Getting Creative at FashionZone’s Hack’n’Talk

First day at Hack'n'Talk

We spent our Canada Day long weekend with some amazing teams of fast-thinking, innovative entrepreneurs, researchers, designers, and developers at the Hack’n’Talk at FashionZone, Ryerson University’s incubator for fashion-focused companies and entrepreneurs.

It wasn’t a surprise to see our friends at HackerNest there – having organized countless hackathons all around the world, they are the gurus of geek. But instead of doing a more rigid style of hackathon, Hack’n’Talk used the problem-solving format of a hackathon and combined it with fun, hands-on workshops and inspirational talks. It was like a bootcamp for innovation. And we were one of the fearless generals leading the charge.

3D printed design

Wearable tech is a big topic, but the “talk” part of the Hack’n’Talk helped break it down for the participants. Biying gave a talk about some of our creative projects, and we were lucky enough to be presenting with the inestimable Tom Emrich from We Are Wearables, among other talented folks.

But then it was time for the hackers to get their hands dirty. There were workshops built around coding (with Ray Kao of People & Code), product design (with the lovely Anna Zissou of Cynefin), and prototyping that gave the attendees new skills to work with. Cue Hot Pop. We can’t get enough of prototypes!

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We love working with creative visionaries to make their ideas reality, and at Hack’n’Talk we had the chance to teach an intensive version of our 3D printing workshops, educating the participants on the freedoms and constraints of working within 3D modelling programs and showing them the endless creative applications of laser cutting.

Laser cut wood

Our students took this knowledge to heart and created some amazing prototypes for their projects. Trial and error at the 3D printers and creative laser cutting in downtown Toronto at our Queen and Spadina studio made them focus their ingenuity and resulted in some great final products.

3D printed bracelet prototype

We had a blast working with these creative adventurers, and if you have the chance, definitely keep an eye on these cool, young companies. We’re sure you’ll see more of them!

July 15 2014 Comments Off

Time Travel Through the History of Manufacturing

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3D printing is our thing, but as makers, we have an insatiable love for textiles as well. Whenever I look closely at the layers of polymer that make up a 3D print, I am reminded of how it is built up of repeating threads just like a textile. Both processes are forms of additive manufacturing with one looking back and another looking forward in the history of manufacturing. As 3D printing becomes more and more mature as a technology, it seems as though the tradition has come full circle.

In our latest collaboration, Hybridized Cloth, with textile artist Ozana Gherman, the goal was to see what would happen if we dove into the history of manufacturing to pluck out some of the most traditional textile making techniques to concoct a mashup with the highly digital fabrication method of 3D printing. So, we set out to experiment with various forms and techniques native to each manufacturing method, attempting to marry the soft intricacy of traditional weaving with the computerized beauty of digital fabrication.

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Our process began in digital realm where we usually start a 3D printing project. But unique to the multi-medium approach of integrating textiles, we decided to create something that would be intimate to the human form. To do this, we tested and refined a series of shapes that would respond to a 3D body scan. By going back and forth between 3D models and physical prototypes, we developed a pair of triangulating structures that nestled comfortably on the shoulder.

 

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These structures were generated with specialized software and materialized with a 3D printer. They were produced as a kit of parts consisting of nodes and connectors, each indexed for easy assembly. Each connecting member was marked with regularly spaced notches in the digital file in anticipation of the weaving process that would follow. The entire piece came together via pin and hole connections, transforming our digital drawings into articulated three-dimensional forms.

 

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At this point, the digital manufacturing process was complete. We then transitioned to a completely hand-crafted process where the finished triangulating structures became the frame on which we wrapped a thick black warp for weaving. The notches that were designed into the members made it very easy to guide each thread of yarn around the structure. We started the weave by filling in the internal cells of the armature with panels of varying porosity, then moved outwards and began working on an entire garment.

 

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We explored several indigenous weaving techniques and a myriad of embroidery stitches to create our contemporary version of the huipil, a traditional Guatemalan garb. We chose the huipil for its simplicity and historical roots to contrast the modern fabrication methods used in the piece. We also employed the associated hand-crafting techniques in the creation of the textile. This included back-strap weaving, the colloquial use of a portable back-strap loom, which was secured around the weaver’s waist and attached to a structural element such as a tree or post to create necessary tension. Ozana did this by securing the weave on her studio door!

 

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From start to finish, the making of this piece involved going back and forth in the history of manufacturing. Interestingly enough, the traditional techniques were augmented by the digital ones through computerized manufacturing. By working digitally, we were able to create a three-dimensional framework on which to weave rather than creating a series of 2D patterns to stitch together. The result is a hybrid way of producing 3D textiles that draws from traditional manufacturing while integrating it with budding digital processes. This piece is a part of a larger study on the ritual of making, more developments will follow as we continue to experiment and play with our favorite tools and materials.

 

Hybridized Cloth will be on display until March 15, 2014 at Craft Ontario as a part of the Hand and Machine show and Toronto Design Offsite Festival. We are running a special 3D Printing meets Craft workshop in the Craft Ontario gallery on March 9th where attendees will be designing and making 3D printed beads for a DIY leather wristlet. Sign up now before tickets are gone!

 

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Get a peak at all the beautiful pieces at the Hand & Machine show in this highlight reel.
 

 

RELATED POSTS |  Eamespunk – Remixing a Classic

January 26 2014 Leave a comment

A Lasercut Honeycomb for Canada’s Largest Museum

Art Installation ROM Canada Toronto

 

We have been fascinated with the plight of the bees for the last couple of years. A few months ago, when we got the chance to build an installation that tells their story, we jumped at the opportunity.

As the fabricators for the People’s Hive, we approached the project as a system of prefabricated parts (kind of like IKEA furniture) that are digitally manufactured with a laser cutter and CNC router. Here’s how the installation came together.

 

Peoples Hive Royal Ontario Museum

 

First, there was inspiration

Earlier this spring, an architect, Janna Levitt, and an artist, Myfanwy Macleod, travelled to Japan to learn about the fine art of beekeeping and how the decline of the bee population has tremendous consequences for our own existence on earth. Two weeks later, the two returned to Canada with an idea.

The intent was to communicate the bottom-up mentality of a hive community to inspire awareness and action surrounding the issue of colony collapse disorder. If the hive mentality can motivate thousands of bees to form an organized network working for a common goal, perhaps it is also a model humans can emulate to solve the problem at hand. A few weeks later, this question evolved to become an art installation, known as the People’s Hive, that would be a part of the Carbon 14 Climate is Culture exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum.

 

Fleshing out the idea

Matt and I came into the story around the point where the idea of  People’s Hive required transformation into a real-life physical artifact. We worked together with Janna and Myfanwy and drew upon several architectural archetypes – the shed, bunker, and kiosk, as a starting point to bring physical form to the idea of the hive. The final design of the structure was to be covered in a luxurious honey comb pattern and surrounded by 4 child-size beekeepers, designed to manipulate the viewer’s perception and play with the their sense of human scale.

 

Hot Pop Factory Art Installation Drawing

Hot Pop Factory Art Installation ROM Toronto

Photos above © Ben Rahn/A-Frame

 

Building the system

In alignment with the bottom-up mentality of the hive, the design and fabrication of the Hive structure started with the smallest element in the piece – the hexagonal panel that make up the honeycomb cladding. Lasercut from 1/8″ acrylic in the perfect shade of yellow, the size of each panel was determined by optimizing the number of tiles that can be cut from a standard sheet of 4’ x 8’ material. These panels, when tiled, became a grid that governed the exact size and shape of the overall structure.

 

Hot Pop Factory Fabrication Toronto

Hot Pop Factory Laser Cutting Toronto

The plywood shell that the honeycomb panels are fastened to was precision cut on a computer controlled milling machine. We then built the stud framing to fit inside that shell. This process may seem a bit backwards, but it allowed for the most accuracy so that the prefabricated panels can tile perfectly on each face of the structure.

 

Every component of the Hive was designed and built to assemble with bolts and connectors on site. We put in the effort to design each component so that it can easily be transported, installed and disassembled for future exhibitions. The hard work completely paid off! Check out this time lapse of the installation process.

 

Hot Pop Factory Art Fabrication Toronto

The project was a fantastic success and will be on display at the ROM until February 2014.

 

RELATED POSTS | Eamespunk – Remixing a Classic | Behind the Scenes: People’s Hive

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October 29 2013 Leave a comment

3D Printer Finger Painting at Maker Faire

 

We had such a blast at this year’s Toronto Mini Maker Faire! For this special weekend event, we revisited one of our favorite childhood activities, finger painting, and updated it to our digital age with a Leap Motion, some 3D printers (of course) and a little bit of home-made code. The result, is the 3D Printer Finger Painting booth!

Over the course of two days, we watched the bewildered faces of hundreds of kids, parents, grandparents and friends as they waved their fingers over the Leap Motion micro sensor, and saw their doodles instantly appear on a digital monitor. The best part of all, is seeing those doodles come to life in 3-dimensions on our 3D printers as funky, abstract sculptures. Read on for a review of our Leap Motion experience.

 

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INSPIRATION
We are passionate about finding the creative applications of 3D printing. We’re enamored by how 3D printing can empower people from all walks of life to shape the world around them and the products they own. Right now the tools used to create content for 3D printers are often rather archaic and unintuitive for those who are not already experienced 3D designers. The projects that are exciting us most at the moment involve finding new means of interacting with these machines that break down these barriers.

WHY FINGER PAINTING?
We knew that Makerfaire would be a busy place with many kids in attendance. Our mission was to create a fun and easy way for people to generate their own 3D content in just a few seconds without any training. Since 3D printing is a new technology we find its very helpful to get people comfortable with it by tying it to a familiar metaphor like Finger Painting or Kissing Booths. This allows people to approach 3D printing on familiar terms without being overwhelmed by the technology itself.

HARDWARE + SOFTWARE
We used the Leap Motion, Makerbot Replicator 3D Printers and a couple of regular old desktop computers. We tied them all together by writing our own software in Processing. The program we wrote allows people to generate colorful 3D models on the screen using their fingers and the Leap Motion. We then exported these models to the 3D printers using standard file formats so that they could be reconstructed in real-life.

HIGHLIGHTS
The response at Maker Faire was fantastic! It drew crowds throughout the weekend. I think the most rewarding part was seeing how many people were able to use it without any instruction – especially kids. Our favorite finger painter was a little boy who was convinced that clapping his hands and spreading his little fingers out like a fan resulted in explosion of cubes on the doodle screen. It was really the speed of his motion that the program responded to, but he was having so much fun creating with his big clapping gestures, all we could do was sit back and smile. We loved seeing how different people approached the sensor and learned to self-navigate our program on their own terms, bringing their own personality.

FUTURE APPLICATIONS
What’s nice about the Leap is that casually interacting with the computer becomes a very low cost investment of time and attention for a passer-by at a busy venue like Maker Faire. People don’t have to waste time fumbling around with a keyboard and mouse – this is a big part of why we chose it for this event. For 3D printing in particular the Leap is especially interesting, because unlike a mouse, which moves around on a 2D plane, the Leap is specifically equipped to interpret 3D input. This helps alleviate one of the major pain points in getting new users to create 3D content, which is navigating 3D space on a 2D screen with a 2D input device.

 

3D Printed Leap Motion

3D Printed Heart Leap Motion

3D Printing Finger Painting Leap Motion

Hot Pop Factory Maker Faire Leap Motion

October 15 2013 Leave a comment

Art Installation: People’s Hive at the ROM

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We’ve been busy BEES… busy working on an exciting new project that will be installed as apart of Carbon 14, an exhibition exploring the scientific and cultural aspects of climate change, at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto! People’s Hive is a dream collaboration with Myfanwy Macleod and Janna Levitt. It has been months in the making and we cannot wait for everything to come together. Here’s a little sneak peak of the working progress.

 

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Today, we finally loaded up the van and moved all the parts into the museum. Our little honey comb project sleeps in a gallery corner tonight, install starts tomorrow! Stay tuned for the big reveal!

 

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October 1 2013 Leave a comment

Toronto Maker Faire, Here We Come!

Hot Pop Factory at Maker Faire

Toronto’s  maker community is a bunch of ridiculously smart, fun-loving, think-outside-the-box people who will be gathering for Toronto Mini Maker Faire this weekend! Matt and I are super excited to be apart of the celebration and have two days of 3D printing interactive activities planned for the event. Join us!

 

Toronto Mini Maker Faire

September 21 | 10AM-9:00PM
September 22 | 10AM-5:30PM
WYCHWOOD BARNS

tickets here!
(20% off promo code: AWESOME)

September 19 2013 Leave a comment

Featured: 3D Printed Wood Necklace

Hot Pop Factory - 3D Printed Matter

Love this spread in the Fall issue of Designlines Magazine, which features our Boreal Necklace, made from 3D printed wood! Check out these behind the scenes snaps of the photoshoot where the team’s beautiful art direction and photography came together. Read the whole article by Evan Davies here.

 

Boreal Necklace

Image Credit: Naomi Finlay

 

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Matt Compeau Bi-Ying Miao

September 3 2013 Leave a comment

Toronto 3D Printing Classes

Toronto 3D Printing Workshop

As designers, we’ve found the prospect of personal 3D printing to be tremendously empowering, and it has been our ambition to share that opportunity with as many people as possible. Fortunately for us, we’ve been able to team up with some fantastic not-for-profits, schools and other organizations over the past few months to give hundreds of people their first 3D printing experience here in Toronto. In light of this success, we’ve decided to make friendly, hands-on 3D printing classes a permanent part of what we do at Hot Pop Factory.

Starting this summer, we’ve partnered up with Draft Print 3D and others to open up our ‘3D Printing for Total Beginners‘ workshop to the public. We’ll be running this class on a bi-weekly basis, and we’ll be adding more advanced follow-up courses as demand grows. These 3D printing classes will be focused on providing you with a first-hand, interactive experience, where you will have the opportunity to bring your design ideas to life using 3D printing.

We have four dates already lined-up for this month, you can view the full listing here:

3D Printing for Total Beginners
Workshop Listings

July 2 2013 Leave a comment

Media Blitz!

Canada Media Logos

The last few months have been a whirlwind for Bi-Ying and I. We managed to pick-up coverage from almost every major Canadian media outlet. Its been the ride of a life time so far, and we can’t thank all of our friends and supporters enough for making it happen! Here is a little recap of some of the coverage:

 

CTV Canada AM

Hot Pop Factory on CTV Canada AM

 

Global News

Hot Pop Factory on Global TV News

 

CBC News

Hot Pop Factory on CBC News

 

National Post

Hot Pop Factory in National Post

 

The Globe & Mail

Hot Pop Factory in Globe and Mail

May 29 2013 Leave a comment

Seriously One of a kind

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Did you know that our newest collections are made so that each piece is literally one of a kind? That means, we intend for each design to be made into infinite variations, and we will only make each variation once. As soon as a piece is snatched up by a customer, we will replace it with a different one! So for those of you that got a little something for your mums this weekend, tell her that her Hot Pop is a true unique, just like her.

Happy Mum’s Day!

May 10 2013 Leave a comment
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