Next-gen 3-D

Canadian innovators are using 3-D printers to reimagine entire industries, from fashion to medicine.

Trestle Bowl, OTHR

Each piece is a one-of-a-kind, numbered edition. (Photo: OTHR)


Alberta-born, Montreal-based object and furniture designer Zoë Mowat is known for her simple, sculptural pieces, and her collaboration with New York City’s OTHR is the epitome of modern minimalism. Like all of the company’s products, her porcelain Trestle Bowl set is only 3-D printed on demand so there is no overstock.

3-D-printed plesiosaurs, Royal Tyrrell Museum

(Photo: Royal Tyrrell Museum)

In their bones

Scientists and doctors are proving that 3-D printing is more than a mere novelty. At Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital, plastic and metal prosthetics are being replaced with ones printed from a bone-mimicking calcium-phosphate compound. In Alberta, paleontologists at the Royal Tyrrell Museum have 3-D-printed plesiosaurs (pictured) to test theories on how the prehistoric marine reptiles moved. And in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, a project aims to turn household waste like coffee grounds and gelatin into bioplastic, then use that material to print household goods and teaching tools for the tiny northern community.

Hot Pop Factory

(Photo: Hot Pop Factory)

Print partners

As the price of 3-D printing comes down and its popularity soars, machines are popping up at maker spaces and dedicated companies across the country. One stand-out: Toronto’s Hot Pop Factory, which brings digital ideas into the physical world using printed plastic, nylon, sandstone and alumide (as well as techniques like laser cutting and engraving). They’ve created products and prototypes for everyone from architects to accessory designers.

1. Hot Pop Factory co-founders Matt Compeau and Biying Miao

2. A 3-D printed model of the Royal Ontario Museum

3. Eames-inspired chairs printed at different, easily scalable sizes


A perfect fit

Designed by a team of engineers in Montreal, the 3D-printed Uclip is the only universal clip for mobile devices. It attaches snugly to flat surfaces and edges like those found on treadmills, kitchen counters and car vents.

Shawna Tabacznik’s Shimon necklace

Shawna Tabacznik’s Shimon necklace.

Silver lining

Toronto-based artist Shawna Tabacznik’s sterling silver jewellery combines traditional hand-cast techniques with 3-D printed materials. A graduate of OCAD University, she gathers inspiration from her cultural heritage (she’s lived in Israel, Colombia and Canada) and her work includes a mix of modern geometric shapes.


(Photo: John Biehler)

Solid selfies

Author and artist Douglas Coupland helped bring 3-D printing to the masses with 3DCanada, an art project that had him scanning volunteers at department stores across the country. Shoppers went home with a mini bust of themselves, while Coupland turned about 1,000 busts into a sculpture called “The National Portrait.” The work debuts June 29 at the new Ottawa Art Gallery and is on display for a month.

Top Hotel Picks: Summer 2018
Read the next article

Top Hotel Picks: Summer 2018

From Paris to Bali, the best in hotel getaways, weekend road trips and far-flung adventures.