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This article was published 14/3/2021 (221 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
When a Women in 3D Printing chapter opened up in Winnipeg, it became the first in Canada. Three years later, the group continues to educate and inspire.
Launched in 2014, Women in 3D Printing is a California-based organization that promotes diversity in the additive manufacturing industry. Today, there are more than 60 chapters in over 20 countries.
Winnipeg ambassador leader Marney Stapley, who is also the vice-president of North Forge Technology Exchange, said the group has grown by 25 per cent during the pandemic, and now boasts a membership of around 150 people.
The group convenes virtually the first Wednesday of every month to discuss topics, exchange ideas, problem solve, and listen to presentations related to 3D printing.
"Our mission is to promote, support and inspire women using additive manufacturing technologies," Stapley said. Additive manufacturing is another term used to describe 3D printing.
The chapter isn’t just for tech junkies; people from all industries are welcome to join. Stapley said participants range from fashion designers to engineers, and 3D modelers to health-care specialists.
Wolseley resident Sara Wilde was a guest speaker at February’s meeting, where she demonstrated how to prepare a model designed on a computer for 3D printing.
Wilde is a 3D character artist at Tangent Animation in Winnipeg and also teaches at Red River College.
"Being able to take something off of the computer and print it in the real world is kind of like a dream that I’ve had since I was a little kid," she said.
Being a woman in a male-dominated industry "comes with its own set of challenges," Wilde said. In a global survey of the 3D printing industry, conducted by Sculpteo and Women in 3D Printing, only 11 per cent of respondents identified as women.
Having a strong support system of women has helped Wilde overcome some obstacles, she added.
This is why she encourages women to join groups that are focused on building each other up.
"Those people are your allies and those people are your supports, and they are there to help you navigate whatever it is you need to navigate."
The next Women in 3D Printing meeting will take place April 7 between 12 and 1 p.m. Registration is free, but required. The session will include a special viewing of a segment from the TIPE 2021 conference.
The Times community journalist
Sydney Hildebrandt was the community journalist for The Times until September 2021, when she joined our sister paper, the Brandon Sun.