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First America, Now Canada — Looking to Network a Nation of Makers. Who’s Next?

BY ON WED, SEPTEMBER 24, 2014 ·


The Maker phenomenon is spreading, directly North it seems. Not only is America making, but Canada is too, now, as Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) has launched Canada Makes. Like its southern counterpart — America Makes — this is a national network of excellence dedicated to the adoption and development of additive manufacturing in the home nation.

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America Makes was the rebranded effort of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) in the US, which was certainly a mouthful when the acronym was not used, and nowhere near as inspiring to the nation’s increasing number of makers and young talent. Since the rebranding — and redoubling of efforts at every level of the making hierarchy in the US — America Makes really seems to have caught the imagination both in the homeland and further afield. I’m thinking it won’t be long before we see other national networks — set up and/or rebranded. ‘UK Makes’ doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, but given the surge in nationalism among these fair isles ‘England Makes’ could work, and Scotland can Make with devolved making power if it so chooses. Germany Makes maybe, Italy Makes, Australia Makes, China Makes — I could go on, but you get the idea.

However, right now Canada Makes, and according to Jayson Myers, CME’s President and CEO: “Additive manufacturing is one of those advanced manufacturing technologies that is likely to disrupt the way we are making things. CME is proud to take the leadership and promote its development among the Canadian manufacturing sector.”

Canada Makes has launched in collaboration with Sheridan College’s Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT), located in Brampton, ON. CME and CAMDT will organize three additive manufacturing workshops at CAMDT’s facilities in the next year in order to promote the adoption of additive manufacturing among SMEs. The first workshop is scheduled for October 16, 2014.

“CAMDT is one of the most advanced applied research labs in Canada and it has the latest technologies and software in the field of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). We are proud to help make this state-of-the-art laboratory available to small and medium-sized manufacturers across the country,” Myers said.

“Sheridan routinely partners engineering students with local businesses in need of 3D printing work,” said Director of CAMDT and Associate Dean of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Dr. Farzad Rayegani.“SMEs gain access to equipment they otherwise couldn’t afford and benefit from product and process innovation. The students gain invaluable insight into the design challenges that manufacturing businesses face daily.”

Canada Makes will reportedly expand gradually into other areas of additive manufacturing, including metal 3D printing, and printable electronics. In addition to technology demonstration and training workshops, members of the network will also benefit from a customized service aimed at identifying potential partners and source of funding to complete their additive manufacturing projects, from prototyping to applied and fundamental research.