Wobbler Conveyor Prototype

#madeatMIDAS: I/O Designs Wobbler Conveyor Prototype

#MadeAtMIDAS-IO Designs Wobbler Conveyor Prototype
MIDAS makes recent advances in manufacturing technology, which includes 3D Printing, accessible to West Kootenay companies, entrepreneurs and students.

This is #madeatMIDAS where we showcase the variety of incredible applications possible with products created here at the MIDAS fabrication lab.

MIDAS supports the expansion and development of local small and medium-sized companies’ strengths in collaborating, adopting technology, and creating new and marketable products while promoting skills training opportunities in digital fabrication and metallurgical technology for entrepreneurs, company personnel and students.

I/O Design was presented with a challenging materials handling problem by one of our industrial clients. A flow of process material required lumps to be separated from the dust that forms the majority of the process stream. The existing equipment used was not capable of consistently removing the lumps which would become caught in the screening equipment causing it to block, leading to both process problems and fugitive dust emissions. Any replacement equipment needs to be located in a restricted design envelope between existing equipment and connect to existing screw conveyors and chutework.

After a brainstorming session to identify alternative methods to separate the process stream, I/O Design settled on a wobbler conveyor as a likely candidate for reliable separating the lumps from the dust. To prove the feasibility to our client we utilized the Midas facility to build a full size model from wood. The critical equipment provided by Midas was the Shopbot CNC Router which allowed us to utilize DXF files created during our 3D design process to cut irregular shapes from 4’x8’ sheets of MDF. This allowed a prototype to be built, tested and refined for approximately 10% of the cost of building the actual equipment from steel.

I/O Design was able to build, test and refine the design prior to conducting a live demonstration of the wobbler conveyor to our client. The demonstration and explanation of how the actual equipment will operate provided the client the reassurance required to proceed with the building of the actual equipment.

Bring your idea and let MIDAS help you make it come to life!

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#madeatMIDAS Let Grow Urns

#madeatMIDAS: Let Grow Urns

#madeatMIDAS Let Grow Urns
MIDAS makes recent advances in manufacturing technology, which includes 3D Printing, accessible to West Kootenay companies, entrepreneurs and students.

This is #madeatMIDAS where we showcase the variety of incredible applications possible with products created here at the MIDAS fabrication lab.

MIDAS supports the expansion and development of local small and medium-sized companies’ strengths in collaborating, adopting technology, and creating new and marketable products while promoting skills training opportunities in digital fabrication and metallurgical technology for entrepreneurs, company personnel and students.

Let Grow Urns materialized in November 2016 out of a hardship that all pet owners eventually encounter. After many years of companionship, the Cleland’s were burdened with the loss of their beloved family pet Ginger. Already faced with the vet bills, they now had to deal with the task of finding a suitable urn and awaiting its arrival.

Inspired with a great idea and through valuable assistance at the MIDAS lab, Gordon could create something as unique and special as Ginger was, in honor of her. He quickly got to work designing a custom made urn, and during this process he had a eureka moment. Printing with biodegradable PLA plastic, Gordon was able to include something very special. He added wildflower seeds to the urn, so that when the time came, Ginger’s urn could be buried, returning her to the earth where something as beautiful could then grow.  And thus, Let Grow Urns was born.

“Being a member of MIDAS has allows me to bring my many ideas to life, truly amazing leadership and staff. If you’re a hacker/inventor this is the place to be a part of.  My experience with MIDAS has been life changing, it’s given me the education and guidance to bring my many ideas to life.
Thank you MIDAS!”
Bring your idea and let MIDAS help you make it come to life!

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#madeatMIDAS: Austin Engineering


MIDAS makes recent advances in manufacturing technology, which includes 3D Printing, accessible to West Kootenay companies, entrepreneurs and students.

This is #madeatMIDAS where we showcase the variety of incredible applications possible with products created here at the MIDAS fabrication lab.

MIDAS supports the expansion and development of local small and medium-sized companies’ strengths in collaborating, adopting technology, and creating new and marketable products while promoting skills training opportunities in digital fabrication and metallurgical technology for entrepreneurs, company personnel and students.

Austin Engineering provides clients with cutting-edge solutions and innovative designs developed in part at their research & development space in the MIDAS facility.  At their R & D facility at MIDAS they utilize 3D printed modelling of spillways, dams and flow pathways; spillway and hydraulic structure modelling; and cutting-edge fluid mechanics.

Additional areas of research and development include robotics and aerial inspection tools. Austin Engineering Ltd., is committed to providing innovative designs that allow clients to optimize their projects and meet budgets.

Austin Engineering has deeply valued the opportunity to be a part of the MIDAS facility since its opening. Brad, the space, and meeting other like minded businesses and tech enthusiasts expanded our vision on what was possible for our business. We have been able to demonstrate our innovative offerings to many of the stakeholders and had our staff able to access and train on equipment that would have been beyond our reach otherwise. We look forward to seeing all the positive developments and startups that come from the facility.

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MIDAS Regional Impact Results: Year 2 Quarter 4

So proud of the range of fantastic work being done here at MIDAS!  Take a look at the impressive results right out of the gate:

MIDAS Regional Impact Results: Year 2 Quarter 3

So proud of the range of fantastic work being done here at MIDAS!  Take a look at the impressive results right out of the gate:

Wanted: Administrative Coordinator MIDAS Fab Lab

Wanted: Administrative Coordinator MIDAS Fab Lab

Wanted: Administrative Coordinator MIDAS Fab Lab MIDAS (Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration & Studies) is a project of the Kootenay Association for Science & Technology (www.kast.com). MIDAS offers the best “FAB”rication equipment available in the Kootenays for public, academic & commercial use. The building is a newly renovated accessible space with state of the art, enterprise-level equipment and training on that equipment including: 3D Printers, 3D scanners, CNC milling equipment, woodworking, an electronics lab, teaching and co-working space and more.

Main responsibilities of the MIDAS Administrative Coordinator will be to provide support to the Lab Director, and to provide exceptional customer service to MIDAS members, potential members, the general public and our commercial clientele.  On a day-to-day basis, you will be expected to ensure the website, social media, training and operations calendars are updated, member information is accurate and current, assist with FabLab inquiries as needed, monitor lab usage, update and maintain all documents and manuals, ensure safety procedures are followed immaculately, and other operational duties as required. To achieve this, you will be working as part of a progressive team. You will be working at the FabLab reception desk.

Requirements and Qualifications: KAST is looking for a creative and motivated individual with confidence, judgement, flexibility, a desire to learn, a love of detail and a sense of humour. You will need to be outgoing and provide a high level of service while remaining professional and discreet.  You will have preferably completed post-secondary education and will have a minimum of 5 years of customer service/office management experience.  You will have demonstrated time management and organization skills, and adore detail and other forms of geekery. You will be willing to work flexible hours from Monday-Friday.  You will be at the front line at MIDAS, and you will be ready at any given moment to switch tasks multiple times throughout the day to accommodate the needs of members, the Lab Director, and other operational staff at the facility. That said, we’re super fun. Promise!

Hours per week: 40
Hourly rate ($): $19
Salary ($): $39,520
Closing date: May 24, 2017
To Apply: Email info@kast.com with resume and cover letter. No calls please.

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Metal Additive Design Guide

A new introductory design guide for metal 3D printing is now available.

Canada Makes is proud to announce the launch of the Metal Additive Design Guide and invites you to explore this great new tool. The Guide was developed to assist companies interested in trying metal additive manufacturing (AM). Following the same format as the Metal Additive Process Guide, the Metal Additive Design Guide is once again a free service that introduces certain concepts needed when designing for additive manufacturing (DfAD).

Metal-additive-design-guide-2-300x182“The Metal Additive Design Guide is easy to use, interactive, offering useful information for newcomers to this technology,” said Frank Defalco, Manager Canada Makes. “Its primary function is to help guide Canadian SMEs looking at metal AM and how it might be added to their process. It’s a great educational resource bringing great value to users and it’s just plain cool.”

Simple, yet crucial questions like, “how big can my parts be” or, “what materials can I use” are answered in this interactive app. The Guide is not designed for the experienced metal AM user but rather someone looking for quick and straightforward answers regarding DfAM.

“Canada Makes’ goal is to assist Canadian industry in adopting additive manufacturing and the Metal Additive Design Guide continues in that vain where the Metal Additive Process Guide left off,” added Defalco.

Time saving is one of the major advantage in adopting AM processes versus traditional manufacturing. Through this free resource SMEs can receive quick answers to certain concepts about metal additive. The Guide will help speed up Canada’s manufacturing sector in understanding the capabilities of metal AM. This knowledge should expand AM adoption and invigorate Canada’s burgeoning AM supply chain, growing Canada’s competitiveness.

Check it out HERE!

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CBT Puts New Economic Development Plan Into Action

Trust Puts Economic Development Plan into Action

Working with entrepreneurs to bring ideas to life

CBT Puts New Economic Development Plan Into ActionColumbia Basin Trust has a vision for economic growth and is putting a new plan into action. The Trust is purchasing a commercial building in the Waneta Industrial Park near Trail and working with a local tech industry entrepreneur to fill the facility with new jobs and new opportunities in what it sees as a model for future projects.

“The Trust’s vision for economic development is to be a leader, a catalyst and an investor. We want to support economic growth, job creation and entrepreneurial opportunities in the Basin,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Trust President and Chief Executive Officer.

“Our intention with this project is to take a dormant facility and work with a company or companies that will fully utilize the building and the area’s workforce. This is much more than a building. The Trust is the catalyst for this entrepreneurial opportunity to bring ideas to life,” Strilaeff said.

Local technology entrepreneur Brian Fry of Rossland and his business partners, Pilar Portela and Tim Dufour, plan to create an innovation centre for their data technology company and establish a venture capital corporation to help emerging companies expand.

“The structure was originally built to leverage the world-leading metallurgical capabilities of the region. Now, with the Trust’s economic development focus and patient capital, we can once again leverage these capabilities and complementary tech industry opportunities,” Fry said.

“The Trust’s strategy is to maximize economic opportunities in all regions of the Basin, be that through increased employment, local investment or business development. This building is an example of an asset that can help achieve that vision,” Strilaeff said.

Economic development is a high priority with residents, businesses and local governments throughout the Basin. The Trust developed a new economic development strategic framework in 2016 to take a more proactive role in growing the Basin’s economy and allocated $20 million over three years to put the strategy into action.

Learn more about the Trust’s economic initiatives here.

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MIDAS Fab Lab, A Golden Opportunity

Originally published at Trail Times.

As the Fab Lab says, “incubators aren’t just for chicks anymore.”

That said, there has been a flock of newbie techies walking through the front doors of MIDAS every week since the state-of-the-art facility opened in Trail last fall.

Known as “Mr. Technology,” Lab Director Brad Pommen has introduced almost 1,000 people from all walks of life to the Glenmerry space – even on a snowy Friday evening (Feb. 3) nine people were signed up for a laser cutting and 3D printing tutorial.

“Since opening, we’ve run 218 people through courses and just over 600 in tours,” Pommen began. “And I just ran 150 high school students, from J.L. Crowe and Stanley Humphries, through here over two days.”

MIDAS (Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration Studies) is a multimillion-dollar technology base that offers its membership the skills and courses required to operate advanced machines such as 3D printers, 3D scanners, laser cutters and CNC milling equipment.

The lab is available to beginner and advanced learners over the age of 16. No matter the level of expertise, however, all users must complete a competency course designed to get them using one or more pieces of the costly equipment. Safety precautions are posted and respective manuals are on hand, however, Pommen and the MIDAS floor staff are always nearby to ensure each machine is used safely – after all, the equipment is top notch and worth at least a half million dollars.

So it’s not a stretch to say that creative minds and innovators in the region, like Nicolene McKenzie, Mich Duvernet and Eric Holloway, would be limited in terms of technological opportunity without the regional MIDAS ‘fab’rication space.

The Trail Times dropped by the facility during a blustery Friday afternoon (Feb. 3), curious about who actually uses the lab on a typical day as well as the “why” such sophisticated equipment is needed. All three people in the digital laboratory drove over an hour on slushy roads to get to the Trail site, and all three were intensely focused on their prototype design.

Nicolene McKenzie is a recent graduate from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. After completing the Industrial Design Program, she moved back to her hometown of Nelson for a bit of a breather while exploring her next career move.
MIDAS fits into the picture as a vital resource the young designer needs to up her game with hands-on experience.

“I was very familiar with 3D printing, laser cutting and the CNC machine,” McKenzie explained. “But the program (Emily Carr) was very busy, and I didn’t get a lot of chance (to use the equipment). So I am looking to explore this area more, and how I can bring that to my practice which is designing products, as well as my artistic practice.”

She found out about the Trail facility through word of mouth, recently completed the “Shopbot CNC” course, and was walking through the program that afternoon.
“For me this will be more hands on, because at school we sent our (design) files to the technician and they did the work,” she said. “Today I am going to try cutting out some basic shapes to use for jewelry or tile designs -this is my first time so it is exciting for me.”

Seated at another table that afternoon were two friends from Winlaw.

Originally from Ottawa, Mich Duvernet, a former ski guide, brought along computer savvy Eric Holloway. They also recently completed the Shopbot CNC course and were gearing up to begin prototyping a lighting fixture.
The digital fabrication laboratory or “Fab Lab” is intended for rapid prototyping and training in additive manufacturing, which is a method of building 3D objects by adding layer upon layer of material, such as plastic, metal, wood or concrete.
Users are able to quickly create a model of an item like a mechanical part, for example, using 3D computer-aided design and 3D printer. Electronics, circuit construction, CNC machines, molding, casting, metalwork and woodwork are other areas of focus.

“We are working on a lighting design that I am bringing to market,” said Duvernet. “I’ve been doing a lot of this kind of stuff, like the finicky bits and pieces by hand. Since I know what I am going to make, now I am able to make those parts in such a way that they are just perfect,” he added. “So when when it gets presented, it’s more on the professional level and the transition to manufacturing is really easy.”

Following MIDAS’ orientation, Duvernet says he was ready to tap into his creative potential.
“You start with simple shapes and then the more you do, the more it opens up new possibilities. And the imagination starts working in a different way … rather than being limited, maybe down the road I can take this know-how and use it somewhere else.”

With a computer background, Holloway was on hand to help out with the software program. However, the MIDAS lab was proving to be a valuable learning tool for him as well.
“I want to be able to output (send design file) to these kind of machines, more than I have been doing,” Holloway said. “I’ve been doing that part of it for awhile, but haven’t actually run the machines. It’s kind of like I don’t really know what is happening on that end, so I want to be able to do that – and I am getting more hands on with some very expensive pieces of equipment.”

And at the end of the day, that is the MIDAS goal – to familiarize users with advanced equipment and provide the appropriate training to get the most out of the facility and its equipment based on those specific needs.

For Pommen, it’s all in a days work.
He’s always on hand to help, but he’s not there to do the actual project.
“They might say, ‘I have it loaded, now what?” he chuckled. “And I’ll say, ‘Let’s push the button together.’”

Incubators Aren’t Just for Chicks Anymore

Incubator spaces are becoming instrumental for small business growth. How can someone wanting to create a drone possibly afford the necessary equipment, which ranges in the tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars? By sharing it with other entrepreneurs who have similar aspirations. Enter the MIDAS lab.

MIDAS is a handy acronym that flows off the tongue a little easier than Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration & Studies. Another simplified title of the new MIDAS lab in Trail, B.C., would be metallurgical innovation centre. That’s how co-creator Don Freschi describes this new enterprise.

“We want to work around metals and focus on metallurgical products within a fab-lab setting,” he said. “We got the 3-D printers, metal working station, woodworking stations, everything focused around the metallurgical sector.”

A place with plenty of space

The MIDAS lab is a building that houses a variety of equipment used to manipulate metals and plastics for projects that small business owners can utilize. Space is available in the MIDAS building to set up shop and collaborate with other visionaries and businesses in need of high-tech equipment.

“You can come in, drop by and join up—MIDAS is offering memberships,” he said. “We’ve kept about 3,000 square feet in the back for incubating new companies. Right now there’s Fenix, KAST Materials  and Austin Engineering.”

Diverse gadgetry

The technology within the MIDAS lab is nothing to snuff at either. There’s a $100,000 laser scanner in which you scan something, bring it into a computer, manipulate it, make your own design, then print it in 3-D to create a prototype. The lab is stocked with tons of woodworking equipment capable of cutting fibreglass, wood and metals as well as laser cutters that can slice through an inch of steel.

“You can prototype anything you want,” said Freschi. “If you have an idea, you can make it in there.”

Turning vision into reality

Undertaking a project of this magnitude wasn’t simple but somehow Freschi and his collaborators managed to achieve their goal. “With MIDAS, all the stars aligned,” he said. “What we’ve pulled off is incredible.”

Freschi said the first step to get an innovation centre going is to start with a co-working space—a get-together area where people can discuss and share the same interests. From there it can become a formal technology group and evolves thereafter. Next comes funding, industry buy-in, academia buy-in and local buy-in.

“It’s a long process,” he said, “but MIDAS is a good example. We have the model. We did it. It’s just a matter of working through the steps to make it happen.”

Originally posted at Kootenay Business.