New Years Resolutions… For Innovators!

MIDAS Fab Lab - New Years Resolutions for Innovators

Innovation is top of mind for many businesses. Simple resolutions such as saying yes, taking action no matter how small, and embracing failure could make 2019 your pivotal year!

Taking some time to contemplate the year ahead and the various resolutions you’ll make to help get you started on the right foot for the New Year? Great! But, you might want to disregard the stats: only 8% of us will actually achieve our New Year resolutions.

The most common reasons we fail in our resolve include unrealistic goals, neglecting to track progress and simply abandoning the commitment altogether.

Despite the dismal results, New Year’s resolutions can be an effective catalyst for change in our personal and family lives. Likewise for our professional lives. An impending new year encourages reflection, taking stock of successes and failures of the months past as you consider what you’d like to accomplish for the months and year ahead.

What changes would you like to see that will help your company innovate and grow? This year, whether you’re a business, startup, or entrepreneur, as you think about resolutions, consider leveraging a few different tactics to help inspire fresh innovation and vision in your work.

Say ‘yes’!

Such a powerful word!

The power of ‘yes’. A simple word with the power to influence the trajectory of any endeavour. The key to achieving any goal, innovative or otherwise, is to approach a challenge from a different mindset – with an open-minded sense of ‘yes’!

This simple word can create excitement and energy, inspiring new ideas. Saying ‘yes’ can break up the monotony; it can expand your network and opportunities. You never know, that next opportunity might be life-changing to your business or idea.

In the words of Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt: “Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country. Say yes to meeting new friends. Say yes to learning a new language, picking up a new sport. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job. Yes is how you find your spouse and even your kids. Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new and make a difference in your life, and likely in others’ lives as well… Yes is a tiny word that can do big things. Say it often.”

Allow yourself to be persuaded

When it comes to developing a new product or service, growing your business, or advancing your idea you have to be prepared to hold your ground in order to push your ideas and vision forward. Equally important, however, is that you remain open to new ideas and feedback.

Al Pittampalli’s book, Persuadable, argues that successful leaders realize that a genuine willingness to change their own mind is the ultimate competitive advantage.

Developing and leading innovation requires agility and openness – releasing an ego that might get in the way of encouraging and accepting the great ideas of others.

Don’t be afraid to engage with those that disagree with you. In disagreement, rather than defending or rationalizing your approach, look for the merits in the opposing perspective and see if you can find alignment between views, or where your view might actually be tweaked and improved.

Take small, but immediate, action

It’s not unusual for businesses and organizations to be looking to the big move when it comes to ideas and innovation. But, let’s face it, those are few and far between. Most of the important milestones in the forward momentum of any business are going to be small and incremental.

Rather than planning for the major iteration, launch, or announcement it’s the simplest actions done effectively and with immediacy that have the most impact. The organizations that achieve their resolutions are laser-focused on the smaller, more specific, achievements that are integral to progress, not to mention much simpler for the team to analyze and action the results.

Embrace failure – it MUST be an option

Often the difference between a successful man and a failure is not one’s better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on his idea, to take a calculated risk, and to act. – Maxwell Maltz

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take chances – failure will be your friend!

Failure provides us with the frightening and painful nudge we need to stop hiding behind our self-imposed limitations. As we grow to expect failure along the road to success it becomes something of a badge of honour.

Failure is an inevitable outcome of experimentation and innovation, and it’s where the most opportunties for learning, examination, and exploration is had.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations,” Said J.K. Rowling. “I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I had suspected. The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive.

Focus

Successful innovators and entrepreneurs start with the end in mind. But… they’re also diligent about avoiding distractions that divert their attention.

Focus on one or only a couple of things at a time. Don’t get caught up in measuring EVERYTHING. Those who are successful incorporate the best systems to track the fewest metrics possible to achieve their goals.

Distraction is truly around every corner, so it’s important to KISS and keep your eye on the ball of the core business.

Innovate because you can, not because you must

Many businesses wait to innovate only when confronted by crisis. Innovation ought not to be treated as a singular, binary event. It has to be approached as on-going, iterative, ever-evolving, and dynamic. This is where measurable progress lives.
Develop a well thought out program that includes regularly scheduled brainstorming activities; continuous inspiration, motivation, action, and drive to ensure continued, if not increased, competitiveness.
So, innovators, enjoy a reset along with the calendar on January 1st and incorporate ways of thinking that will help foster new vision and innovation. Despite the statistics, the New Year offers a great opportunity to reflect on fresh mindsets to take on for not only the coming year but well beyond.

Looking for inspiration this New Year? MIDAS can help!

With almost $500,000 in state-of-the-art fabrication and manufacturing equipment and the expertise and knowledge of our team, the MIDAS Fab Lab offers SO many opportunities to help you innovate – your business, your product, your idea!

Come out for a tour: Thursdays, 6-7pm.

Peruse our course calendar for valuable training and certifications.

Enjoy access to the Fab Lab! Become a member.

We’re Hiring! MIDAS Community Engagement Coordinator

We're Hiring! MIDAS Community Engagement Coordinator

Work at one of the most innovative and disruptive organizations in the Kootenays! MIDAS Community Engagement Coordinator

Closing date: January 2nd, 2019 @ 4:00 pm PST

MIDAS is a digital fabrication lab in Trail, BC.  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 and commercial use. The facility is a renovated accessible space with state of the art equipment and training including: 3D Printers, 3D scanners, CNC milling equipment, metal shop, woodworking, an electronics lab, teaching and co-working space and more. 

Working as part of a progressive, motivated team, the main responsibilities of the MIDAS Community Engagement Coordinator will be to provide support to the Director, Lab Manager and Lab staff, and to provide exceptional customer service to MIDAS members, potential members, the general public and our commercial clientele.

You will be at the front line at MIDAS, and you will be able and ready to switch tasks throughout the day to accommodate the needs of members and operational staff at the facility. That said, we’re a super fun team and MIDAS is a rewarding place to work.

Closing date: January 2nd, 2019 @ 4:00 pm PST

Primary duties:

Engagement/Communications:

  • As the first point of contact at the MIDAS lab, you will provide professional and courteous customer service by greeting and guiding guests, answering inquiries, and referring them to the appropriate staff member.
  • Ensuring website, social media, training and operations calendars are updated daily and working with our media provider to strategize social media posts.
  • Using strong time management and organizational skills, you will act as the main liaison for tours, groups and event bookings; you will be assisting in set up and hosting of courses, tours and events.

Records Management & Reporting:

  • CRM Building; you will be responsible for maintaining a database of members and potential leads, following up on leads and ensuring information is accurate.
  • Compiling accurate monthly statistics/metrics for management team and maintaining standard operating procedures and maintenance records, monitor and document lab usage.

Health & Safety:

  • Manage and assist in Health & Safety, ensuring rules and regulations are followed precisely
  • Maintain accurate health and safety records per WorkSafe BC guidelines.
  • Assist / Administer and document first aid as required (First Aid training provided if not already possessing)

Other duties as assigned.

Requirements and Qualifications:

MIDAS is looking for a creative and motivated individual with confidence, good judgement, flexibility, and a desire to learn.

You will portray professionalism and discretion while showing a sense of humour as you provide a high level of service to MIDAS lab staff, and all stakeholders.

Proficiency with Microsoft Office (Word/Excel) and Google Suite is required.

Post Secondary education is preferred, however we will consider equivalent experience.

Hours of work: The successful candidate will be willing to work flexible hours from Monday-Friday, 30 hours per week.

Hourly rate: $18-$20 depending upon experience

To apply:

Closing date: January 2nd, 2019 @ 4:00 pm PST

Please provide a resume and cover letter telling us about yourself and why you feel you are a great fit for our team.  Email info@midaslab.ca

No phone calls please.

Kootenay Association for Science & Technology (KAST)

 

#madeatMIDAS: Pulse Labs Inc. ProFlex

Pulse Labs Pulse Proflex Kickstarter

Revelstoke’s Pulse Labs Inc. is serious about getting the right fit – and flex! – in a ski boot!

If you’ve recently been sizing ski boots, chances are you’ve encountered some unreliability when it comes to flex rating, even in boots of the same brand.

Enter Pulse Labs Inc.

With their extensive expertise and new and innovative boot fitting system they’ve come up with the answer to the flex issue with a convenient and effective aftermarket accessory: The Pulse ProFlex. Developed and prototyped with the help of the MIDAS Fab Lab!

The flex in a ski boot refers to how difficult it is to flex the boot forward. Boot flex ranges from very soft to a stiffness required for racing, indicated by a numeric “flex index” typically from 50 (soft) to 130 (very stiff). Frustratingly, for skiers of all skill levels, this number is rather arbitrary and a 100 flex rating, for example, can vary from boot to boot, even from the same manufacturer.

Check out the Pulse ProFlex Kickstarter>>

The Pulse ProFlex is a ski boot insert created specifically to stiffen almost any two-piece ski boot by 15 to 30 per cent. It’s been made to be easy to install without altering or compromising the fit of the boot.

Current bootmakers prioritize features and convenience – walk modes, tech fittings, thinner walls and lightweight plastics – over stiffness and performance. Innovator and partner in Pulse Boot Lab & Ski Co., Kai Palkeinen, was looking for more. Understanding that serious skiers have been left wanting, he saw the need for a reliable, aftermarket solution that had the power to amp up the flex and, ultimately, the performance of any ski boot.

So the ProFlex was born. With the help of our team at MIDAS!

Beginning over a year ago, the team at MIDAS, specifically Lab Director, Brad Pommen, assisted in scanning the prototype and producing 3D models to help identify the size, shape, and positioning of what would become the ProFlex. Through several iterations and many communications between Pulse Labs’ Matt Moor and Brad, fundamental challenges were identified.

MIDAS provided the opportunities and resources for learning!

The learning process not only helped refine the design and drawings that would be sent on to the engineers, but the experience also helped to answer the important question: which manufacturing process would provide the best product?

For instance, after delving deep into carbon fibre, vacuum moulding and even 3D printing at MIDAS it was established that none of these would provide the necessary rigidity or rebound for an effective insert. To achieve what the company needed, injection molds were found to be the way to go.

Through MIDAS, Kai explained, “We went from knowing nothing to gaining a far better understanding.”

Kai learned how “complicated, difficult, and expensive, not to mention arduous the manufacturing process is”. MIDAS and the Fab Lab team helped alleviate some of this stress and hard work, facilitating rapid prototyping, exploration, experimentation, and tweaking, in a fraction of the time and expense that it would have taken otherwise.

“Without MIDAS we may not have made it to the end result.”

Looking for additional stiffness and performance in your ski boots or those of a skier you love? Be sure to get the Pulse ProFlex – support the Kickstarter Campaign>>

Just in time for Christmas!

Curious about all that’s available – and possible! – at MIDAS? Join us for a tour: Thursdays at 6pm!

 

 

Fun Friday: Holiday Edition! Arduino Motion Activated Holiday Wreath

Arduino Christmas wreath

Welcome your guests with this cool motion activated Arduino Holiday wreath.

This Holiday wreath project is sure to impress your friends and family, not to mention the UPS delivery guy, as they approach your front door! Here’s how to do it:

The project uses an Arduino microcontroller with the Adafruit MP3 shield and a Parallax PIR motion sensor to detect if someone is approaching the doorway. It then plays a custom greeting pre-recorded and pitched to sound like a jolly elf, followed by a random Christmas song. The song(s) will keep playing as long as the PIR sensor picks up motion within 15 seconds.

Fun, festive

Christmas Wreath Components

You’ll need the following items for the Arduino:

  • 1-Arduino Uno (or similar)
  • 1-Adafruit “Music Maker” MP3 Shield for Arduino w/3W Stereo Amp – v1.0 (http://www.adafruit.com/products/1788)
  • 1-Micro SD card for MP3 files
  • 1-PIR Sensor – I used a Parallax sensor from Radio Shack
  • 1-Speaker, <=4 ohm. I picked up a budget Bluetooth speaker at Fry’s Electronics and pulled just the speaker out
  • 1-Christmas Wreath
  • Some fuzzy pipe cleaner/case for Arduino
  • Power, either:
  • 1-9 VDC 1000mA regulated switching power adapter (or similar, Arduino compatible) OR 1-DC battery pack

For further steps to make this fun and welcoming Holiday wreath, that is sure to surprise and please your guests this Season, click HERE!

A Great Combination: Trail Smoke Eaters and MIDAS!

Tracy Connery Photography - MadeatMIDAS Trail Smoke Eaters

We support our local Smoke Eaters! Hockey and makers go together like glue on wood, a solder iron on metal, skates on ice!

As a proud supporter of the Trail Smoke Eaters Hockey team, KAST has donated 10 MIDAS Fab Lab gift certificates. Lucky winners receive a choice of Laser Cutter or 3D Printer Course, where they can learn, be inspired, and enjoy the opportunity to work with the best in the biz – the MIDAS Fab Lab team!

So, check out the game schedule and make sure you come on out and enjoy a fun-filled, action-packed hockey night andhave a chance to win some wonderful prizes!

If you’d like to know more about the possibilities – so many! – available here at MIDAS, please click HERE.

Still curious? Join us for our MIDAS Public Tours, every Thursday evening at 6:00 pm.

Check out the range of courses and training on offer at MIDAS (2019 schedule currently in the works – lots to come!)

Go Smoke Eaters!

Fun Friday: Christmas Edition! 3D LED Christmas Tree

Tracy Connery Photography - MIDAS Fab Lab - LED Christmas Tree

Get into the Holiday spirit with this cool, DIY LED Christmas Tree!

When it comes to mad maker skills, soldering is among the most important and most versatile a young do-it-yourselfer can have.

If you or your budding maker aren’t familiar, there are great guides to getting started with a soldering iron though, there’s nothing that quite beats hands-on practice on a small project.

These festively themed kits combine two Christmas tree shaped PCBs along with all of the components needed to create a cool, futuristic sparkling Holiday decoration. The kits are available for as little as $3.50 and come with all the components required to get started.

DIY soldered Christmas Tree

Step 1: Schematic and Theory of Operation

PCB Christmas tree kit!

Each of the 10K resistors and 47uF capacitors form an RC oscillator that periodically pushes the associated transistor on. The three sets of RC oscillators are transistors are connected in a loop to keep them cycling out of phase which makes the blinking appear random around the tree. When the transistor is “on” current passes through a bank of 6 LEDs and their 1K current limiting resistor causing that bank to blink on.

If you’re looking for an adventure, trying adjusting the value of one (or more) of the 10K resistors a bit to change the blink rate of the LEDs.

Step 2: Populating the Resistors

3D LED Christmas Tree

Begin soldering by stuffing the resistors. Resistors are not polarized in any way, which means that you can insert them in either direction.

Use a resistor colour code chart or app to identify the different resistor values and make sure to insert them into the correct holes.

In some of 3D Christmas Tree kits, a couple of the 1K resistors are replaced with 330-ohm resistors. When available, the 330-ohm resistors should be used for R2 instead of the specified 1K resistor. According to the numbering system that we have used, R2 is the current limiting resistor for the green LED bank (D1-D6). Using this lower resistance allows the green LEDs to glow a tiny bit brighter, which can mitigate the fact that green LEDs often appear a little dimmer than the red and yellow LEDs.

In the end, the value of the current limiting resistors (R2, R4, R6, and R7) is somewhat forgiving and can anywhere around 300 ohms to 3K.

The value for R7 is specified on the higher end (at 2K) because R7 is the current limiting resistor for the red LED D19 at the top of the tree. Since D19 does not blink, it may appear much brighter, so the higher 2K resistance balances the brightness a bit with respect to the other LEDs.

Step 3: Transistors

3D LED Christmas Tree transistors

When soldering in the transistors, be sure to align the flat side of the transistor to the flat side of the white outline on the printed circuit board (PCB). This ensures that the transistor is wired in the correct direction.

Step 4: Capacitors

3D LED Christmas Tree capacitors

Solder in the electrolytic capacitors. These are definitely polarized. There is usually a “-” marking along one side of the can and also the longer lead is positive while the shorter lead is negative. Be certain that the positive and negative terminals are matched to the indications on the PCB silk screen printing. As a double check, the solder pad for the positive pin is often square, while the negative pad is round. The square pad is sometimes called the “pin one indicator” and this applies to multi-lead packages like DIP integrated circuits as well. Leave enough slack in the leads to be able to bend the capacitor over onto its side once it is soldered into place.

Step 5: LEDs

3D LED Christmas Tree LEDs

Diodes (including LEDs) are also polarized. Be certain to observe that the long lead is positive and the short is negative. Again observe the silk screen printing on the PCB or that the positive solder pad is square. When soldering the LEDs, be sure they keep the same colours grouped together with a common resistor and transistor as shown in the schematic and parts list. If you attempt to drive mixed colour LEDs with the same current limiting resistor and switching transistor, you will likely find that one colour glows brighter and the other colour doesn’t light up at all or only very dimly.

When soldering the LEDs into place, leave slack in the leads so that the LED can be bent off to the side once it is attached. Note that we have not yet soldered in the D19 LED at the very tip of the tree.

Step 6: Test each PCB

3D LED Christmas Tree - test each PCBOnce each of the Tree PCBs is fully populated (except for the D19 LED at the tip), they can be tested by placing about 5VDC onto the “+” and “-” pads at the very bottom of the tree.

For example, you can place some AA batteries into the battery housing and touch the wires to the correct pads on the PCB.

The LEDs should blink and cycle with colourful holiday goodness. If they do not, check the polarities (directions) of the power wires, the LEDs, the caps, and the transistors. If you were careful with all of the polarities while soldering, there should be no problems.

Step 7: Base PCB

DIY 3D LED Christmas Tree base PCBDIY 3D LED Christmas Tree base PCB

Solder the power button and the power terminal onto the Base PCB. When inserting the power button, the notched side of the button should face the nearest edge of the PCB as shown. A piece of resistor lead that was trimmed off earlier may be wrapped around the power terminal and soldered to the PCB as a stain relief to make the connector more robust while inserting the power plug.

The battery pack can be bolted into the base PCB as shown. The wires from the battery pack can be fed up into the PCB trimmed and soldered to the power pads.

Step 8: Final Assembly

DIY 3D LED Christmas Tree project final assembly

Slide the two tree halves into one another being careful to bend any of the components (such as the transistors) our of the way if they catch onto one another. Once the sides are aligned, solder the pads together where the halves touch.

DIY 3D LED Christmas tree

Now the top LED (D19) can be attached and trimmed.

DIY maker 3D LED Christmas Tree assembly

Lastly, insert the tree into the base PCB being careful to observe the “+” and “-” designations on all three PCBs. Solder the tree to the base PCB.

Your 3D LED Tree can be powered from the battery pack OR the power terminal USB adapter. When the power terminal is inserted, the batteries are out of the circuit, so it is fine to leave the batteries installed while using the USB power adapter.

 

Upcoming MIDAS Courses: December, 2018

MIDAS September 2018 courses

It may be December and the Christmas craziness will be here before you know it, but MIDAS still has some great learning on tap before the Holidays kick into high gear!

In fact, there’s no place like MIDAS for helping you create something perfect for the Season, even a quick Christmas gift, decor, or ornament:

Laser Cutter Christmas

Closeout 2018 with some new skills!

Regardless of what you might have in mind, MIDAS can help you bring your new innovation or great to life!

If you’re in need of prototyping, 3D printing and fabrication, the variety of equipment available at MIDAS is geared specifically to offer you state-of-the-art resources to create exactly what you need.

Maybe you’ve already got a start using our fabrication equipment and are wanting to take it to the next level?  We’ve got you covered there, too!  Advanced certification courses are also available.

Check out our December calendar of courses and training… From woodworking on the Shopbot CNC to laser cutting (as per example above) and more, we’re sure there’s a course to fit exactly what you’re looking for as you consider your next DIY/maker project.

This isn’t all, of course!  Be sure to review the full calendar of all upcoming workshops and courses here at MIDAS.

 

 

Shopbot CNC (Desktop & Alpha) Course at MIDAS

Shopbot CNC (Desktop & Alpha)

Training on BOTH the Desktop and Alpha Shopbot CNC included.  The ShopBot Desktop has a bed size of 24″ x 18″ and a 1HP motor.  This ShopBot Alpha is a full-size CNC with a 48″x96″ table with a 4HP motor.  Both machines are run by the same programming software and have full capability to mill 2d and 3d prototypes.
With enough production capability for a three-shift factory, ShopBot PRSalpha tools are tough and sophisticated, gantry-based CNC routers using advanced technology for CNC cutting, drilling, carving and machining.  Tooling and use make this pair of CNCs perfect for soft-material CNC cutting at any size.
Register NOW!

MIDAS courses & training: Creaform 700 3D Handyscan Scanner

Creaform 700 3D Handyscan Scanner

The Handyscan is AMAZING but don’t take our word for it. Come and see for yourself! This session will demonstrate the handyscan on a number of objects: how to place tags, basic scanning, set up of a receiving software and review of captured online files. (CAD and others on demand).

This course DOES NOT cover the manipulation of captured images or printing but is intended to allow members to scan and understand the potential of this device.

Recommended for engineers, architects, manufacturers, machinists, makers and hobbyists alike.
Register NOW!

Trotec 120Watt Laser Cutter courses at MIDAS

 

Trotec 120 Watt Laser Cutter

The Speedy is the ideal laser engraving machine – no matter if you are starting your own business or want to speed up current production, laser engraving wood, plastic, acrylic, fabrics and many other materials, has never been more efficient. This CO2 laser engraver has the highest quality components which ensure minimal maintenance requirements.
Register NOW!

 

 

Fun Friday: Activities to Inspire Your Kids to be Makers!

We have come to that special time of year referred to as the November Doldrums: the weather has turned gloomy, Daylight Savings has kicked in and it’s dark by supper time, the colour of vibrant of autumn has blown from the trees, and we’re still a ways off from the merriment of Christmas… or, perhaps worse, anticipating the rash of spending the Season inevitably brings!

Well, turn that late fall frown upside down, people, as we’ve come across a wonderful way to beat the November blues: making makers! There’s no better time of year to inspire the maker in just about anyone than during this autumn dead zone.

Here are some great ideas to help take a bit of blah out of the dreariness of after school:

Building with Cardboard

Cardboard box building

There’s really nothing that invites the imagination of a child like a simple cardboard box. Go with it! Cars, costumes, houses, you name it, cardboard can become it. Perfect for inspiring your little makers!

Stop Motion Video

Super easy and, thanks to modern technology, you don’t need much more than a smartphone or device with a camera and the appropriate mobile app – there are plenty of filmmaking apps out there as a simple Google search will attest.  You may want to get your hands on a tripod, too, to make this fun project just that much easier. If you can’t get a tripod, simply setup some support for the device that will allow for hand-free.

Break out the toys: blocks, legos and lego characters, action figures, Barbies. Let your imagination go wild!

Here’s an example that is probably a little ambitious – aspirational, shall we say!

For beginners:

Electronics! Projects we advocate for as often as we can involve supplying power to make things work.

Kids into Mighty Makers

How about an easy-peasy DIY flashlight to dip your child’s toe into the world of electronic gadgetry? With simple AA batteries, a piece of aluminum foil, some duct tape, a mini light bulb, and a paper roll to house everything, this project couldn’t be easier! You can find the complete instruction HERE!

easy DIY flashlight

Take something apart!

inspire your young makers

Making doesn’t always have to be about putting something together – no way! It can also be about the exploration and investigation involved in taking something apart. Super fun with a ton of learning moments, particularly if the end-game is to put it back together – also strongly encouraged!

Here are some ideas of things that can be disassembled:

  • A broken motorized or battery-operated toy. It’s a fun and educational exercise to see if, once the motor has been removed, if it can be reassembled and made to work!
  • An old smartphone – so interesting to see what’s behind the magic!
  • An old landline – explore the roots of our modern devices.
  • An old computer hard drive. For older kids, a great way to see what components are involved and maybe even what can be done to bring it back to life!

Computer Programming

making young makers - computer programming

We assume such technical proficiency in our kids. The reality is, they are actually masters at consuming technology, not necessarily what goes on to make it happen. More of us have to encourage our kids, who spend an awful lot of time on computer to use that time a little differently – make something!

Kids of all ages can get to learn the programming that goes into the computer games and activities they enjoy.

Scratch, a free programming language and online community where kids (or any programming beginners) can create interactive stories, games, and animations, is a fantastic introduction into the world of code and computer programming.

#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.

Fun Friday! Kootenay Contraption Contest | Deadline December 19, 2018!

Selkirk College GLOWS Kootenay Contraption Contest

The Kootenay Contraption Contest invites students in Grades K-8 to imagine, design and illustrate a “contraption” that solves a problem.

Calling all young innovators and problem solvers! This year’s GLOWS 2018 Contraption Contest is challenging individuals and entire classes to come up with the most creative, most imaginative “contraption” they can dream up to solve this problem:

Turn something of waste from your home into a new contraption that can be useful in our lives.

The grand prize winner receives an iPad! And winners from each entering grade will win a pizza party for their entire class!

To enter, illustrate your idea in the entry form. This is all about having fun and being creative using all manner of media: art supplies, blocks and legos, Arduino or Raspberry Pi, you name it!

Deadline: December 19, 2018

Find out more information HERE!

Check out last year’s winning entry from Hayden Persad:

Past themes:
2010:  What new technology or advancements in existing technology will we need to keep us healthy and safe by the mid-point of the century?
2011:  Imagine the year is 2050. Thinking about energy, how will we cook, heat and cool our homes?
2012:  How will we use less energy?
2013:  Imagine the year is 2050. Wind and solar energy are plentiful, but how will we store that energy to make it more useful?
2014:  In 50 years, how will we increase our food supply?
2015:  What contraption will change the way students learn or are taught in school?
2016: What do you predict will be the next big automated thing that everyone will rely on?
2017: We use energy in our daily lives from turning on the lights to playing on our tablets. What are some ideas to make or save energy so there is more for everyone?