#madeatMIDAS: Gordon Cleland

Tracy Connery Photography - #madeatMIDAS Gordon Cleland_01

The team at MIDAS is so proud of the variety of #madeatMIDAS ideas that are brought to reality everyday here at the Fab Lab!

In the past, the process of prototyping an invention or innovation could be cost and time prohibitive, not to mention the challenges of simply finding a manufacturer, often oversees, that might be capable of bringing your idea to life.  Today, a maker space like MIDAS cracks the entire prototyping model wide open allowing for fast and cost effective production onsite, with access to almost half a million dollars in state-of-the-art equipment, in days or weeks rather than the months, perhaps even years, that it used to take.

Several #madeatMIDAS projects have been created by engineers, with a very specific product and result they’re interested in achieving.  However, while we encourage and love our corporate members, we want everyone to know that the MIDAS Fab Lab is open to just about anyone who comes with an idea, the vision and the desire to learn in order to bring it to life.

#madeatMIDAS celebrates the range of creativity and innovation as well as the incredible projects that have been created through the Fab Lab and promotes the maker space as an accessible facility ready to take on just about any kind of project.

A great example is Gordon Cleland, a builder, inventor and artist at heart, who has brought two separate visions to life utilizing all that MIDAS has to offer.

A big do-it-yourselfer, wood, metal and clay were his go-to materials in developing his ideas.  Often, though, he found that the hand-tools he was used to working with were too limited to bring his ideas fully to fruition.  The 3D design and 3D printing training provided at MIDAS were game-changers! Access to this level of new manufacturing technology, and to have it conveniently located nearby in Trail was a huge plus.

When Gordon read one of the early articles about MIDAS, the opportunity to get education and access to new technologies was one he had to take advantage of.  In fact, he made a point of attending the grand opening to learn more!   A member since the opening of MIDAS, he’s taken courses on nearly every machine available at the Fab Lab.  He’s created vinyl signs and wood projects using the CNC router table;  3D scanned and 3D printed prototypes; and, most recently, CNC machined aluminum.

Gordon has enjoyed the accessible membership and training fees as well as the easy access to the amazing talent making up the core of the MIDAS shop. People like MIDAS Lab Director, Brad Pommen, Jason Taylor of Selkirk College, and Chris Kent of Left-of-Center Design provided the skills, knowledge and expertise instrumental to bring Gordon’s visions to reality.

“I also received acceptance for my design into the Venture Acceleration Program, a complimentary group that assisted with market research, legal and engineering.”

It wasn’t long after he began his journey with MIDAS that he made the investment in his own 3D printer, in which he produced a working prototype of his latest project. This allowed him to refine his design before taking the leap, investing in machining a full aluminum version.

Tracy Connery Photography - #madeatMIDAS-January18_91

He looked to the CNC Machining Center at MIDAS to produce the aluminum parts in the finished product.

“By utilizing the machining center at MIDAS I was able to work with designer and machinist Chris Kent as each part was made, helping to ensure our final product worked as intended. It also allowed for a quick turn-around from prototype to finished product at just under 2 weeks.”

His new design adds functionality to an existing piece of equipment used to cut steel pipe. It allows precise adjustment of cut angle, extremely useful when steel pipe is driven into the ground as support pilings. Pipe pilings are used in place of concrete pilings or footings and used extensively in the oil and gas and other industries around the world.

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Using Gordon’s product reduces the time it takes to cut, level and weld pilings on a job site. As a welder for over 25 years, it’s a product he’d known was in need: a simple and accurate way to cut pilings accurately.

“Now I’ve built one and I’m eager to get it into the hands of tradespeople that can use it.”

Gordon is well aware what would have had to be invested to see this innovation brought to reality without a facility like MIDAS:

“Without the training from MIDAS my only local option to explore the design would have been hire a designer or mechanical engineer to do it for me, and those costs would have been beyond my means. MIDAS and VAP made it possible for me to pursue my idea to a market ready stage economically.”

Have an idea or innovation you’re looking to bring to reality? It can be #madeatMIDAS!

Looking to learn valuable skills?  MIDAS can help!  So many great courses and training to give you the preparation you need to take full advantage of all MIDAS has to offer!

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