Brad Pommen. ~ Photo contributed

Tech Talk: A glimpse at the future of manufacturing

Makerspace workshops bring 3D scanning and printing technology to Revelstoke

By Karilyn Kempton, Revelstoke Tech Coordinator

If you’re interested in makerspace tools and technology like 3D printing, 3D scanning, laser cutting, and CNC machinery, you’ll want to be at the August tech meetup at the Mountain CoLab on Friday, August 25, at 6 pm to listen to and chat with Brad Pommen, the lab director at MIDAS, an applied research, commercialization and digital fabrication training facility in Trail, B.C.

Then, on Saturday, Pommen is running two certification workshops on 3D scanning and 3D printing open to anyone who’d like to see how this equipment can help them and their businesses.

Pommen’s passion for invention and discovery is contagious. Dubbed “Mr. Technology,” he is coming from Nelson to talk about advances in makerspace technology, the makerspace movement, what the MIDAS fabrication lab is and why Revelstokians might want to become members, and how makerspace technology helps entrepreneurs and businesses. The weekend is being sponsored by the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology and Community Futures Revelstoke.

The Saturday workshops are for people looking for entry level information on how to start 3D scanning and printing. Pommen covers a lot of basics — how to use the machinery, loading, setting up parameters, and finally product creation. He’ll also touch briefly on the software available for the design aspect.

The 3D scanner is a hand-held scanning device that removes the need to measure with calipers and design from there. He sees a lot of value in 3D scanning; the workshop is recommended for engineers, architects, manufacturers, machinists, makers, and hobbyists alike.

The two technologies often work hand-in-hand, he enthuses: “Maybe you’ve got a broken part and the manufacturer doesn’t exist anymore. You can scan the part, 3D print it to test it out, and then create it again in metal,” he said.

These certification courses are on safety and orientation of the tools, which will give registrants access to those machines at the MIDAS facility.

Pommen encourages anyone interested in the technology to attend both workshops, because, “You’ll never find cheaper training on this equipment, and for most people there’s nothing else that will fill this gap for them.”

So what is MIDAS and why would you want to go there? MIDAS stands for Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration & Studies. While it’s focused on the region’s metallurgical sector, it is open to all West Kootenay companies, entrepreneurs and students who want access to the latest in manufacturing technology.

Their state-of-the-art fabrication lab offers specialized equipment like 3D printers, 3D scanners, CNC milling equipment, laser cutters, woodworking equipment and an electronics lab. It also has teaching and co-working space.

Pommen’s mandate is to get more Revelstoke residents down to the facility to take advantage of the tremendous resources available for prototyping and learning.

Pommen sees a lot of benefits to community makerspaces, and we’re excited to have him in Revelstoke to add to the conversation.

“Makerspaces really create a social connection,” says Pommen. “You can find someone who can speak your language. It demystifies technology and processes, and creates a social connection and bonds between people and business, and allows people to move ahead with their ideas.”

He also loves that makerspaces can put people on equal footing. “The expert in the room might be the 12 year old sitting next to you, and then an engineer might ask them, ‘Have you thought about this?’ And because it’s a social setting, a half dozen people could be contributing and getting excitement from a project.”

Registration is not required for the Friday night tech talk, but you can find more info at meetup.com/Revelstoke-Tech-Meetup/events/242201203. This event is part of the ongoing monthly Revelstoke tech meetup series, aimed at bringing together everyone working or interested in technology for fun, informative networking nights.

You must pre-register for the Saturday workshops, and registration is limited to 12. It’s for ages 16+, or 12+ with an adult. Cost is $30 per session and both take place at the Mountain CoLab. The Creaform Handyscan 700 3D Scanner workshop is from 9 a.m. to noon. Register at bit.ly/3Dscannerworkshop.

The Ultimaker 2 3D Printer workshop is from 1–4 p.m.. Register at bit.ly/3Dprinterworkshop.

Right after the workshops, we’ll be heading to Lortap and then Trapper Snowboards for tours of their facilities and specialized equipment. Meet at the Mountain CoLab at 4 p.m. if you’d like to join.

Email karilyn.kempton@gmail.com with any questions or issues with registration.

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