3D printing is a relatively young industry. It is also capital intensive, due to the cutting edge technology required. Many commercial 3D printers are large and require proprietary materials. In the interest of experimenting with different printing materials for open source small scale 3D printers, Emily Carr has partnered with Offload Studios, a commercial output centre for 3D printing based in Abbotsford. The idea is that less expensive materials may be developed for use in 3D printing. Further, when coupled with open source 3D printers that are built from plans available online for free, the 3D printing entry cost for small businesses may also be lowered.
The Prototyping, Media and Programming (PMP) Lab at Emily Carr was responsible for research experimentation with many materials, such as various plastics and plaster mixes. In addition, during the course of the research, the PMP Lab sought to engage a wider online social space of open source 3D printing where plans, recipes and new ideas could be exchanged freely.
The PMP Lab at Emily Carr, through its materials research, seeks methods of producing 3D printing that is both low cost and high quality. It also seeks to build relationships with industry to facilitate learning about 3D printing.