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.

GE Additive and GE Capital Collaborate to Sell Metal Additive Manufacturing Machines

GE Capital will develop a range of customised financial solutions for its customers.

GE Additive is to collaborate with GE Capital to sell and finance metal additive manufacturing machines.
Manufacturing companies will now have more ways to access transformative 3D printing technology, spurring growth in several critical markets including medical, aerospace, automotive and machining.

GE Capital will develop a range of customised financial solutions for its customers. These solutions will allow GE Additive customers the ability to access strategic and flexible financing solutions to acquire this transformative manufacturing technology in countries around the globe.

“Our dual expertise both in manufacturing and in equipment finance, allows us to create competitive financial solutions that support our customers’ strategic business goals,” said Trevor Schauenberg, President and CEO of GE Capital Industrial Finance. “Additive manufacturing is a key contributor to the manufacturing evolution, we’re excited to enable its growth.”

Read more HERE.

Science Exposed

Say cheese! Science Exposed is back!

Science Exposed

NSERC has recently launched its Science Exposed contest, in collaboration with l’Acfas. The image contest challenges Canadians to combine creativity and science for a chance to win one of four cash prizes of up to $2,000.

The Science Exposed contest is devoted exclusively to images of scientific research, in all fields of study. We invite all to review the contest rules before capturing your image.

Contest closes on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, at 11:59 p.m. (ET).

A French version of this competition, called La preuve par l’image is also organized by l’Association francophone pour le savoir (Acfas) in collaboration with NSERC.

Submit Your Research Image Today! @NSERC_CRSNG @_Acfas

What is 3D Printing? A How-To to Additive Manufacturing

What is 3D Printing? A How-To to Additive Manufacturing

What is 3D Printing? A How-To to Additive Manufacturing3D Printing is an additive manufacturing process that creates a physical object from a digital design.

Though the 3D printing technologies and materials upon which digital designs are printed may vary, the principle is the same: a digital model is turned into a solid three-dimensional physical object by adding material layer by layer.

How does 3D printing work?

Every model begins with a digital design.  Using a digital 3D design file – essentially, a blueprint – and is sliced into thin layers which is then sent to the 3D printer.

From here the printing process can vary by technology, from desktop printers that melt a plastic material and lay it down onto a print platform to large industrial machines that use a laser to selectively melt metal powder at high temperatures. The printing can take hours to complete depending on the size, and the printed objects are often post-processed to reach the desired finish.

Available materials also vary by printer type, ranging from plastics to rubber, sandstone, metals and alloys – with more and more materials appearing on the market every year.

A Brief History of 3D Printing

Although 3D printing is commonly thought of as a new ‘futuristic’ concept, it has actually been around for more than 30 years.

Chuck Hull invented the first 3D printing process called ‘stereolithography’ in 1983. In a patent, he defined stereolithography as ‘a method and apparatus for making solid objects by successively “printing” thin layers of the ultraviolet curable material one on top of the other’. This patent only focuses on ‘printing’ with a light curable liquid, but after Hull founded the company ‘3D Systems’, he soon realized his technique was not limited to only liquids, expanding the definition to ‘any material capable of solidification or capable of altering its physical state’. With this, he built the foundation of what we now know today as additive manufacturing (AM) – or 3D printing.

So, why all the excitement over 3D printing today?

Until 2009, 3D printing was mostly limited to industrial uses, but then the patent for fused deposition modeling (FDM) – one of the most common 3D printing technologies – expired.

Through the RepRap project’s mission to build a self-replicating machine, the first desktop 3D printer was born. As more and more manufacturers followed, what once cost $200,000 suddenly became available for below $2000, and the consumer 3D printing market took off in 2009.

3D printer sales have been growing ever since, and as additive manufacturing patents continue to expire, more innovations can be expected in the years to come. There are now roughly 300,000 consumer 3D printers in the world – and this figure is doubling every year.

Thank you, CANADA Makes!


Graduate Student – Research Assistant, Mining & Metallurgical

Grad Student Research Opportunity: Research Assistant, Mining and Metallurgical

Graduate Student – Research Assistant, Mining & MetallurgicalAs part of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) funded project entitled Regional Workforce Development in Rural BC, the Regional Innovation Chair is seeking a graduate student to produce a labour market profile for the mining and metallurgical sector in the Columbia Basin-Boundary region of southeast BC.

The labour market profile will include current and projected labour market needs for the Columbia Basin-Boundary region, identification of opportunities for longer term employment in related emerging industries/sectors, and identification of strategic connections to relevant provincial and national level labour market strategies. Research must adhere to Province of BC Labour Market Information Research Guidelines.

Closing Date: November 24, 2016.


  •   Current graduate student in a relevant discipline
  •   Research and/or professional experience in one or more of the following:
    • Workforce development
    • Rural communities and regional development
    • Knowledge of the sector
  •   Experience gathering, synthesizing, and summarizing information for decision makers and the public
  •   Experience with labour market research
  •   Ability to work independently a must

This is a short term contract appointment up to 120 hours. The rate of pay is $21.59/hr plus 6% vacation pay.

The position will commence December 1, 2016 and end February 28, 2017.

Interested and qualified applicants are invited to email: a detailed resume, cover letter, and three work references no later than 4:00 pm (PST) on the closing date to with reference to the position title in the email subject line.

Please send separate applications for each position you apply for indicating the position and competition number in the subject line.

In compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, submission of your resume, cover letter and references for the interested position constitutes authorization for the College to check the applicant’s references.

Selkirk College is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace that empowers all employees to reach their full potential and where each member of the college community shares a responsibility for developing and maintaining a healthy work environment in which differences are valued. The college welcomes applications from persons with disabilities, visible minorities, and Aboriginal people. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.

Selkirk College appreciates the interest of all applicants, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.


New Ways To Benefit From New Technologies

New Ways To Benefit From New Technologies

Media Release~

With new technologies such as 3D printers, 3D scanners and computer numeric control (CNC) machines beginning to hit the mainstream, it is easier than ever for businesses to benefit from their use.

Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, “New technologies are giving businesses more and more opportunities to grow, and it is important that there are people ready to step into jobs to do just that. I’m excited for the findings of this study, which will give us more information on what we can do to better prepare the workforce to meet the coming demand.”

Finding employees who are trained to use that technology is the difficult part, as is figuring out how new technology can fit into business plans. But the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST) is set to learn more about what can be done to fill that gap. Through a new study, KAST plans to identify skills gaps and training opportunities in the Kootenay metallurgical and manufacturing industries thanks to more than $26,000 in government funding.

KAST is a non-profit organization that offers business-development services such as coaching, expertise, training, and development projects to stimulate the growth of applied science and technology entrepreneurship.

Through their Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration and Studies (MIDAS) centre and interviews of at least 40 local businesses, KAST plans to find new ways to train job seekers on these new technologies, while giving businesses a better idea of how new technologies can help grow their operations.

Amber Hayes, MIDAS project director, Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration and Studies, “We will be determining the technical skills and knowledge level our local industry requires. Research and future programing analysis will be completed via the new MIDAS Fab Lab team and regional partners Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation, Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute and Selkirk College. This initiative will support local business and employment, and elevates our community in its understanding and leveraging of technology to its benefit. We are excited to receive the Labour Market Partnership funding to survey our local industry and begin this valuable process.”

Government funding will help KAST report on specific training needs from local employers in the advanced manufacturing and metallurgical sectors and create a strategy for delivering those needs.

It is a study aimed at creating better opportunities for people in the Kootenays to gain a foothold in B.C.’s growing technology sector while helping businesses reach their full potential.

Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation funding for the project is provided through Labour Market Partnerships stream of the Community and Employer Partnerships program, which funds projects that increase employability levels and shares labour market information.

Community and Employer Partnerships are featured in B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint and provides support to people who are struggling to gain a foothold in the job market. It also helps build stronger partnerships with industry and labour to connect British Columbians with classroom instruction and on-the-job training, while making it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers they need – when and where they need them.

The project aligns with the #BCTECH Strategy, a key component of the BC Jobs Plan to support the growth of B.C.’s vibrant technology sector and strengthen British Columbia’s diverse innovation economy. The multi-year strategy includes a $100-million BC Tech Fund and initiatives to increase talent development and market access for tech companies that will drive innovation and productivity throughout the province.

In partnership with the BC Innovation Council, the province is hosting B.C.’s second #BCTECH Summit, March 14-15, 2017, with made-in-B.C. tech innovations, thought-provoking keynotes and outstanding networking opportunities. To register or learn more, go to:

Quick Facts:

  • MIDAS is an applied research, commercialization and digital fabrication training facility in Trail focused on the metallurgical sector in the region surrounding the Teck Trail Operations smelter.
  • In 2016-17, the Ministry of Social development and Social Innovation has committed to investing $331 million in employment and labour market programs under the Employment Program of British Columbia.
  • The Employment Program of BC is funded by the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada through the Labour Market Development Agreement.
  • Funding supports 84 WorkBC Employment Services Centres throughout the province and the five components of the Community and Employer Partnerships fund:
    • Job Creation Partnerships
    • Labour Market Partnerships
    • Project-Based Labour Market Training
    • Research and Innovation
    • Social Innovation

Who is eligible for Community and Employer Partnerships funding?

  • Businesses
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Crown corporations
  • Municipalities, agencies or territorial governments
  • First Nation bands/tribal councils
  • Public health and educational institutions

Learn More:

Learn more about the Kootenay Association of Science and Technology:

For more information on Community and Employer Partnerships:

Find a local WorkBC Employment Services Centre:

Learn more about the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation:

For more information on B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint:

To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan:

For more information about the #BCTECH Strategy:

Learn more about the #BCTECH Summit coming in March 2017:

Originally posted at BC Gov News.


Kootenays MIDAS Fab Lab featured on CBC

In case you missed it MIDAS Fab Lab was recently featured on CBC. The interview sports some fun sound intros and covers the awesome of MIDAS from the accessibility to 400k of leading edge additive and digital fabrication equipment to MIDAS offering the region training whether individual or commercial in understanding what the equipment is, why it is important and how to work it.

“Entrepreneurs, engineers and people who like to tinker in the West Kootenay can now get access to some of the latest digital fabrication technology.The Kootenay Association for Science and Technology opened the MIDAS Fab Lab earlier this month. The lab and others like them around the world, provide public access to high-tech manufacturing equipment.

MIDAS program director, Amber Hayes, shows off a prosthetic hand created at the Fab Lab. “It’s a 6,000 sq. ft. lab and it hosts about $400,000 in cutting edge equipment that the public is able to use via membership,” said MIDAS program director, Amber Hayes, to CBC reporter, Bob Keating.Among the equipment available to use at the lab are 3-D scanners, 3-D printers and computer-controlled machining tools.
“We can do things like using a 3-D scanner to scan an item and then we can print it on a 3-D printer and folks can use that as a prototype,” said Hayes.”Or they can come to us with pictures and designs and input those and actually print them out in a hard copy version of what that design was, so everything from drones, planes, pieces for equipment, to you name it, you can pretty much design it and print it here.”

“The finger pieces are actually made using the 3-D printer,” said Hayes. “And we can do the robotics here in order to make those fingers move … as well as teaching people how to do basic programing to make that work.”

Besides providing access to equipment, the MIDAS Fab Lab also provides technical training and business coaching through the Kootenay Association for Science & Technology or KAST’s Venture Acceleration Program. Memberships for the West Kootenay lab are available to the general public and range from $25 for a one-day drop-in to $480 for a full year.Hayes says the region is already home to lots of people who “are working in their basements or they’re soldering in their kitchens.””They need access to better equipment and some of the businesses out there may have concepts that they want to prototype but don’t have access to close to half-a-million-dollars worth of equipment. MIDAS will provide that for them.”

KAST built the $2 million MIDAS Fab Lab with funding from the federal government… (Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) and locally the Columbia Basin Trust.

To listen to Bob Keating’s Daybreak South story click on the link: New B.C. Fab Lab brings high tech tools to the public

CBC Article:
CBC Radio show:

New Courses for October

Midas Fab Lab has a number of new courses including 1-2 hr. competency courses to introduce you to equipment as well as longer workshops that involve multiple pieces of equipment that give you the skills to create a project. Visit the MIDAS Course page to view the calendar.

MIDAS Fab Lab Creaform 3D Scanner intro and Demo class

Here is a snippet of the class in video format. The Creaform scans at the micron level. Watch the video to witness the amazing detail. It makes capturing an object and importing it into to design software for prototyping, editing and/or printing saves time, money and improves accuracy.

The LAB (new images)

A few photos to give you a look the inside of MIDAS

Metal lab


Electronic Lab feat. Arduino powered robo arm (we can show you how to make this at MIDAS)


The Delta printer creating..


CNC devices

Learning Center

Also check our equipment page..