We’re currently in the process of designing and building our own in-house delta style 3D printer, both as a learning opportunity, as well as for practical applications. We’d originally researched the possibility of simply purchasing one, however opportunity knocked with the opening of the new MIDAS facility located in Trail, BC.

Through MIDAS (www.midaslab.ca), we’ve gained access to an array of fabrication and manufacturing equipment which has been crucial to the success of this project. Some examples of the types of equipment we intend to use for this project include: CNC vertical mill, CNC turning centre, CNC table router, laser cutter, TIG welder, and soldering equipment. We also intend to use 3D printers for the purposes of generating several of the parts (yes, we’re going to 3D print parts for our 3D printer!).

The idea behind this project is twofold.

First, it’s a learning opportunity to be involved in the physical manufacture of products once we’ve completed our design work. Typically our project scope ends at the design stage of a project, and subsequent stages such as fabrication and installation are done by others. This project affords us the opportunity to expand our knowledge into these later stages, which should in theory make us better designers.

Second, it’s a way to obtain a fully functional 3D printer at the completion of the project. This will enable us to either manufacture actual fully functioning products that we can sell, or to produce physically tangible concept models whenever there would be a benefit to do so (for example to ensure that two parts actually physically fit together the way we intend them to).

As we make progress on this project, we’ll document any developments (both our successes, AND our failures). Currently, we’re in the digital design stage: