Made at MIDAS


Lab Director, Brad Pommen, demonstrates the CNC plasma cutter on opening day at the MIDAS Lab in Trail, BC. Showing off a “Made at MIDAS” prototype, members can learn how to use the metal cutting machine with a standard whiteboard marker in place of the live torch. “Building our own tools is what MIDAS is all about. Taking a problem, finding a solution and being able to pursue a meaningful end is where good business ideas start. This fab lab will help democratize tools and resources into the hands of makers, this is where we show the world that technology comes from the heart of the Kootenays.

MIDAS in the News: Rossland and Trail attracting technology talent


Rossland is best known for its skiing. Over the years, it has produced a disproportionate number of Olympic skiers – Nancy Greene Raine among them – and has been voted one of the top 10 places in the world to visit by the New York Times and No. 1 ski town in North America by Powder Magazine.
But the tiny B.C. town of 3,600 – tucked away in the bottom southeast corner of the province – is reinventing and marketing itself as the next satellite of Silicon Valley North….

Trail, however, which is just a 10-minute drive from Rossland, has rail service – including the BNSF Railway – and a regional airport that will soon undergo an expansion.

Another initiative aimed at developing high-tech and manufacturing sectors is the new Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration and Studies (MIDAS) centre in Trail.

Built with funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada and Columbia Basin Trust, the $2 million facility is a research and development and commercialization centre for manufacturing.

The new institute includes a fabrication lab with $400,000 worth of digital manufacturing equipment: 3D printers and scanners, laser cutters, lathes and CNC (computer numeric control) machining tools.

Entrepreneurs can buy a membership and use the lab to design prototypes of everything from toys and medical devices to drones and airplane components.

MIDAS also provides business support services to help entrepreneurs commercialize new products.

“One of our assets is having a metallurgical cluster,” said MIDAS project director Amber Hayes. “In Trail, we have Teck. There’s a number of different businesses that have sprung up to support Teck or use byproducts of Teck, and MIDAS is involved in research and development projects in partnership with Teck and the University of British Columbia-Okanagan…..

(click article to read more )

MIDAS Fab Lab Opening Sept 7th

Event: Sept. 7th, 11 a.m – 1  p.m.

Meet our gear! “FAB”rication equipment will shortly be available for public, academic & commercial use, right here in the West Kootenay. The building is a newly renovated and easily accessible space with state of the art, enterprise-level equipment and training on equipment including: 3D Printers, 3D scanners, CNC milling equipment, woodworking, an electronics lab, teaching and co-working space and more!

MIDAS is a creative collaboration; a blank slate for turning community and commercial ideas into gold. We’d like you to have a first ‘peek’ at the facility as our guest prior to the commencement of operations. You’re invited for the official ‘ribbon’ cutting, a tour, a demonstration, networking and lunch!

MIDAS Memberships & Training Available

New MIDAS Lab Director: Brad Pommen

Lab Director Brad Pommen

MIDAS Lab Director: Brad Pommen

Brad Pommen, Mr. Technology: hacker, maker, technology enthusiast and a leader in STEM initiatives, brings his tremendous passion and experience to take the helm as MIDAS Lab Director.

Brad, President of the Nelson Tech Club Hackerspace, since 2010 has have taught hundreds of people, of all ages, how to code, design and adopt emerging technologies in the local community.

For the past 4 years he has organized a successful robotic educational event called “RoboGames” for local youth which has attracted over 80 participants in 2016 and entertained hundreds of spectators.

Brad regularly lectures for community groups on multiple technology subjects and coordinate the successful weekly, all-ages “Hackerspace”, partnered with Selkirk College. Brad has a record for successful project management, client-care satisfaction and quality adherence in dynamic software and technology environments.

He is a Kootenay-wide technology network liaison, providing professional representation, influence in technology funding and STEM education leadership and maintain strong networking relationships with local technology supporters and businesses.

Brad Pommen is a tremendous asset to the MIDAS Lab program and will continue to inspire, motivate and educate as he makes himself comfortable in his new role.

We’re Hiring! MIDAS Lab Director – Closes July 8, 2016

The MIDAS Lab Director will work under the direction of the MIDAS Project Director to technically prepare the MIDAS lab to plan, implement and successfully launch necessary operations, membership and training programs by September 7, 2016. Read more

Greater Trail research partnership seeks new ways to use Teck byproducts

Repurposing by products from Teck Trail Operations could be a win-win-win for the entire region. University scholars in applied science, local businesses and the regional economy may be well driven, one day, by new discoveries for smelting byproduct use through a $293,000 research partnership. Read more

Community Futures Lends “Golden Touch” To Opening of MIDAS Fab Lab

The MIDAS digital prototyping “Fab Lab” and metallurgical research facility is gearing up for its Grand Opening this September.   The goal of this Glenmerry-based multi-million dollar project is to support skills training and entrepreneurial development through the commercialization of new technologies and services in the region. Read more

RFP Due May 20: MIDAS Marketing Package Design

Midas (Metalic preview on transparent BG)KAST is looking to leverage early work on the MIDAS Marketing Plan and MIDAS brand to develop an introductory package of marketing material for the MIDAS (Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration and Studies) facility, which will serve to:

i) inform selected audience of the MIDAS facility’s existence, value and opportunities;
ii) promote membership in the MIDAS FabLab at the general public and commercial levels.

Collaborative team bids welcome.

Download the full RFP package: MIDAS Marketing Package Design RFP No 1617-01-MIDAS-MK

UBC and Industry Partnership Spurs Metallurgical Sector Development in Interior B.C.

mitacs-imgPress Release ~ 

May 2, 2016 – A $293,000 research partnership among Teck Metals Ltd., Fenix Advanced Materials, Drop Designs, Mitacs and the University of British Columbia aims to use by-products from smelting operations to create economic development opportunities in the province’s Southern Interior.

The three-year project, slated to begin this spring, challenges university researchers to find ways to sustainably extract and purify metals from lead-zinc smelting byproducts that can then be used by secondary industries in the Kootenay region of B.C.

“While it is currently possible to extract secondary minerals from smelting byproducts, current technology is both cost-prohibitive and requires the intensive use of chemicals,” says Lukas Bichler, associate professor Engineering at UBC’s Okanagan campus and research supervisor. “Our aim is to develop new ways to extract valuable minerals and metals.”

The research partnership was initiated by the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST) as a key element of its MIDAS project, an applied research, commercialization and digital fabrication training facility in Trail, B.C., focused on the metallurgical sector that exists in the region surrounding the Teck Trail Operations smelter.

MIDAS makes recent advances in metallurgical and manufacturing technology accessible to West Kootenay companies, entrepreneurs and students.

The research partnership received $161,000 in funding from Mitacs, as well as $132,000 from the project’s corporate partners Teck Metals Ltd., Drop Designs and Fenix Advanced Materials.

“Mitacs’ Accelerate program is a bridge between graduate students and businesses,” says Mitacs CEO and Scientific Director Alejandro Adem. “Through this multi-partner collaboration, UBC researchers will have the opportunity to work on a project that has the potential to create economic development in the Interior of B.C. and grow an important sector in the province.”

In addition to funding, Teck Metals Ltd. will also provide by-product materials and technical support from its Trail facility.

“Our refining processes result in materials that have the potential to generate further economic value,” says Teck Trail Operations Superintendent of Knowledge Management Greg Richards. “We look forward to working closely with partners on this research initiative which aligns with our ongoing commitment to providing long-term economic benefits to local communities and the region.”

Fenix Advanced Materials is engaged in advanced purification and re-shaping of ultra high purity metals in Trail.

“If byproducts can be turned into value-added products locally, it’s good for everybody,” says Fenix CEO Don Freschi. “There are huge opportunities out there for people willing to take that chance.”

Drop Minerals, a company involved in the development of advanced manufacturing methodology using abrasive content, is developing a system to use Teck downstream byproducts in its water jet cutting process.

“Drop’s group of companies has a strong foundation and culture of investment in research and development,” says Drop CEO Anders Malpass. “This culture is embedded in our manufacturing production, processes and products, and can be seen throughout our organizations.”

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