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

Camp fun still offered in Greater Victoria

Easter Seals offers day camp options to replace cancelled overnight camps

Swim advisory issued at Cadboro Bay beach due to high bacteria levels

Island Health advises against water activities, swimming

UPDATED: Saanich firefighters investigate early morning fire at elementary school

Fire crews remain on scene at Strawberry Vale Elementary

Saanich councillors scurry to ban rat poisons on municipal properties

A ‘small but important first step’ to protect local wildlife, councillor says

No swimming or skating at Juan de Fuca rec centre for now

The Q Centre to reopen starting on July 13

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read