Category Archives: Meet your Speakers

Meet Your Speakers: John Biehler of 3D604

VIA_Biehler_headJohn Biehler bought his first 3D printer after seeing a demonstration on the Colbert Report. Since then he’s founded 3D604, a local 3D printing hobby group that has also acted as an incubator for companies producing 3D printers. He has written books on 3D printing and become an international authority on the topic. Andrew Macquistan spoke to John about the Vancouver 3D-printing scene. We spoke to him about 3D printing and what his group 3D604 will be doing at this year’s Faire.

AM: How did you get into 3D printing?
JB: My origin story — in 2009, I was at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. Bree Pettis and the MakerBot team brought their prototype 3D printer to an event. That was my first exposure to the technology. The MakerBot was the first machine that was approachable from the average person’s standpoint when it came out. Continue reading

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Guest Blogger, Zee Kesler: Tiny Houses & Sustainable Living

Zee Tiny houseMy name is Zee Kesler and I love tiny houses and efficient spaces!

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As such, I am interested in working with the City of Vancouver to explore the feasibility of tiny houses in an urban environment. To start the conversation, I am collaborating with the Emerging Green Builders to host a Tiny House Design Jam @the Hive Thursday May 29, 7pm. If you are a designer, architect, urban planner, or tiny house enthusiast, please join us! We’d love to have your input.

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At the jam, we will break up into groups to address issues that face the tiny house community such as bylaws and zoning, building codes, as well as liability/insurance issues. We will also explore potential pilot projects and brainstorm systems to match tiny house owners with yard/rental space. Admission to the jam is by donation – click here to book your seat.

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Are you interested in building tiny houses and learning basic construction skills?

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Join us this summer at the Vancouver Community Laboratory for the Tiny House Building Workshop Series, run in association with Camera Buildings.  At the workshop you will learn the skills required to build a tiny house. The series of eight workshops will focus on Q and A, tips to salvaging materials, tricks of the trade, safety, and hands-on construction skills. Upon completion, the tiny house created in the workshop will be used as an experimental off grid Tiny Community Center which will host workshops and artist residencies.

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If this project inspires or interests you, please sign up for our mailing list found on the side bar of the project blog! Info on the workshops will be released shortly and workshop spaces are limited.

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Come find us at the Camera Buildings booth at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire June 7 & 8th! You can also catch my presentation, “Building A Tiny Community Centre”, on June 8th as part of the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire Speaker Series.

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Meet your Makers: Terminal City Glass Co-op

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Did you know that Vancouver’s Terminal City Glass Co-op is the first non-profit, co-operative glass arts facility in all of Canada?

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Ideally located in artist-friendly East Vancouver, Terminal City provides access to high-quality glass making equipment and resources for new and experienced artists and offers classes in glassblowing, flameworking, beadmaking and sandblasting (for ages 16+). The Co-op also tries to engage the community through special events, like the Eastside Culture Crawl, that promote glass as an art form.

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I spoke to co-founder and Program Director Holly Cruise and here’s what she had to say about why Vancouver is such a great place for co-ops, the city’s reaction to it, and what people are getting up to in their classes:

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What makes Vancouver a good place for Canada’s first glassblowing co-op?

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Vancouver is very co-operative friendly city. We live in a place where we have to maximize our use of space and resources, and so it makes sense to share work space, materials and equipment.

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Has the city embraced the co-op since it started up?

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The people of the city have. Everyone who comes to Terminal City is a little awe-struck by our space. It’s big and we make a lot of magic here, plus everyone is very supportive and friendly. We’re also in an ideal neighbourhood for creativity, as we’re at the epicentre of the Eastside Culture Crawl in the Mergatroid Building which has 55 artists studios. We couldn’t ask for cooler neighbours!

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What’s the most popular class?

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Our Glassblowing 1 class is always full! But really it’s about even between Glassblowing, Flameworking, Beadmaking and Sandblasting. Anything at the beginner level is always busy.

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What kind of people come to your classes? And what do they typically make?

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We have such a broad range of students, from 16-year-old kids to 70-year-old retirees, and everyone in between! A lot of people who come here want a creative experience, to do something fun in their spare time. In Glassblowing 1, students learn to make glass paperweights, small cups and bowls, and in the Beadmaking class, they learn how to craft a variety of colourful beads. Flameworking students are taught how to make small sculptures, pendants and marbles using borosilicate glass, and in Sandblasting, they learn how to apply surface decoration to flat glass and other glassware.

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Are there any fun facts that people are surprised to find out about glassblowing?-

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You don’t have to have strong lungs to blow glass!

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I got to visit a workshop on the tiny island of Murano, just north of Venice, to watch glassblowers at work. Sitting there watching little molten blobs of glass become beautiful works of art – with just someone’s breath – was riveting. And while doing my research for this feature, I was amazed to learn that that the glassblower was using the same technique, and practising in the same place, as a glassblower in the 13th century!

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The history of glassblowing actually dates all the way back to the 1st century BC. Invented by the Phoenicians during the rise of the Roman Empire, glassblowing is glassforming technique that involves inflating molten glass into a bubble using a blowpipe and shaping it to make glass vessels. Glassblowers “free blow” short puffs of air into a molten portion of glass called a ‘”gather” which has been spooled at one end of the blowpipe. This produces an elastic-y “skin” on the interior of the glass blob that matches the “skin” on the exterior (which happens when you remove the glass from the furnace). The glassworker then quickly inflates the molten glass and works it into whatever shape they want.

During the middle ages, Venice became the go-to place for blown glass after artisans learned the secrets of glassblowing through trade with the Middle East. In order to maintain their monopoly in the industry, the government forced all the Venetian glassblowers to move to the island of Murano in 1291, where they practised in exile. While in exile, the Murano glassblowers perfected the craft and developed an incredibly clear glass called cristalo, and new colors like deep blue, amethyst and emerald. Despite the fact that leaving the island was punishable by death, many glassblowers managed to escape and shared their new techniques and colors with other craftsmen throughout Europe and parts of Asia.

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Untitled-1Through all this, glassblowing techniques remained unchanged, and it’s neat to know that we can still learn the exact same techniques today at Terminal City Glass. If you want to get a little taste of what they do, check out their booth at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire where they will be doing flameworking and beadmaking demonstrations.

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Holly Cruise will also be at the Maker Faire Speaker Stage from 2:30 – 3 pm on Sunday, talking about different techniques in glass making. Her talk is called FUN with Glass: How to Work with Fire and Not Get in Trouble! Definitely something you don’t want to miss!

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Haven’t bought your Vancouver Mini Maker Faire day tickets yet? They’re cheaper if you buy them in advance!

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Stop by The Hackery and  Lee’s Electronics for a special promo code. The Hackery and Lee’s also still have paper ticket weekend passes available at EarlyBird prices. Get ‘em before they’re gone!

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Lee’s Electronics  — 4522 Main Street
The Hackery  — 304 Victoria Drive @thehackery

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Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glassblowing; http://www.seattleglassblowing.com/glass_history.html

Photos: Terminal City Glass Co-op

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Meet Your Speakers: John Biehler, 3D Printer Village and 3D604.org

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3D printing has put rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing in the hands of many.  Nowadays, anyone with a few hundred dollars and an Internet connection can print their own three-dimensional objects.
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As reported in the Guardian, customers may soon be able to walk into a shop and have their own jewellery, artworks or machine parts printed. We may even see 3D printing stores popping up like we see photocopy stores now.
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The technology is popular, accessible and cheap. As the multitude of uses for 3D printing emerges, the implications have become more and more astounding.
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Experiments are currently being done by:
•    NASA to potentially reduce cargo weight and volume in space
•    Doctors to print life-saving body parts
•    Scientists to construct fossil replicas and human heart cells
•    Fashion designers to create otherworldly, space-age garments
•    An American student who figured out how to print his own gun

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Local photographer, blogger, gadget geek, teacher and 3D printer builder John Biehler co-founded 3D604.org, a club of 3D printing enthusiasts who meet monthly to share their skills and knowledge.
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He’ll speak at a panel discussion on the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire Speaker’s Stage about the ethics of 3D printing. They’ll discuss recent developments in the printers’ manufacturing abilities, the media’s reactions, and the potential legislative effects on 3D print users in the short and long term.

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John is also part of the team that’s bringing the 3D Printer Village to Vancouver Mini Maker Faire again this year. Voted the most popular exhibit at last year’s Faire, the Village plans to showcase 15 or more printers of different models on-site over the weekend. The printers will be running all day, printing objects for visitors to take home as a sample of the technology’s capabilities.

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I caught up with John to find out more about 3D printing in the media, his talk and what he plans on showing off at Maker Faire:
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3D printing is saving lives, and could also be used to take them. What are some of the biggest misconceptions people have about making their own 3D prints?

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I think the media likes to focus on negative aspects of most things. 3D printing in my opinion is simply another tool in your toolbox to make things. Just like a hammer can be used for making things, it can also be used to break things. People are often surprised about how inexpensive 3D printing really is and it’s getting more accessible every day with better and less expensive printers. The software is also getting much better and now kids can design things with nothing more than their web browser.

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You’ll be speaking at Maker Faire on the ethics of 3D printing. Can you elaborate for us?

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We’ll have a panel of folks involved with 3D printing that will discuss some of the challenges with the technology. These include making items that are considered illegal like the 3D printed gun and the issue of copyright. For example, how are people dealing with the ease of copying 3D models for printing, instead of buying?

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Can you describe what people can expect when they visit the 3D printer village? What sort of prints will you be showing off?

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The 3D Printer Village is really a showcase of 3D printing technology. We’ll have a variety of different 3D printers on site, making stuff during the Faire. We’ll also have a pile of sample prints we’ve previously made that shows some practical and fun uses for a 3D printer in your home, work or life in general.

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Why do you think the maker movement is going strong in Vancouver?

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There are lots of very passionate people here that enjoy sharing their skills and their passion is contagious, which is why the movement keeps growing.

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Why is it important to share skills and knowledge?

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It’s partially about giving back and it’s also being able to share something you know with others. The rewards are amazing and it’s easy to do – just share what you’re good at with others.

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Be sure check out John’s talk on the Speaker Stage from 3-4 pm on Saturday, June 1.

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Haven’t bought your Vancouver Mini Maker Faire day tickets yet? They’re cheaper if you buy them in advance!

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Stop by The Hackery and  Lee’s Electronics for a special promo code. The Hackery and Lee’s also still have paper ticket weekend passes available at EarlyBird prices. Get ‘em before they’re gone!

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Lee’s Electronics  — 4522 Main Street
The Hackery  — 304 Victoria Drive @thehackery

 

Photos courtesy of John Biehler

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