Rick Downer at the Geek Shop creates a series of nautical ornaments, just for fun. (Tim Collins - Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke ‘s interest in 3D printing is growing

Technological advances ean that creation is limited only by imagination

Another outlet touting the endless possibilities of 3D printing has come to Sooke and Rick Downer of the Geek Shop can only imagine where the technology will be in a few years time.

“I’ve been doing this for about two years now, and I’ve seen some pretty amazing advances already,” Downer said.

He has two machines available to the public at his Sooke Road shop and maintains that pretty much anyone can learn to create whatever they can imagine using the process commonly known as 3D printing but more accurately called additive manufacturing.

“You can 3D print anything these days. So long as you can get it through the print nozzle, you can print with it,” Downer said.

In fact, the process can use precious metals like silver and gold, chocolate, even meat, to create items. The only limit to what is printed is the imagination of its creator. Even houses have been printed and there is speculation that the housing industry may find itself facing a printed house revolution.

And learning to design items is not as arduous as many might assume.

“It took my 13-year-old daughter about two weeks to learn how to do it. The hardest part is probably learning to use the CAD (computer assisted design) program. But it’s not like you’re learning Greek,” Downer said.

Downer’s printers came as the first private business to venture into the 3D printing field, adding to the facilities that were unveiled when Makerspace at Edward Milne Community School opened in May 2018.

That facility is open to the public as well and EMCS offers training for those who are looking to learn about the technology.

So what is 3D printing?

It’s a process that involves the manufacture of an item, layer by layer, based upon a computer generated design.

The process is very different from the traditional manufacturing technologies that have been used since the dawn of time and represents a turning point that experts have said will be as transformative as the introduction of the internet.

READ ALSO: Vancouver Island teen aims to build a bionic arm

Kate Forrest, the owner of Replik8 in Victoria, is an internationally acknowledged expert in the field of 3D printing and has taught courses in the technology to students of the University of Victoria.

“This is a tool like any other tool, but one with enormous potential to change the way we do things,” Hinkley said.

“I’ll give you an example. I had the vintage Volvo collectors club approach me. It seems that there was a particular type of vintage hubcap that is nearly impossible to find. We printed them for the club, improving the design slightly so that the hubcaps didn’t fly off the car in the way that the original design had.”

But Forrest cautions that there is still a way to go before the average person can fabricate complex items.

“Still, it’s very captivating and who knows what the future will hold for the technology?” she said.

Downer invites anyone interested in learning about or trying out 3D printing technology to visit him at the Geek Shop at 596 Sooke Rd. You can also contact Makerspace at EMCS or go online to emcsprograms.ca/makerspace.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VicPD confirms wolf sighting in James Bay

Police ask that children and pets be taken inside

VIDEO: Furry, four-legged donors make their way to doggy blood drive in Langford

WAVES and Canadian Animal Blood Bank host blood drive for dogs

Annual Salmon Carcass Transplant draws Saanich residents to Douglas Creek

More than 100 frozen salmon tossed into the creek as part of ecological restoration

Colwood hosts open house on future of Royal Bay community

Event takes place on Jan. 22 at Royal Bay Secondary from 6 to 8 p.m.

WATCH: Police warn car break-ins are on the rise in Greater Victoria

Residents can ‘take precautions to make their vehicle undesirable,’ says VicPD spokesperson

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

VIDEO: Drone footage shows extent of damage in Highway 4 rockslide

Tofino, Ucluelet still cut off from rest of the island, as crews work to repair roadway

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Most Read