When a friend of mine introduced me over email to Laurie Mirsky, the owner of Toronto 3D printing & design studio 3DPHACKTORY, I almost couldn’t believe what I was reading.
Laurie had recently soft-launched his business – doing work for the local film industry – and was planning to offer open-access workstations and the chance for anyone to 3D print their designs on an Objet Connex 500.
Now, if your experience with 3D printing is mainly the hobbyist stuff, that might not sound like a big deal… just smoother prints, right? Well, the Connex 500 is a high-end device that is capable of mixing multiple material characteristics in a single print.
That means if you wanted to print a keychain, the tail could be flexible and rubbery, while the ring portion could be rigid like ABS. It also means selectable levels of opacity, like if you wanted to print a life-size medical scan made of fleshy transparent bits and an embedded skeleton… as is the case in what is still my favourite photo from the Objet blog:
To have all that power, at a local studio anyone can drop in to, is pretty damn cool.
Things have been slower to ramp up than originally planned, but Laurie has hired some designers and brought in high-end 3D scanning equipment to assist with making copies and reverse-engineering. The idea being that no matter what a person walks in with – a pencil sketch, finished model, existing part or just an idea – the end result will be a new physical object.
The trick though, is expanding the market. From what I understand, the studio could probably do just fine focusing on film and TV work. But Laurie is intent on bringing the high end printers to the masses, and plans to explore different projects and seminars in order to spread the word.
To check out the studio for yourself, see the official site here.
Disclosure: I’ve written a post for the 3DPHACKTORY blog, and the designers currently working with the studio are fellow members of Site 3 coLaboratory.