There’s no question that there is a burgeoning maker movement sweeping Toronto right now; but as more makerspaces and events pop up, how do we ensure the community of people making things grows along with it? Enter MAKELAB, a company with a fleet of ten (yes ten!) 3D printers that is focused on creating interactive experiences to reach people both inside and out of the core maker community.

The project is a 6-week experiment led by Jonathan Moneta, who worked with printer manufacturer UP3DUSA to secure five Up Mini’s and five UP Plus2 printers in order to create experiences where people could connect with the maker culture. A culture that Moneta describes as something similar to: “that feeling of exploring a science centre as a kid –  constant discovery, wonder, and the ardent desire to share it.”

During the 6-weeks (which will wrap up at the end of December) Jonathan and his team are taking their entourage of printers all over the city to events, bars, cafes, and private parties. They’ve partnered with the ROM to be involved in the Friday Night Live series and are consulting with private companies, schools, and other museums that are looking to get their feet wet with 3D printing.

MAKELAB is also highlighting how 3D printing can be integrated into existing events. They were at this month’s Creative Mornings encouraging attendees to design and print 3D birthday cakes to celebrate two years of the speaker series in Toronto, and they were at Startup Weekend Toronto Maker Edition this past weekend where eight of the eleven teams built prototypes on their fleet.

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What’s been the biggest surprise thus far? “We’ve been astounded at the general public’s knack for 3D modeling,” explains Moneta. At the ROM events the MAKELAB team shows up with a ton of iPads all running the Autodesk 123D design app and ask partiers to design a 3D Mesopotamian city block with pre-designed architectural elements. The pieces are then printed and placed on an ever-expanding Mesopotamian city exhibit. The average person starts with zero 3D modeling experience, and after only about 20 minutes they are able to design their own masterpiece.

What does the future look like for this team? Jonathan admits they’re in the midst of figuring that out. “MAKELAB in its current form is a vehicle for experimentation. We’re testing out a wide range of business activities to see what sticks, what generates revenue, and what we love to do the most.” Currently, MAKELAB is building out their consulting and private events business, while also considering the development of a physical space geared toward the general public, and, naturally, they have a very secret and exciting public implementation of 3D printing in the works.

If you want to see their fleet in action before the 6-weeks are up stop by their 3D printed Mesopotamian city exhibit at the ROM, Friday evenings, until December 6th. Or you can check out makelab.ca to find out where they will be throughout the city, and if you want to book them for a private event or talk about potential collaborations, give them a shout at: hello@makelab.ca.