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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Visiting Vancouver Hack Space: 3D Printer Night

People gathered around 3D printers at Vancouver Hack Space

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Have you ever been to Vancouver Hack Space? VHS is a self-organized, inclusive collective of makers, AND a space to collaborate on projects, that will be coming to Maker Faire again this year! I visited VHS for the first time this past Wednesday, May 1st, and it was a really cool time to be there, because it was their second monthly 3D printer night!

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A 3D printer at work

A 3D printer at work

 

Close-up of a 3D print being made

Close-up of a 3D print being made

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While I signed a simple safety waiver to be in the workshop space, people were setting up 3D printers they brought from home. Armed with long spools of ABS plastic to print things out of, they were ready for some requests!

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After an hour or so, the crowd had settled down, smaller conversations had broken out, and it was a lot more social while people helped each other out with technical challenges.

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It was exciting and overstimulating for me, and the space was pretty tight for the crowd of almost 30 people. However, our host for the evening, Dan Royer, made a special announcement: VHS is officially moving to a new space!

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Dan Royer hosts 3D printer night

Dan Royer hosts 3D printer night

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VHS is presently stationed at 45 W Hastings St, with an entrance that opens from the ground floor in a low-lit back alley leading up a set of rickety stairs. It can be a bit of a scary experience for some people.

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The inside is well-lit, but tight, and densely packed with maker tools and supplies, shown below.

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VHS at the end of the night

VHS at the end of the night

 

Machine tools at VHS

Machine tools at VHS

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In the new space at 270 East 1st Avenue, VHS will have an extra 2000 square feet to fill, which they plan on dividing into two areas, with one room designated for CNC machines and power tools and other equipment, and another room for collaborative learning and other quieter projects.

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Below is a photosphere I shot of the new VHS space on Friday March 3. You can click and drag around in to see the space, and use your mouse’s scrollwheel to zoom.

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(View full screen photosphere of the new location for Vancouver Hack Space in a new tab)

 

VHS aims to complete the move in 30 days, just in time to invite everyone who sees them at Maker Faire to visit them in their new home.

 

Learn more about VHS’s move and find out how to help.

 

Donatio(n) at VHS