Maker North in the news


MAKer north wins Innovation Project of the year at SSMArt Awards

We are excited to share our news! Maker North attended the SSMIC SSMArt Awards today where we were honoured to receive The Project of the Year Award. Thank you SSMIC and thank you Sault Ste. Marie!
Photo credit: Ali Pearson

SSMArtAward.jpg

LOCAL News
Romano welcomes innovative new business with $178K
By Sootoday STaff
Oct 27, 2018

The opening day for Maker North's 'makerspace' was held at its Church Street location Saturday, June 2. James Hopkin/SooToday

The opening day for Maker North's 'makerspace' was held at its Church Street location Saturday, June 2. James Hopkin/SooToday

NEWS RELEASE
ROSS ROMANO, SAULT STE. MARIE MPP
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Today MPP Ross Romano attended the grand opening of Maker North at 55 Church Street – a brand new manufacturing company in Sault Ste. Marie specializing in additive advanced manufacturing.

Maker North is using new technology such as 3D printing and laser cutting to create a streamlined and more cost efficient process of manufacturing prototypes to help local entrepreneurs in their business endeavours.

“Maker North is a great innovative space for the Sault,” said Romano. “The digital economy is a growing industry around the world and is always a welcome addition to our local business community.”

The opening on Friday was made in part due to the Ontario government granting Maker North $178,000 in NOHFC funding that will create four full-time and two part-time jobs. Romano stressed the importance of NOHFC as a driver for economic development in this and future initiatives in Northern Ontario.

“I am proud to be able to present Maker North with this sizeable contribution from NOHFC,” Romano said Friday. “Our government’s desire to invest in Northern Ontario businesses not only opens the door for us to expand our economic potential in the region, but allows us to diversify our local job base in the Sault and prevent our youth from leaving home to find employment elsewhere.”

This investment was received by co-founders Helen Scott and Joseph Bertrand, who believe their business will create opportunities for local makers and entrepreneurs to make the most of their business ventures. “We are grateful to the grant from the NOHFC and very happy with the space improvements and equipment we have been and will be able to obtain with these funds” said Scott.

Bertrand echoed Scott’s sentiments adding Maker North is, “giving access to the technology of the future to help the local entrepreneur to get to the next level”.

This announcement comes days after Ontario’s new government introduced Bill 47, the Make Ontario Open for Business Act. If passed, Bill 47 would allow the process of investing and creating jobs to become easier for companies by reducing the red-tape burden and removing unnecessary regulations while implementing effective ones.

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LOCAL News
Maker North “Using Local Resources to Create Local Solutions for Local Problems.”
By Megan Pounder
October 26 2018

(Left to Right) Maker North Co-Founder Helen Scott, Mayor Christian Provenzano, MPP Ross Romano, Maker North Co-Founder Joseph Bertrand, Maker North Designer Mike Sacchetta at the ribbon cutting for the grand opening of Maker North. Photo by Megan Pounder/SaultOnline

(Left to Right) Maker North Co-Founder Helen Scott, Mayor Christian Provenzano, MPP Ross Romano, Maker North Co-Founder Joseph Bertrand, Maker North Designer Mike Sacchetta at the ribbon cutting for the grand opening of Maker North. Photo by Megan Pounder/SaultOnline

Maker North celebrated its grand opening on Friday evening, after receiving $178,000 in funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation.

Local MPP Ross Romano was at this grand opening to present Maker North with this funding.

Maker North specializes in additive advanced manufacturing, using new technology such as 3D printing and laser cutting to create a streamlined and more cost efficient process of manufacturing prototypes to help local entrepreneurs in their business endeavours.

“Maker North is a great innovative space for the Sault,” said Romano. “The digital economy is a growing industry around the world and is always a welcome addition to our local business community.”

Romano stressed the importance of NOHFC as a driver for economic development in this and future initiatives in Northern Ontario.

“I am proud to be able to present Maker North with this sizable contribution from NOHFC,” he said. “Our government’s desire to invest in Northern Ontario businesses not only opens the door for us to expand our economic potential in the region, but allows us to diversify our local job base in the Sault and prevent our youth from leaving home to find employment elsewhere.”

Co-founder Joseph Bertrand told SaultOnline he believes their business will create opportunities for local makers and entrepreneurs to make the most of their business ventures without having to leave the Sault. He said this funding will help them afford the technology and staffing needed to do so.

“This funding is also going to give the local entrepreneur and the local member, the person who walks through the door here, an experience that will allow them to be able to produce and create their own designs locally,” he explained. “That money will be used to keep people local, and be driven into the local economy.”

Bertrand said they’ve already seen quite a few local businesses come to them to have various items made, such as signs and key chains. He estimates that Maker North has been involved in approximately 30 assignments of various sizes since their inception two years ago.

This funding announcement comes days after Ontario’s new PC government introduced Bill 47, the Make Ontario Open for Business Act. If passed, Bill 47 would allow the process of investing and creating jobs to become easier for companies by reducing the red-tape burden and removing unnecessary regulations while implementing effective ones.


LOCAL News
Ideas to get real at Maker North
By SARA McCLEARY
Tuesday March 27 2018 12 39 52 EDT AM

The team displays some of the goods produced with newly acquired high tech machinery that will become publically accessible through membership in Maker North. Among the equipment to be available are 3D printers and lasercutters.The idea is to tap into the residents’ creative and entrepreneurial spirit.

The team displays some of the goods produced with newly acquired high tech machinery that will become publically accessible through membership in Maker North. Among the equipment to be available are 3D printers and lasercutters.The idea is to tap into the residents’ creative and entrepreneurial spirit.

An eclectic trio of partners soon will open a place in Sault Ste. Marie to fill what they see as a major gap.

Joseph Bertrand, Helen Scott, and Michael Sacchetta now operate Maker North out of their respective garages, but will expand their advance manufacturing services into a new location that will allow public access to machinery that will ease construction of personal arts and crafts projects.

The Maker Space, at 55 Church St., directly behind the Bushplane Heritage Centre, will have more than 4,300 square feet of space divided in four rooms, Scott told Sault This Week. Three will be available to the public.

One will contain 3D printers and laser cutters; another will house woodworking equipment and the third will have space arranged for drawing, painting and other design work, crafting and sewing and a full photography studio with backdrops and lighting.

The group anticipates ongoing expansion of Maker Space but will open with equipment the group feels is most needed immediately.

The trio first will work with Maker North members to learn what people need and will build the expansion around those preferences, Scott said. Anyone, regardless of age or experience with the equipment, will be able to purchase a membership, which will be available by day, month, or year.

Maker North will provide training to ensure members know how to use the machines safely and effectively.

Scott and her partners plan educational workshops on more specific skills, and will invite members to offer their own sessions to cultivate a blend of skills and experience.

She said the partners want Maker Space to “become a true social machine where the community actually drives what happens in there.”

The team is still sorting out the details on policies concerning children, but even kids will be welcome.

“For safety reasons you can’t drop your six year old off and have him there by himself, but we do want your six year old in the space,” said Scott.

The team displays some of the goods produced with newly acquired high tech machinery that will become publically accessible through membership in Maker North. Among the equipment to be available are 3D printers and lasercutters.

The idea is to tap into the residents’ creative and entrepreneurial spirit.

Maker North will host summer camps and school field trips once it is up and running.

The equipment is costly, but Scott said the greater risk is in not filling the void.

“We’re taking the risk because we live in Sault Ste. Marie and this city needs it,” she said.

“There is such a creative spirit here, such an entrepreneurial spirit here, and such an incredible lack of resources.

“We are hoping that we can help ignite a spark in this city that will allow that creativity and that entrepreneurial spirit to actually become more than it is right now,” Scott said.

The Sault’s small business sector is very strong and “That’s the engine that’s going to take this city forward,” she said.

“We want this city to be the vibrant place that it can be, and our economy is in desperate need of a spark, and we have an idea that we think can do that.”

The business has already created job growth, with one of its founding members becoming a full time employee beginning in April. The space should lead to other jobs as well, Scott said.

“We also intend to hire at least one fulltimer, and hopefully two, before the summer’s out, and we will be looking at bringing in two or three part time staff as well this summer.”

The team has met with various members from the Economic Development Corp. and Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre and has received support from those services, particularly assistance accessing funding.

Most of the people the group has spoken with from the EDC, SSMIC, the City, FedNor, and Algoma University have known that a maker spacewould benefit the community, she said.

The partners’ different backgrounds and the varied skills each member brings have made a strong team, said Scott.

Bertrand came up with the idea through his experiences as a community worker and his recognition of the need for access to these resource she said.

Bertrand then approached Scott, a social justice lawyer, to see if she would partner with him, and she calls his passion “infectious”.

She looked at his business plan, expecting to find flaws and holes needing to be addressed, but the only obstacle she could find was coming up with the initial capital to cover the high overhead.

“That did take us some time and that’s why we’ve been operating for almost two years out of our garages and backyards.”

Scott and Bertrand had confidence in their abilities to operate the business side of things, but neither had an intense technical understanding the equipment, so they approached the university for a recommendation for a third partner, and brought back Sacchetta, who had fallen in love with Algonquin College’s maker space and its 3D printer during his time studying there.

“When he returned to the Sault he couldn’t access those things because they weren’t here,” said Scott.

“He couldn’t afford to buy them because he was a new grad, so he bought parts and he built himself one. So Mike knows how to make these things sing. He just has an innate ability to make them do what we need them to do.”

The team awaits word on when two more important pieces of equipment will arrive before announcing an official opening date for the maker space, but Scott said it will be some time in May.

The team hasn’t finalized costs for membership either. The goal is to set fees at a rate that will cover costs but remain low enough that the price of participation won’t be prohibitive.


New Sault company aims to create jobs, produce gadgets for all ages at soon-to-open shop.    Jan 23, 2018 2:00 PM by: Darren Taylor

New Sault company aims to create jobs, produce gadgets for all ages at soon-to-open shop.

Jan 23, 2018 2:00 PM by: Darren Taylor

A child expresses amazement at one of new Sault company Maker North’s toys at Station Mall, Jan. 20, 2018.  Darren Taylor/SooToday

A child expresses amazement at one of new Sault company Maker North’s toys at Station Mall, Jan. 20, 2018.

Darren Taylor/SooToday

A new 3D printer business will soon be setting up shop in Sault Ste. Marie, established, owned and operated by local inventors who can design and produce ‘wow factor’ gadgets for adults and toys for children.

Many children, youth and adults were visibly impressed by Maker North’s technical skill and creative ability as they witnessed the company’s 3D printers in action and viewed their creations, on display at Station Mall over the weekend.

Maker North, established by Joe Bertrand, Mike Sacchetta and Helen Scott in 2016, is currently a homebased business, finalizing details of setting up shop in a visible, well-known Sault location, inventor Bertrand told SooToday (full details to be announced soon).

Maker North’s vision is to not only establish a site to manufacture and sell products the public wants, but also to open its doors to inventive minded people of all ages to come in, design, build and market their own creations, Bertrand said.

“We have a lease for a space and it’s going to have 3D printing, a lounge area with games which we’ve made, a wood shop for prototypes and design, and a theatre for education…people can come in and teach their trade in the maker space. It’s going to be a community hub,” Bertrand said.

“We absolutely have plans to hire (designers, especially youth)…it won’t be long.”

“We’re going to drive this from the bottom up for the good of the community,” Bertrand said.

One local inventor who has already benefitted from Maker North’s help is Gerry Richard, who invented the ‘Marbite,’ a household rack which holds towels with the help of a marble, not a hook (yes, really).

“It’s called the Marbite because it operates with a marble in it, and it ‘bites’ the wall. Potentially it eliminates the dangers of children getting injured by a hook. You can put in anywhere, in the hall or elsewhere, without getting a hook on the shoulder because there’s nothing sticking out,” Bertrand explained.

“We want to manufacture Marbite here instead of it being done in southern Ontario,” Bertrand said.

Marbite inventor Gerry Richard was on hand at Station Mall Saturday demonstrating Marbite to the public.

“As a group that works with labour market research, we thought it appropriate that we promote Maker North, a Sault-based tech manufacturing company that’s focusing on advanced manufacturing…it’s how the economy is now shifting, toward more robotics and 3D printing,” said Matt Lance, Algoma Workforce Investment Corporation (AWIC) office administrator.

AWIC, a community-based, non-profit corporation that addresses labour force development issues, shares a downtown office space with the Community Development Corporation.

“I’m most likely going to buy a Marbite. I think it’s awesome and it’s interesting to see how it’s capturing the attention of youth and adults because of how intricate and fascinating the designs are and how they’re made,” AWIC’s Lance said.


New stuff coming downtown?    Oct 29, 2017 11:00 AM by: David Helwig

New stuff coming downtown?

Oct 29, 2017 11:00 AM by: David Helwig

The Entomica insectarium may also move to the bushplane museum by year's end. Donna Hopper/SooToday

The Entomica insectarium may also move to the bushplane museum by year's end. Donna Hopper/SooToday

City Council will learn Monday about ongoing discussions that may bring three major new initiatives to the east end of Bay Street.

Mike Delfre, Kim Park and Richard Walker from the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre are expected to talk about the possibility of a private/public makers' space and a specialist program in aviation/aerospace for high school students coming to the bushplane museum.

They're also expected to discuss the possibility of the Entomica insectarium moving to the aviation museum by year's end.

The bushplane centre is one of seven outside agencies appearing before City Council on Monday in hopes of securing cash contributions in the 2018 municipal budget.

"Initially, our makers' space could include access to carpentry, welding, audiovisual and pottery equipment and facilities, along with 3D printing and laser-cutting technology," Delfre, the bushplane museum's executive director, says in a memorandum prepared earlier this month for his board of directors.

Also called hackerspaces or hackspaces, makers' spaces are do-it-yourself facilities designed for people to gather and learn and create.

The Sault's facility would be developed in conjunction with the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre and Maker North, a privately held manufacturer.

It would be located in the 93-year-old east hangar adjoining the museum.

Currently used for storage, the east hangar was the original home of the Ontario Provincial Air Service, which grew to become the world's largest noncommercial air service.

Along other things, the makers' space project is dependent on negotiations with Purvis Marine, which owns both hangars on the bushplane museum site.

Algoma District School Board is also interested in moving into the historic east hangar to establish a specialist high-skills major in aviation and aerospace.

Students would work there on aircraft restoration projects, similar to the White Pines Field School that's already on-site.

J.D. Aero, Springer Aerospace, Air Dale, White River Air Service and the Ontario government's aviation division have all offered to provide equipment, tools, parts, aircraft and wisdom to the project.

Subject to negotiations with the building owner, the new academic major could be offered in September 2018.

Delfre says Entomica has also approached the bushplane museum about moving its operation there from Mill Market.

"Entomica has asked to expedite the development of the partnership and their move to the [bushplane museum] to be completed by year end," he said.

Over the past two years, the museum has partnered with Entomica at the local science festival and at Bushplane Days.

SooToday's Darren Taylor reported this week that Entomica recently became a not-for-profit organization and is planning a fundraising dinner on Nov. 2 at the Grand Gardens.

Entomica spokesperson Michael Odom told Taylor that Entomica has held discussions about moving to a new location if necessary, but said that wouldn't be the insectarium’s first choice.

“If we came into a situation where we had the ability to expand, absolutely we’d be looking to do so,” Odom said.


A young man examines a 3-D printed hand from the Maker North Inc. exhibitor booth at the Science Carnival on Saturday.  Jeff Klassen

A young man examines a 3-D printed hand from the Maker North Inc. exhibitor booth at the Science Carnival on Saturday.

Jeff Klassen

Broke the tip off your vacuum? Can’t  nd that random little plastic knob for your vintage snowmobile?

Maybe you need a prosthetic limb?

Just send this new Sault Ste. Marie business a computer  le and they’ll be able to help you print just about anything you can imagine — and they have big plans to grow.

Local 3-D printing based business Maker North Inc. made its public debut at the Sault Ste. Marie Science Festival on April 29.

The startup company — which incorporated just two months ago — was out promoting their ‘all things maker’ service with a heavy focus on 3-D printed objects.

On display were 3-D printed gadgets, models, toys, a gaming console, and even hand prosthetics that can actually grip things.

Maker North co-owner Mike Sacchetta said the business can potentially replace a $90,000 upper arm prosthetic with a 3-D printed one using less than $20 in materials.

Right now Maker North is based out of the 1,000-square-foot home shop of the other co-owner, Joe Bertrand, but in the next six to 12 months they would like open a physical ‘makerspace’ location somewhere in the city.

The makerspace is planned to be open to the public with gym-like, different-tiered monthly memberships which give members access to 3-D printers and other creative tools like electronics kits, 3-D scanning, a laser cutter, and more.

Maker North does most of its printing with PLA (polylactic acid)  lament – typically, colourful biodegradable plastic material derived from plants like corn or sugarcane.

Most individuals and businesses that 3-D print order the  lament in long spools; however, in the coming months Maker North is going to be creating and spooling the material themselves from imported raw pellets.

If everything goes according to the company's  ve-year plan, Maker North will work with local farmers to source some kind of plant material — even farm plant-waste — to produce their own PLA pellets in the Sault.

Maker North predicts  lament sales will eventually be its largest source of revenue.

They plan to combine different colours for marble-like effects, and combine PLA with rubber and even wood filings to make very unique material to 3-D print with.

“Hopefully (Maker North) will be able to cut down the cost of everything. We’re going to be able to offer filament cheaper than Amazon.ca,” said Sacchetto.

For now, however, the business is focusing on simply printing objects for people.

Due to copyright issues, for the most part Maker North is simply taking user-submitted designs to print, although they are able to make some designs themselves on request.

Sacchetta said most people and designs with open source licenses freely online at sites likeThingiverse.com.

Customers simply have to download or create a stereolithography  le (.stl  e), send it to Maker North, and they will print it.

Maker North also has scanning tools to help people copy items; for example, one-of-a-kind objects or antique items.

Sacchetta said stories of 3-D printed guns in the media have created controversy around the technology — he had at least one person come up to him with concerns at the Science Carnival.

“People don’t realize that if you make a  rearm out of anything, the RCMP laws are the same. You can’t just hit ‘gun print’ on a computer,” Sacchetta said. “People that have actually done it have metal barrels and metal  ring pins; they can’t just use a 3D printer.”

“We have this great technology where you can do almost anything but is this sort of controversy going to be its downfall? Miseducated people are just spreading rumors and it might mean the government puts laws on these things.”

Sacchetta said that he sees part of the threat to 3-D printers is coming from corporations that make money off selling tiny plastic parts for high prices.

If a car’s air conditioner knob breaks, for example, people can now potentially make it for just a few dollars instead of anything from $60 to $200, said Sacchetta.

Another potential use for the technology is for visual artists who create drawings or designs on their home computer but don’t have the means to print.


Take a look at the new 3D printing business that just opened up in the Sault    Apr 30, 2017 4:30 PM by: Jeff Klassen

Take a look at the new 3D printing business that just opened up in the Sault

Apr 30, 2017 4:30 PM by: Jeff Klassen

A young man examines a 3D printed hand from the Maker North Inc. exhibitor booth at the Science Carnival on Saturday.  Jeff Klassen

A young man examines a 3D printed hand from the Maker North Inc. exhibitor booth at the Science Carnival on Saturday.

Jeff Klassen

Take a look at the new 3D printing business that just opened up in the Sault (12 photos) Apr 30, 2017 4:30 PM by: Jeff Klassen

Broke the tip off your vacuum?

Can’t find that random little plastic knob for your vintage snowmobile?

Maybe you need a prosthetic limb?

Just send this new Sault Ste. Marie business a computer file and they’ll be able to help you print just about anything you can imagine – and they have big plans to grow.

Local 3D printing based business Maker North Inc. made their public debut at the Sault Ste. Marie Science Festival on Saturday.

The startup company – who incorporated just two months ago - was out promoting their ‘all things maker’ service with a heavy focus on 3D printed objects.

On display were 3D printed gadgets, models, toys, a gaming console, and even hand prosthetics that can actually grip things.

Maker North co-owner Mike Sacchetta said the business can potentially replace a $90,000 upper arm prosthetic with a 3D printed one using less than $20 in materials.

Right now Maker North are based out of the 1000 square foot home shop of the other co-owner Joe Bertrand but in the next 6-12 months they would like open a physical ‘makerspace’ location somewhere in the city.

The makerspace is planned to be open to the public with gym-like, different-tiered monthly memberships which give members access to 3D printers and other creative tools like electronics kits, 3D scanning, a laser cutter, and more.

Maker North does most of its printing with PLA (polylactic acid) filament – typically, colourful biodegradable plastic material derived from plants like corn or sugarcane.

Most individuals and businesses that 3D print order the filament in long spools however, in the coming months Maker North is going to be creating and spooling the material themselves from imported raw pellets.

If everything goes according to the company's five-year plan, Maker North will work with local farmers to source some kind of plant material – even farm plant-waste – to produce their own PLA pellets in the Sault.

Maker North predicts filament sales will eventually be their largest source of revenue.

They plan to combine different colours for marble-like effects, and combine PLA with rubber and even wood filings to make very unique material to 3D print with.

“Hopefully (Maker North) will be able to cut down the cost of everything. We’re going to be able to offer filament cheaper than Amazon.ca,” said Sacchetto.

For now, however, the business is focusing on simply printing objects for people.

Due to copyright issues, for the most part Maker North is simply taking user submitted designs to print, although they are able to make some designs themselves on request.

Sacchetta said most people find designs with open source licenses freely online at sites like Thingiverse.com.

Customers simply have to download or create a stereolithography file (.stl fie), send it to Maker North, and they will print it.

Maker North also have scanning tools to help people copy items, for example, like one-of-a-kind objects or antique items.

Sacchetta said stories of 3D printed guns in the media have created controversy around the technology – he had at least one person come up to him with concerns at the Science Carnival.

“People don’t realize that if you make a firearm out of anything the RCMP laws are the same. You can't just hit ‘gun print’ on a computer, people that have actually done it have metal barrels, and metal firing pins, they can’t just use a 3D printer,” said Sacchetta. “We have this great technology where you can do almost anything but is this sort of controversy going to be its downfall? Miseducated people are just spreading rumors and it might mean the government puts laws on these things.”

Sacchetta said that he sees part of the threat to 3D printers is coming from corporations that make money off selling tiny plastic parts for high prices.

If a car air conditioner knob breaks, for example, people can now potentially make it for just a few dollars instead of anything from $60-$200 said Sacchetta.

Another potential use for the technology is for visual artists who create drawings or designs on their home computer but don’t have the means to print.

The Science Carnival was the last event of Sault Ste. Marie Science Week.

Among the presenters were Dispatch Talent from Toronto, Science North with their touring planetarium show ‘Under the Same Stars: Minwaadiziwin’, Entomica, Clean North, and more.