New technology adds 3rd dimension to printing

New technology comes to Cranbrook via Rocky Mountain Print Solutions

Staff at Rocky Mountain Print Solutions

Staff at Rocky Mountain Print Solutions

Recently the technology behind 3D printing has been thriving and now the East Kootenay will have its own taste of printing in the third dimension. That’s because Rocky Mountain Print Solutions has purchased a state-of-the-art 3D printer. The printer, called a Replicator, is made in New York by MakerBot Industries.

Stephen Wik, of Rocky Mountain Print Solutions said they believe it’s the first commercial placement of a 3D printer in the region.

“We’re excited to work with the community to see just what can be created — solutions to problems, artistry, who knows?” Wik said.

Evan Shellborn, a high school student who is at the printing business through the student works program offered by Columbia Basin Trust, bought and shipped the printer from New York City while he was there.

“We’re still not entirely sure what directions it will take us in,” Shellborn said.  “We like printing cool, fun stuff, but this is a business, so we’ve got to find ways to make business opportunities out of it.”

The printing is sometimes called rapid prototyping because of the quick nature that objects can be fabricated from computer aided design date.

It works by works by bonding successive layers of plastic material to create a solid object.

Shellborn said a digital model drawn on a computer controls the process and can create virtually any shape and the technology is currently used in architecture, industrial design, engineering, medical and dental industries, fashion and jewelry design and many other fields.

“One thing we are definitely going to use it for is repairing broken items in our equipment,” he said. “Just today, we learned that some plastic brackets we want to replace are going to cost $350 each, so if we can print those, it will pay for the printer. We would also love to print stuff for other people, but we don’t have a business model totally worked out yet.”

Wik agreed.

“We can work with clients to create a prototype of an object they’ve designed, or perhaps we will collaborate on projects,” Wik said. “In fact, with something this new, it’s hard to comprehend exactly what it will be used for.”

Rocky Mountain Print Solutions has been in the region since 1973, offering commercial printing and office equipment. Wik said the company has always shown a commitment to developing the use of new printing technologies and local manufacturing.

“We think 3D printing is amazing technology; the way of the future,” Shellborn added. “Rocky Mountain Print Solutions has always been a future-oriented company, so it’s about time to get on the bandwagon, if you will. We also think we can print cool, useful stuff.”

For more information or to schedule a demonstration with the Replicator, contact Stephen Wik at 250-426-3032, or drop by the office, located at 42 – 8th Ave S, Cranbrook BC.

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