3D Printing in Toronto
3D printing has taken Toronto by storm this year. It's one of the hottest tech trends and for good reason. Can you imagine being able to print a pizza or burger at home? Sound like science fiction? It may not be.
At the recent MasterMind Talks event in Toronto, Roboticist Hod Lipson enlightened the crowd with the promises and perils of 3D printing machines that can make almost anything. Hod elaborated on the future of 3D printing being directly tied to printing your own food at home, similar to owning your own Star Trek food replicator.
Copying the methods from your traditional inkjet printer, 3D printers have the ability to produce layers of material to build up objects. Historically, these printers have been used for creating plastic moulds and prototypes, but a new generation of experimenters are replacing plastics with edible materials.
Although the models are relatively simple, the machine works in the same way as your printer at home. You upload an image, insert the edible ingredient you wish to use, and out comes your chocolate Picasso masterpiece. Although the technology is still primitive, as the majority of the manufactured food is simple liquids or powders, burgers with all the trimmings could be just around the corner.
Even with the tasty concept, 3D printed food still has a ways to go before it can be considered mainstream. Not only is it excruciatingly slow to print even the most basic models, the ingredients used are also very limited. If you were to invite guests over for a theoretical printed pizza party, you would have to set the date six months in advance before it would conceptually be ready.
For those looking to get started in the world of 3D printing, it's best not splurge on your own printer. They're simply too expensive right now with the price of entry level 3D printers coming in around $2000 and industrial models costing in the millions.
Luckily, there are 3D printers in Toronto where you can go and try out the technology. Although you won't be able to print your own food locally just yet, here are three Toronto 3D printers that can get you started:
Hot Pop Factory
Matt and Bi-Ying built their business on 3D jewellery, but they also have beginner friendly meet-up's and classes. They run events relatively often where you can learn the basics, create and print your own design, and bring it home with you. This is a great place to get started if you've never dabbled in 3D printing before.
With a passion for 3D printing, you'll find an interesting combination of art and technology coming together at Site 3. They also host the monthly Toronto 3d Printers Meetup, where anyone can learn about 3D printing from the local Toronto experts. If you wanted stop in, you can check out their open night every Thursday where newcomers are not just welcomed, but encouraged.
Even though their brick and mortar shop borders into the more advanced territory of 3D printing, you can still get some basic models printed on their higher quality printers. As a nice advantage, if you lack the basic 3D printing skills, you can work with one of their consultants to mock up your 3d model as well. If you are looking to jump from beginner into intermediate or advanced territory, this may be the next place on your list.
Know of any other 3D printers in Toronto? Add them to the comment thread below.
Photo by Javin Lau