We stopped by Hot Pop Factory’s studio this week and had the chance to chat with founders Bi-Ying Miao and Matthew Compeau about their space and some of the services they offer. Hot Pop Factory is a well-equipped design studio located just north of Spadina and Queen that specializes in various fabrication processes for makers, designers and brands. You may recognize them from the 3D Printing for Total Beginners workshops they host that are frequently featured in the Makers Digest; what you may not know however is that they have a full suite of laser cutting services as well. The best part? Their laser is kitted out with giant googley eyes and named Betty.

Bi-Ying and Matthew are the brains behind the company, the space, and the inventive projects it produces which have included everything from a 3D kissing booth, printed wood jewelry, giant bee hives and most recently an installation at MADE on Dundas West.

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Upon arriving at Hot Pop’s studio, Bi-Ying greeted us and it wasn’t long before we were getting our hands dirty. Bi-Ying had the ingenious idea of laser cutting a pattern for DIY glasses and adding our name to the top to create a party style frame. Bi-Ying walked us through her process of rendering the glasses in Rhino from both flat and 3D perspectives. Then, she laid the wood out on the laser cutter’s flatbed and voila! We had cut ourselves a pair of custom The Makers Nation frames. We were able to pop them right out and put them together. What a treat!

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Hot Pop Factory can also laser cut fabric, acrylic, rubber, leather, felt, cardboard, paper and engrave metal. For those unfamiliar with the process Hot Pop can create the entire piece from start to finish for you, including material sourcing. For those more familiar with the process, a list of accepted file types and sizes can be found here.

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We love that Hot Pop is always bringing something new to the community. Later this month, for instance, they are hosting a Hardware Startup Workshop where they are giving entrepreneurs the tools to figure out how to design, prototype, line up manufacturing at scale, and bring their product to market. An invaluable exercise for anyone with a hardware project that doesn’t necessarily have the industrial design skills or manufacturing experience to make it a reality.

Thanks again to Hot Pop for hosting us in their space, providing us with our first piece of wearable merch, and for continuously creating great programming for makers in Toronto!

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