By Scott Simmie
InDro Robotics is pleased to announce it is now managing InDro Forge – a prototyping and custom fabrication facility utilising tools including metal 3D printing, CNC machining, silicone and urethane casting, and more.
The facility is located in Ottawa, and was formerly known as the Bayview Yards Prototyping Lab. Previously run by Invest Ottawa, the facility is a “one stop shop” for entrepreneurs and Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) seeking the custom design and fabrication of prototypes. The location features a variety of tools for additive and subtractive manufacturing all under one roof – along with a team with the requisite expertise. InDro Forge also plans expand into other areas, including limited production runs and other custom fabrication for specialty sectors.
The strategic partnership with Invest Ottawa brings InDro’s R&D and engineering expertise to The Forge, while Invest Ottawa will promote the facility and its capabilities to potential clients.
For both partners, this is a perfect match.
“We look forward to enhancing this already-excellent facility and broadening its capabilities and services,” says InDro Robotics CEO Philip Reece. “This is a great fit for InDro, and we’re truly excited about the possibilities for existing and new clients.”
There’s equal enthusiasm from Invest Ottawa:
“InDro Robotics is an ideal partner for our prototyping lab, Invest Ottawa, and the many innovators and companies we serve,” said Michael Tremblay, President and CEO of Invest Ottawa. “We look forward to building on our strong collaboration at Area X.O, and helping firms leverage the evolving prototyping and production capabilities available through InDro Forge to accelerate their technology commercialization and business growth. We are excited to house this expertise right here at Bayview Yards, our innovation hub.”
Let’s dive in.
Below: This 3D printer can create products in a variety of metals, including titanium.
RAPID PROTOTYPING – AND MORE
The facility has already built a reputation for its work with rapid prototyping. Inventors, startups and SMEs have walked through the door with an idea for a prototype. They might want it for a proof of concept, a Minimum Viable Product – or simply as a working model to take and show investors.
Working with staff, they receive a full-fledged industrial design that is then fabricated in any one (or combination) of a number of materials. (The 3D printer alone can work with some 25 substances, including ABS and metal.) The Bayview Yards Prototyping lab built an excellent reputation for this kind of work. It was also an all-in-one solution for companies that didn’t have the equipment, time or expertise to carry out this highly specialised work.
Now, with InDro Robotics at the helm, we anticipate significant synergy between our Area X.O engineering team and the experts at InDro Forge. The latter will be able to draw on the expertise in aerial and ground robotics from our core R&D engineering hub. In turn, InDro Robotics will be able to add the design and fabrication capabilities of InDro Forge to its portfolio of services. What’s more, InDro has plans to extend the offerings of the lab, offering limited production runs and other custom fabrication services.
“We see the value when people come to us with a napkin sketch and leave with a physical prototype they can show investors,” says InDro Forge’s Pablo Arzate, an industrial designer with special expertise in additive manufacturing. He also sees synergy in the transition to InDro Robotics.
“I personally am very excited – I feel like it’s meant to be,” he says.
Below: Advanced capabilities include a water jet machine, capable of slicing through several inches of steel
THE INDRO FORGE ADVANTAGE
For startups and SMEs, there’s a clear advantage to outsourcing prototypes and other complex design and fabrication to InDro Forge. Few companies, particularly smaller ones, have this kind of equipment and in-house expertise. InDro Forge is equipped with a wide array of additive and subtractive manufacturing capabilities, including:
- CNC machining
- Silicone and urethane casting
- Multi-element 3D printing (including metal)
- Electronics and Printed Circuit Board fabrication and analysis
There’s much more, of course. But none of those machines or capabilities would be much use without the highly skilled InDro Forge team members. With backgrounds in industrial design and engineering (and many years of experience), they’re experts in multiple fabrication processes. The core team that worked with Invest Ottawa have stayed on and are now working with InDro Robotics. We’re pleased to welcome:
- Joel Koscielski, Senior Manager of Design and Fabrication (and a mechanical engineer)
- Pablo Arzate, Industrial Designer
- Tom O’Leary, Fabricator and Machine Operator (and metal sculptor!)
For those seeking custom and complex fabrication, the InDro Forge advantage is clear.
“If you don’t have these machines at your disposal, it’s definitely great to find a place with the expertise to help you out,” says O’Leary. “If you don’t have these capabilities then we are here to help create the thing that you’re looking to create. We’re set up to help anybody who comes in with anything from an engineering project to a napkin drawing.”
InDro Forge offers services ranging from one-off prototypes to full product development.
“Some of our other clients come to us where they have an early prototype that they’ve cobbled together. It tells them that their idea is possible but it’s not a product yet,” says Joel Koscielski. “So we’ll help them turn that into a more refined version of itself. We might do one of those, we might do five – even 25.”
Projects can be big – or small.
“Sometimes it’s just that extra bit of capacity – they themselves have never had to make a sheet metal box that looks good,” adds Koscielski.
Below: You dream it, they can make it. From L-R, Koscielski, Arzate and O’Leary
With all of those sophisticated fabrication capabilities in-house, you might guess that team members at InDro Forge have their own favourite machine. And you’d be right.
“My favorite machine is most definitely the Markforged II, it just stands out as a remarkable piece of engineering,” says Pablo Arzate.
“Its precision and versatility in 3D printing technology never cease to amaze me. The Markforged II’s ability to fabricate parts with carbon fiber and nylon on top of reinforcement fiber materials, including carbon fiber, glass fiber, and kevlar, opens up a world of possibilities for product development and rapid prototyping. Whether I’m creating intricate prototypes or functional components, the Markforged II consistently delivers impeccable results, making it an indispensable part of my creative and engineering endeavors.”
For Tom O’Leary, it’s the water jet – which uses a precision stream of water mixed with fine grit under immense pressure to cut and shape just about anything.
“My favourite piece in the shop is the giant basin of water,” he laughs. “It cuts with 55,000 PSI coming out of a tiny nozzle; it’s like having a saw with a calligraphy pen at the end of it. It’s absolutely capable of cutting through six inches of anything ranging from steel to glass to acryclic.”
And Joel Koscielski? He’s also particularly fond of the Markforged Mark II 3D Printer.
“As a Fused Deposition Modelling printer using a carbon fiber reinforced nylon composite material – which has the ability to embed other continuous fiber structures into the parts – it is a true workhorse of innovation,” he says.
“On top of its use for functional parts for prototypes and products alike, its quality and surface finish allow me to make parts which can be used in sales or demonstration environments on the exterior of prototypes, not just on the inside. This is further complimented by a range of innovative solutions our team has developed such as interior metal reinforcement structures to push its parts into new and exciting areas of us.”
This is a major development for InDro Robotics, and we have big plans for InDro Forge. We’re excited to expand our team with the talented crew at InDro Forge and look forward to serving clients large and small.
“This is really just such a logical fit for InDro Robotics,” says CEO Philip Reece. “Whether it’s working with new clients or assisting our own, InDro Forge has all the right stuff – including the right people.”
We’ve issued a news release on the new transition/strategic partnership. You can find that right here.