Credit: iStock

We look at some of the movers and shakers in the industry

British Columbians are just starting to explore the many uses for 3D printing, but they’ve had the service at their fingertips for some time. 3DSmith Studios in downtown Vancouver and Burnaby’s Forge Labs opened their doors in 2016. Both places help customers print everything from tires to action figures, though the latter is more suited to industrial jobs. It’s not only big cities getting in on the fun; earlier this year, rural Canada’s first 3D metal printer arrived at Midas Lab in Trail.

Business Model

Entrepreneurs are now building businesses around 3D-printed products. Vancouver-based shoemaker Casca Designs, for example, prints custom soles based on the buyer’s foot. Uploading photos to Casca’s app generates a 20,000-point 3D model of your feet that the company uses to shape your shoes. Also from Vancouver is startup YodelTech, whose flagship product, YodelUp, a smart watch for the winter sports crowd, is partly 3D-printed.

Home Improvement

Can 3D printing solve the housing crisis? B.C. engineer Paul Tinari claims that his printer can assemble a 2,700-square-foot home in 24 to 48 hours. Tinari is still a ways away from putting that belief into action, but he plans to start by building houses on a First Nations reserve on Vancouver Island. We’re sure the construction industry won’t have any complaints about that.