your “legs” for developing and encouraging Maker projects, why not expand your skills?

By now you’ve seen what you and what your kids can do. You’ve probably worked out how to efficiently manage the classroom and supplies, and document learning. Kick it up a level consider some more advanced projects incorporating electricity.

Electromagnetic beginner maker STEM projectElectromagnets



Materials:  Metal bolts, nails, copper wire, batteries.Tools:  Pliers, scissors or wire snips.

Electromagnets illustrate the connection between electricity and magnetism.

In real life, electromagnets are the cornerstone of many common electrical devices, such as door bells, burglar alarms, car doors and electric motors. Students can fiddle with them to create small toys that can pick up ferrous objects.

Squishy Circuits DIY beginner maker projectsSquishy Circuits

Materials:  Battery holder – 4XAA Batteries w/ Switch, (4) AA Batteries, LED – 5mm or 10mm Jumbo, Conductive Dough, Insulating Dough.

Tools:  Hot plate, or stove, and pots, wire snips or scissors.

Squishy circuits are a fun way to learn and explore the basics of electricity and electrical circuits and they solve one of the biggest conundrums with younger Makers: how to build with real electronic components when the young hands have yet to develop the fine motor skills to connect relatively small parts together via grown up tools?

Play dough! Take a piece of flour and a small collection of electronic parts (which you can find online at a low cost.)

You can get all the deets for this project HERE.

banana apple makeymakey DIY beginner maker projectsArduino, Raspberry Pi, MakeyMakey Controller Boards

Materials:

Anything you can get your hands on:   Tinfoil, wires

Tools:  Pliers, scissors, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, MakeyMakey

Once the students have made a few electronic circuits, they might ask for something a bit more complicated.

Give them a programmable microcontroller board, which they can use to play a banana piano, design a custom video game controller or create a dance floor that can play different songs with each tile.

Check out these great microcontroller projects HERE!

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3D Printed Tools: Durable, Functional, Economical & Strong!

3D printed tools at MIDAS Fab Lab

If you’ve picked up your toolbox recently, chances are it was quite an effort.  Overflowing with conventionally manufactured chromium-vanadium alloy items such as wrench sets, your collection of screwdrivers and a seemingly endless selection of socket components, it’s no surprise it weighs a ton!  With the advent of, and increasing ease of access to, 3D printing, now you can save your shoulder – suprisingly strong and durable 3D printed tools can easily replace their steel counterparts.

3D printed tools can be made as you need them

Metal alloys are inarguably very strong, but for many jobs, there’s really only so much an item needs to withstand. Your choice of tool depends significantly on the pressure required and the structure of the design relative to the demands of the task.  And while every material has a limit, the rise of 3D printing for any manner of application, is challenging these limits through effective design.

3D printed tools made at MIDAS Fab Lab

3D printed tools #madeatMIDAS on the fly in the MIDAS booth at the 2018 #BCTECH Summit

3D printed tools are cheap, easy to customize, easily replaceable, and non-conductive. A simple search will bring up most common tools, all of which can be resized with a 3D modeling program to fit your needs.

3D printing creates parts by building up objects one layer at a time.  Infill, print speed, layer thickness, shape and widths all affect the lifespan and grade of wear resistance.

Keep in mind, the materials used aren’t simply the plastic filament you may associate with 3D printing.  The Markforged printers, which we have in the MIDAS Fab Lab, offer a single-step process that produces parts and tools with a custom plastic-carbon fibre composite, capable of making parts that are 20 times stronger and 10 times stiffer than standard ABS plastic.

The company claims that its 3D material can replace machined aluminum in industrial applications. The key is Markforged thermoplastic fiber filament, which incorporates a “strand of continuous fiberglass” into the carbon fiber for added strength.

Given the increasing ease with which industrial grade tools can be made, NASA has been making headlines with their own 3D printing projects. Robert Hillan’s multipurpose precision maintenance tool contains a variety of wrenches, wire gauge, and stripper, as well as a way to utilize drill bits.  Part of the “on demand” focus of the testing, NASA also successfully 3D printed a working ratchet wrench.

As NASA understands and proves with each production, one of the main advantages of additive manufacture is the speed at which parts can be produced compared to traditional manufacturing methods. Complex designs can be uploaded from a CAD model and printed in a few hours. The advantage of this is the rapid verification and ongoing,  iterative development of design ideas.

Printing a tool or part with a printer such as that of Markforged can be 50 times faster than carving it out of aluminum and 20 times cheaper as there’s no wasted material. For example, a small bike valve wrench takes about 10 minutes to print.

Wrench made in space by NASA

One of the biggest concerns for a product designer is how to manufacture a part as efficiently as possible. Most parts require a large number of manufacturing steps to be produce by traditional technologies. The order these steps occur affects the quality and manufacturability of the design.

Consider a custom steel bracket that is made via traditional manufacturing methods:

As with additive manufacturing, the process begins with a CAD model. Once the design is finalized, fabrication begins with first cutting the steel profiles to size. The profiles are then clamped into position and welded one at a time to form the bracket. Sometimes a custom jig will need to be made up to ensure all components are correctly aligned. The welds are then polished to give a good surface finish. Next holes are drilled so the bracket can be mounted on the wall. Finally, the bracket is sandblasted, primed and painted to improve its appearance.

Conversely, additive manufacturing machines complete a build in one step, with no interaction from the machine operator during the build phase. As soon as the CAD design is finalized, it can be uploaded to the machine and printed in one step in only a couple of hours.

The ability to produce a part in one step greatly reduces the dependence on different manufacturing processes (machining, welding, painting) and gives the designer greater control over the final product.

The advantages to 3D printing anything, including tools, are making their way into the public consciousness, particularly as access becomes more readily available.  Fabrication labs like ours at MIDAS, where the equipment and training are made available to both corporate and public users, increase the ease with which tools, parts or just about anything else can be easily prototyped and produced for a fraction of the cost of conventional means.

If you’re interested in learning more about the possibilities here at MIDAS, please contact us.  If you’d like to see the valuable training we have available to take advantage of our state-of-the-art facilities, check out our course calendar.

#madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake #metaltechalley

 

 

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Fun Friday: 20 Day Giveaway – KAST’s 20th Anniversary Contest!

KAST 20th Anniversary giveaway

In honour of 20th Anniversary of the Kootenay Association of Science & Technology (KAST), they, along with the team here at MIDAS thought, what better way to celebrate than to give away some great innovative stuff!

To help KAST celebrate and to enter the giveaway, we ask that you simply like the KAST Facebook page and enter your email (daily!) for the chance to win some great swag.   The perfect opportunity for anyone interested in trying the facilities here at the MIDAS Fab Lab because on the block is a great grand prize pack, which includes a 1 month membership at MIDAS, along with 2 FREE MIDAS courses of your choosing.

There’s other great stuff, too, and all the prizes are completely transferrable so be sure to consider the creative innovator or maker in your family, home, or office and make it happen!

The contest opens today and runs for 20 days, don’t delay!

So, help to celebrate 20 years supporting science, tech, business, startups and all things innovation in the Koots and be sure to visit KAST on Facebook, like us, leave your info each day until mid-June, and increase your chances to win!

Thanks to all and good luck!  Click HERE to enter!

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Step on the Gas! Grow Your Idea, Startup, Business: BC Venture Acceleration Program

BC Venture Accelerator Program

The BC Venture Acceleration Program is a huge stomp on the gas pedal of your business, designed to launch and grow your technology idea, start-up or business venture – faster and more successfully.

On the heels of the abundance of inspiration the MIDAS and KAST teams enjoyed at the recent #BCTECH Summit, we thought it a good idea to remind the growing number of local aspiring entrepreneurs and new businesses about what’s available to them to grow your idea or startup and take it to the next level.

A structured program, BC Venture Acceleration Program (BCVAP) is designed to guide, coach and grow ambitious early‐stage technology entrepreneurs and effectively grow their technology ventures. The program helps entrepreneurs accelerate the process of defining a proven business model based on a set methodology and set of best practices for growing technology companies.

In short, BCVAP offers participants dedicated attention from an experienced Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR), a “been there, done it” technology and business professional.

The goal of the program is to drive economic development and job creation in the province of BC by accelerating the commercialization of technology, resulting in the rapid growth of technology ventures.

The Kootenay Association for Science & Technology (KAST) has been delivering the BCVAP program for several years and is proud of the roster of companies that has taken advantage of the program and its resources, successfully making huge strides growing their businesses.

Each of these local companies is growing rapidly, developing their innovations and businesses not only in the region, but well beyond!

The Venture Acceleration Program is delivered by a team of Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) and supported by a province‐wide network of partners and entrepreneurs. Together, they make up the BC Acceleration Network, an alliance of regional partners, EIRs and executive-level mentors.

Find out more HERE!

#madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake

Don’t forget that our specialized team here at MIDAS, and the state-of-the-art equipment and associated training are here to support your entrepreneurial and startup endeavours!

So much to help you launch the idea or business you’ve been dreaming of!