Twitter Canada Car Media Kiosk

It’s one of the most creative times of the year – trade show season! The companies that really stand out always come up with fun and unique ways of getting their message across. Recently we worked on an exciting project for Twitter Canada that totally reinvented what a media kiosk could look like.

Twitter Car Laser Cut Media Kiosk

To promote their #VideoNow event, Twitter came to us wanting a mini car sculpture that would house tablets and headphones. The event was to promote the video capabilities that Twitter has to offer as well as how creative professionals can use these tools to design awesome experiences for trade shows and conferences, so making something that stood out was key! They came up with the idea for the car after brainstorming something that would have a greater visual impact that the typical iPad stand. One of the main upcoming trade shows is the Canadian International AutoShow in February so incorporating the car model was perfect.

From start to finish, the entire project was designed with rapid prototyping tools in mind, even the colour!  After designing the laser cutting file, we used digital colour printing to print the colours you see directly onto sheets of  wood. This full CMYK process is more precise and way faster than using paint or other tools. Next, the wood was laser cut with our in-house laser cutters and then prepared for shipping.

Twitter Laser Cut Car Media Kiosk

One of our favourite things about laser cutting is that it’s super easy to ship items to clients. The most efficient aspect of displays made with laser cutting is that the pieces are all flat surfaces that can be flat packed for shipping. Even better, for events and trade shows the displays can be easily assembled and taken down each time. So the client can have their kiosk whenever they want to promote the brand.

Twitter Laser Cut Car Media Kiosk

Looking to make an interesting display for trade show season? The turnaround time for displays like this is typically 3 to 4 weeks so get in touch!

If you’re looking for other unique flat pack ideas, one of our favourites is the blush wale sculpture. Though the sculpture was made with flat slats it becomes a voluminous and organic shape once put together.

Images via: Mark Simmons

2015 Holiday Hours

December 14, 2015
Hot Pop Factory Ptashka Ornament

Even though the year-end is fast approaching, there is still some time left to bring your unique product or gift ideas to life. Just drop us a line and submit your project. Hot Pop is currently doing around-the-clock production and no sign of stopping until December 23rd so you can get those final gift orders complete before the holiday.

Hot Pop Factory Holiday Hours

So mark it on your calendars, we will be open Monday-Friday 10AM to 6PM, until December 23rd; closed from December 24th to January 3rd.  And finally open for business in 2016 on January 4th.

If we don’t see you til then, have a great holiday and see you in the new year!

merry mag holiday cover

A few weeks ago we had a special visitor at Hot Pop Factory. Melissa DiRenzo, the creator of the inspiring craft blog The Sweet Escape, was looking for a unique project to feature on the cover of Merry – A Handmade Holiday Guide. Merry is an online magazine that Melissa started last year that is stocked full of inspiring DIY holiday ideas by very innovative people. We love working with makers and were super excited to collaborate on this project.

The Sweet Escape laser cut ornaments

This was Melissa’s first time laser cutting and so we couldn’t wait to have her in. It’s always fun seeing people’s excitement of how quick and easy it is to bring 2D designs and turn them into 3D objects. For the cover Melissa worked on designs for a wall-mounted deer head as well as some laser cut ornaments to go inside the issue. After they were prepped for the laser cutter we had a blast bringing her festive objects to life. See how the ornaments were made in Melissa’s full blog post.

The Sweet Escape Laser Cutting at Hot Pop Factory

Hot Pop Factory Wooden Ornaments 02

Hot Pop Factory Wooden Ornaments 01

Images via: The Sweet Escape, Merry magazine

hot pop card

Last week we had a blast creating some festive holiday cards using two different materials and laser techniques:
1. Fancy Cut-out Pop Up Card
2. Custom Engraved Bamboo Invite.

Complete with handy tips and a downloadable template, this post will teach you how to make a holiday card that stands out on the mantle.

Step 1: Know Your Materials

When planning any DIY project it’s important to think about what material you want to use. Different materials have properties that work well for some processes and not for others. For example, for our Hot Pop holiday cards we used both bamboo wood and shiny card stock.

Hot Pop Factory Laser Cut Materials

For the bamboo we knew we could use engraving and score lines with the laser machine because there’s thickness in the material. With the card stock we instead used cut lines alone. Even though card stock is a thick paper, engrave and score lines would have removed the finish and made the card look like it was peeling. Engrave and score lines will reveal the material underneath, so you need to consider whether the underneath is something you want to show.

Step 2: Create Vector Artwork

Vector drawings define lines instead of pixels, and can be made with programs like Adobe Illustrator, Rhino and AutoCAD, to name a few. In contrast, raster images are made of pixels and can’t be used for laser cutting – these files include Adobe Photoshop files, JPEGs, PNGs, GIFs etc.. If you’re starting out and don’t know how to create vector files, you can download the pattern for the feature projects at the bottom of this post.

Step 3: Use Our Template to Get to Know Your Line Types

If you’re getting the itch to make your totally unique idea, a great way to start off is downloading the Hot Pop laser cutting template available here.

The first thing you will notice is that the file has 3 layers — cut, score and engrave. These three layers define 3 different ways the laser cutter can transform your material. Here’s what each one does:

types of vector lines

– The cut lines are where the laser cutter will go all the way through the material you are using.
– The engrave area are where the laser will precisely burn away the top surface your material so that there is a dark debossed area.
– The score lines are where the laser will follow the vector path.

To make sure everything is aligned, all these different lines go in the same file but on different layers according to how you want them cut.

Step 4: Laser it!

With your material choice and artwork file ready, you can now submit your project for production at Hot Pop Factory, or get your hands dirty at your local maker space.

hot pop card laser cut

At our studio, we stock a wide array of common materials and can also work with what you bring in yourself. Here’s how the process went at our studio.

What are you waiting for!? Go make some awesome cards of your own! Or, if you like the cards we’ve designed, you can DOWNLOAD THE TEMPLATE for both of them and start personalizing. Happy Holidays!

hot pop laser cut card

Hot Pop Factory gift guide 02

This month we’ve been in non-stop production mode for the holiday rush, and though it has been crazy at the shop we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the awesome projects that have come through our doors. We’ve met so many inspiring local designers and artisans with crafty ideas, so here are a few of our favourite projects!

Hot Pop Factory laser cut trivets

Take a dive into fabrics! These beautiful architectural trivets made by Humble Raja show some of the exciting possibilities when it comes to laser cutting softer materials. These designs are inspired by India’s architectural motifs and are made of 100% wool felt. Check out the final product in their shop.

hot pop clients ornament

Make ornaments for events and decoration. These ornaments by Ptashka Arts, both for local community events and an artisanal shop, were inspired by Ukrainian design. The first one was designed for the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus and the second is an elegant traditional snowflake available in her Etsy shop.

Hot Pop Factory gift guide 12

Get playful with coloured acrylics! The Camden Collective, a talented group of Waterloo Architecture graduates, decided to celebrate Toronto with these cheerful ornaments of notable buildings from around the city such as City Hall, the CN Tower, and OCAD University. This colorful beauties are for sale at the Spacing Store, along with these cool laser engraved TTC token coasters, just down the street!

Want to make your product idea a business just like these talent folks, we can help you get through prototypes and short runs right here at our Toronto shop. Drop us a line using our contact details at the bottom of the page!

Image via: Ptashka Arts, Camden Collective

3d printed Herman Miller mini Scissor Chair

Give clients something special this year with high-quality gifts made in Canada.

Our clients are some of the most innovative and creative people around, all of them have impeccable taste. So when it comes to the holiday time, we like to show our love and appreciation with a one of a kind gift. So what makes a gift truly memorable? We think it is a combination of totally unique ideas, premium materials, and most importantly, personalization.

Now, these so happen to be some of the major strengths of rapid fabrication technologies like laser engraving and 3D printing. Before these processes arrived on the scene, creating a custom product required getting massive quantities of items manufactured and shipped from abroad, today you can create custom branded items and get them personalized right here in your neighbourhood.

We love it because unlike previous manufacturing procedures, laser cutting is flexible when it comes to what materials can go through the same machine. As a result, we have engraved on almost any surface you can think of including wood, textiles, metal, fine leather and even wild and wonderful materials like gingerbread! This means that the options for high-quality and novel gifts are as broad as your imagination.

Get the creative spark with our top 3 corporate gift ideas!

1) Personalized and Practical Keepsakes

Laser engraved luggage tags

If you want to get everyone on your team something unique this year then personalization is the way to go! Everyone loves the feeling of receiving an item that was made just for them, and custom engraving lets you do just that. One beautiful option for travelling sales teams or high-flying clients is custom leather and wood luggage tags. For this project we used locally sourced urban wood from Toronto. This sustainability initiative from the City of Toronto uses trees that have fallen from natural causes and salvages the material for designers and artists in the area. Then, for the leather we worked with local leather workers who dyed and prepared the material for laser cutting. Finally, we laser engraved the name and logo for a finished and clean-cut look. Companies have also been creative and gotten us to print a variety of colours on the leather and wood.

2) Company Branded Swag

LGA laser engraved card holders

As November hits us, everyone is getting into the holiday season rush. Here are some beautiful gifts that don’t look last minute. We have customized everything from concrete coasters to handmade wallets, and the best part is that the engraving can be done lightning fast! Recently, we completed sleek cardholders for LGA Architectural Partners, artistic coasters for Grolsch and striking cutting boards for Eat Industries. Each product had it’s own story.

When LGA Architectural Partners approached us, they wanted to get staff excited about their new brand image. So we sourced a hand made wooden product that evoked the same design and sustainability values as the company. We then worked with their graphic designer to incorporate personalization and the new logo onto the product. The final result was modern, memorable and held a personal touch each team member.

Eat Industries laser cut cutting board

The one thing our clients love most about laser cutting is that you can personalize a gift not just in terms of the message that is engraved, but also what material the engraving is done upon, and what could be better for a local meat and produce shop than engraving on the very cutting boards they will be using every day. This recently happened when we helped a retail customer personalize a set of cutting boards as a present for the owner of Eat Industries. It was a great way to celebrate the opening of a new business and create a piece of beautiful and long-lasting marketing material.

Pop-up laser engraved coaster

The only thing better than a gift is a holiday party, so start yours off with a bang! When we started working for Grolsch Breweries they were looking for really unique event swag. The client’s goal was to create the surprise and delight that we all remember from opening childhood trinkets. Together with their event planner we worked on custom coasters from scratch incorporating a map of Toronto and precision laser cutting. For this project we focused on the signature Grolsch swing-top bottle, and produced a miniature pop out toy that would be collectable from various venues.

3) The Full Package

Herman Miller 3d printed scissor chairs

One of the most unique projects we have done is for Herman Miller, a furniture company with a focus on modern design. Herman Miller wanted to create a gift made especially for their design clients, so only an innovative and unique idea would do. For this project we produced and packaged miniature versions of their Scissor Chair, which were originally designed by the legendary designer Ward Bennett. To execute this project each individual chair was 3D printed and then packaged in a clear plastic container that had been laser cut and engraved. Measuring only 2 inches tall, these little gems were really tough to give away!

The options for making awesome corporate gifts with rapid fabrication are literally endless. Beat the holiday rush and tell us how you’d like to make an impression this year.

Swaine Street Woodworking-Hot Pop Factory Laser Cut 01

We are going crazy over these gorgeous looking (and smelling) cutting boards by Swaine Street Woodworking. The lovely Jana Bookholt, Founder of the brand, meticulously crafts each piece from North American FSC-certified maple, with wood specifically chosen for colour and wood grain pattern.

We recently laser engraved a bunch for Jana in preparation for her holiday rush.

Swaine Street Woodworking-Hot Pop Factory Laser Cut 02

Check out the selection on the Swaine Street Woodworking site and get in on this perfect fall gift.

Or, if you already have your hands on your own perfect cutting board, try personalizing it with a custom laser engraving!

Elizabete Ludviks Hot Pop Factory 3D Printed Jewelry 03


Of all the wonderful people who have walked through the doors of Hot Pop Factory since we opened two years ago, Elizabete Ludviks sticks out as a designer and lady boss who embraced rapid prototyping with open arms and struck gold as a result.

Elizabete is a masterful metalsmith who incorporates traditional and modern geometries into her hand made jewelry. When we met her, she needed a way to scale up production for her intricate designs to expand into the fashion jewelry market to compliment her existing precious metals collections.

The result was two new collections that were prototyped and manufactured at Hot Pop Factory via 3D printing and laser cutting. Both adding some colour and whimsy to her lookbook while increasing efficiency and profitability so she was able to spend more time designing, and less time in production. Take a look at the two beautiful collections.

Ludviks Design Silver Cube Necklace

The Nylon Geometrix Collection
3D printed SLS Nylon, various colour dyes

Elizabete Ludviks Hot Pop Factory 3D Printed Jewelry 01

Elizabete Ludviks Hot Pop Factory 3D Printed Jewelry 04

The Northern Lights Collection
Laser cut and engraved acrylic, mirror finish, various colours

Elizabete Ludviks Hot Pop Factory Laser Cut Jewelry 02

Elizabete Ludviks Hot Pop Factory Laser Cut Jewelry 03

Just look at how polished, detailed and precise laser cut parts can be, right out of the machine too. That means, minimal manual finishing and a consistent product from prototype to market.

Elizabete Ludviks Hot Pop Factory Laser Cut Jewelry 01

If you have a hand-crafted business and are not sure how to scale without risking quality or your margins, consider incorporating laser cutting or 3D printing into the production of a component, an entirely new design, or even the packaging and branding.

We’d love to see what you’re working on – drop by and tell us about your ideas.

Images via: Ludviks Design

Branch Lamp designed by LGA Architectural Partners

We blogged about Toronto’s urban forests in a previous post about working with the city’s Urban Utilization initiative. One of the projects that we sourced the reclaimed wood for is “Branch Lamp”, a DIY lamp kit, designed by our friends at LGA Architectural Partners, and laser cut at Hot Pop Factory.

Toronto Lumber Yard Reclaimed Wood

Laser Cut Wood Sheet and Lamp Shade Panels

In the words of the designers:

“Each of the lamp’s unique fins are created by digitally carving away at a tree branch before they are perforated with offset, staggered openings. The light passing through these openings evoke the delicate, filtering effect of the tree’s canopy and foliage.”

laser cutting maple wood lamp panel

Laser Cut Wood Lamp Closeup

Wood is a versatile and economical material to work with, when laser cut, it can be transformed into signage, decor, stationary, jewelry and very unique gifts. Find out more about the materials we stock and how to laser cut it on our laser services page. Need more inspiration for wooden projects? Check out the Hot Pop Factory Instagram feed!

Banner image via: LGA Architectural Partners

laser cut acrylic close up

It hasn’t been very long since our design school student days . That inspirational week after the assignment drops and the final week of all-nighters before the deadline feels just like yesterday. We know what it’s like to prepare for your final review and we are here to help you with your presentation model. Buy your materials at the shop and get it cut lightning fast.

In partnership with our neighbours across Grange Park, OCAD University, Hot Pop is offering a student and alumni promotion for 10% your next laser cut or 3D printing project. Check out the details on the Alumini Perks and Student Offers page.