“A CD. How quaint. We have these in museums.” -Eoin Colfer
Step aside, George Jetson, one of today’s newest technological marvels, 3D printing, is coming to Rossland.
This printing machine uses software and imagination to create the unimaginable with prepared precision.
Dec. 3 is 3D printing day. To celebrate, Kailey Allan is hosting an introductory course at Seven Summits Centre for Learning on Dec. 10 and 11. Allan teaches full-time for the Digital Fabrication and Design program at Selkirk College in Trail.
“3D printers are more accessible than ever,” said Allan. “For $350, you can get a quality machine. Elementary schools are even starting to adopt 3D printing, which means the software has gotten very user-friendly.
“Open-source design files from websites like Thingiverse don’t require you to have any design skills, either. You can download and print other people’s designs.
“However, 3D printing unlocks an entirely new capability when you learn to design custom parts that are specific to your needs. Of course, like any machine, they have quirks, so you need to know how to fix and maintain them.”
The technology, however, has the potential to solve major challenges facing society today, says Allen.
“For example, the medical industry uses 3D printing for complex surgical pre-planning, tool creation, and prosthetics. Invisalign has revolutionized dental care with its invisible, custom 3D-printed braces. Twente Manufacturing, located in Procter, is 3D printing concrete which promises to reduce construction waste and time. Other industries include furniture, fashion, aviation, automobile, prop making, and many others.”
3D printing is unique because there are ways only to print what is needed and produce zero waste compared to other manufacturing methods. In addition, 3D printing is less time-consuming than one may think, as items often print unsupervised overnight. Polylactic Acid (PLA) is the most common material; it is a corn-based biodegradable material.
”Even now, and into the future, companies will be looking for people with trained skills in this technology.” Allan asserts.
“I don’t think our issue is about making too much plastic. Our issue is that we throw too much of it in the landfill,” says Allan. “Many things end up in landfill simply because they are poorly designed. So, the issue is not necessarily rooted in plastic but rather in the poor design of everyday objects.”
The technology can help solve these problems and reduce waste because it allows innovators to personalize and highly customize the items needed.
“Biodegradable materials are important, but simply put, the best way to keep things out of landfills is to never put them there in the first place. I believe 3D printing and better design offer this benefit to the user.”
Like any emerging technology, the earlier one embraces learning it, the better. 3D printing is the wave of the future and is available to Rosslanders now.
“I hope Rosslanders will embrace the learning behind this skill set. As a hobby or source of employment, the opportunities are limitless,” says Allen.
Interested to know what you will learn?
“This introductory workshop will have participants working to prepare and design files to create a planter made from PLA material. By the end, they will take home their own 3D printed part. The point is to get people to try this new technology and show them how easy it is to adopt it into their everyday life.
“For students, this is a critical skill that looks great on a resume. All they need is a laptop with software and to sign up for the course on December 10th and 11th.”
Seven Summits Centre for Learning is pleased to host this workshop, and students will get an opportunity to learn 3D printing as part of the guest speaker series. For further information, pictures, and to sign up, follow the Event Brite link 3D Printing 101 Workshop in Rossland, BC Tickets, Sat. 10 Dec 2022 at 10 a.m.| Eventbrite