Tag: Hot Pop factory

Hot Pop Factory

Q:What is the most practical use of 3d print you encountered?

Q:Have you ever considered any means to make 3d printing more efficient?

Q:What are some possible applications of 3d printing in day to day life? Something used often and practically?

Summary: Hot Pot Pop factory is a company/ studio that makes 3d prints using 3d printers and laser cutters. During a tour given by Bi-Ying and Mathew we got an idea how the 3d printing business is organized. The idea for the company originated in Rome, the concept of creating a company that would combine various 3d design equipment and use it to assist other companies, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs with access to otherwise expensive 3d print technology. The company has been involved in many interesting projects such as Module Composed Architecture  and customized plastic Jewelry when users can write their own custom designs in processing and then print this unique piece on a 3d printer. Hot Pop factory have successfully developed the ways of marketing including the user interaction listed above, sharing experiences with people and following popular trends such as a pipe in shape of Rob Ford’s head, which resembles the recent scandal with him abusing drugs. Overall, the flexibility of demand in the field and manufacturing on demand has brought Hot Pop factory to a solid place in the creative society, where it still resides.


Reflection: My personal experience while visiting Hot Pop factory was rather educating, prior to the visit I only had a vague interpretation as to where to find an accessible 3d printer. Hot Pop factory was the first in this matter, and as of now I know where to find a 3d printer in Toronto. However the offsetting part was the price for 3d prints, where in my opinion the cost does not justify the results. Therefore it is not viable for me to incorporate the 3d prints in any of my works. The experience shared by Bi-Ying and Mathew was very valuable in terms of starting a business in a field with other players around, even if the business could seem rather unique at first glance. As well as the experience of idea development for a particular type of items was rather interesting and showed how one should adapt to the society around him to succeed in business.

Hot Pop


Level of involvement with the artists for People’s Hive?

Synthetic polymers and environment:

Recyclability? Environmental impact or ecofootprint?

Challenges of being in the Maker industry?

Stratigraphia- jewelry line:

Other types of body jewelry or accessories in future?

Bi-Ying introduced us to Hot Pop factory, founded by her and her partner Matt Compeau. They initially started as architects who took a different approach to designing buildings. They showed us some works of theirs including the train station in Rome and the stadium in Lansdowne. Since then they started their own company using a Makerbot 3D printer. They started making and selling jewelry and expanded to make trendy items which gained them media recognition. They use programs such as Rhino 3D and Grasshopper to design their 3D creations. They also use laser cutting which in combination provides endless possibilities for the products they can make.

The ABS thermoplastic materials they use in the 3D printer are similar to that of plastic Legos. Bi-Ying explained that they are not toxic, and 3D printer production does not pose as great a risk to the environment as a factory would manufacturing a similar product.  The products are also recyclable as they can be melted down and remolded into a new product. She also explained that the success and uniqueness of goods manufactured is due to the possibilities of the 3D printer. Each product is made one at a time, and so there is time to customize each one easily in the case of their jewelry line. They used some sort of algorithm to take a 3D scan of a chair and manipulate its shape and size into a repeating pattern created some kind of abstract art sculpture which was 3D printed. I especially like the way they played around with design, with their experimental wooden laser cut shapes which were drawn in a 3D modelling program. They added to the code so that the program would automatically draw the blobby shape as a structure of interlocking wooden slots. They even used digital painting to color the wood as dictated in the program. This combination of techniques had an effective result: to realize an abnormal shape in every detail.

Hot Pop Factory – March 10


(Image source)


We visited Hot Pop Factory, a 3D printing studio, and both co-founders (Bi-Ying Miao and Matt Compeau) were present to talk about their work and answer our questions, such as:

  • In what ways is possible to develop accessible and interesting products through 3D printing?
  • What materials are used for 3D printing?
  • How competitive is the modern marketing regarding 3D printing studios?


Bi-Ying began the presentation by introducing herself and Matt and talking about how they developed the idea of what is Hot Pop Factory today. As majors in architecture in Rome, they developed an interest for shapes and constructions, and used 3D modelling for many of their past projects, and still use for several recent projects. When they had enough money, they bought a 3D printer and started experimenting with it. Some of their projects were presented to us, either physically or in concept: randomly generated unique jewelery pendants, harmonograph-like shaped sculptures, and even personalized head dispensers and pipes as a special gift for a group of clients. We also saw small, delicate 3D sculptures of characters of a game, and Bi-Ying mostly talked about the progression of their work over the years and how their projects are developed, showing us several 3D models used for the sculptures and how they were generated on modelling software.



Seeing a studio so successful in an area that’s not entirely “popular” is really interesting, especially considering the background of both founders and how their interest for modelling slowly resulted in a very successful entrepreneurship. From what was presented, there doesn’t seem to be a great competition going on for 3D printing studios, which helps to establish Hot Pop Factory on a good position in the market. Still, the products are innovative enough to stand out by themselves even if they were amongst more aggressive competition. The fact that Hot Pop also takes its time to interact with clients and even send them special gifts is also something to be remembered, as it proves that the entrepreneurship still takes its time to stand out in the market and is not just comfortably enjoying their current position and success.

Indiegogo and Hot Pop Factory

  1. How successful is the average Indiegogo campaign
  2. What are some examples of very successful campaigns?
  3. What were some of the key elements that you found in those campaigns to be integral to their success?

On Tuesday, Steve came into OCAD to discuss indiegogo. He discussed and presented a series steps and tips one should take when creating his own business. He in particular discussed strategies involving the audience, building a brand, identifying and strengthening your brands “champions” and dethroning the gatekeepers. He also emphasised a few other key points. He made it quite clear that a polished product is very important to the success of a business. In addition to this, he made a few points involving urgency and membership. He reiterated the importance of creating a sense of membership – something to keep them coming back. Creating a sense of urgency through exclusivity and deals can play a huge role in the early success of your campaign or product. Perhaps his most important point was the fact that alienating certain audiences is ok. If you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing nobody.

I found Steve’s advice and speech to be incredibly helpful in terms of business start-ups. I have always been interested in business and how companies grow into very successful businesses.  In particular there were a few key points that really spoke to me. His one line “If they aren’t going to buy it for it’s main feature, they won’t buy it for its main feature” was probably the line that stuck most with me. I find it incredibly relevant in regards to today’s technology market. Phone companies nowadays just focus on jamming their phones with as many accessories and bloat ware as possible. However, I find it incredibly unintuitive. If the phones focused on one or two key features and fleshed them out as much as possible I believe that would be a much better approach.

  1. What were some challenges of getting started
  2. How did you establish your brand in the beginning
  3. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages to 3d Printing

After Indiegogo, we went to Hot Pop Factory on Spadina. We were introduced to the two very nice founders, who discussed their business as well as the rise of maker culture. In particular, they were very positive about the influence that 3d printing and services such as laser cutting has had on their work ethic as well as the industry. They also believed that the rise of laser cutting, 3d printing services and other similar services will create a drastic change in the industry, bring a stronger emphasis on the user. In particular, they believed that these new technologies will bring a new level of customization and personalization that has never been seen before. They also mentioned how these new technologies allowed them to be incredibly agile when it comes to prototyping and testing. They now longer have to wait long or for other studios to create their prototypes. They can do all of it now thanks to 3d printing and laser cutting.

I found this visit to be very insightful into the world of 3d printing and the maker culture. I’ve always been fascinated by the explosion of 3d printing and 3d related products and now I’m beginning to understand why it’s such a huge deal. The idea of personalizing and customizing your own product through 3d printing really struck a chord with me. I’ve always embraced personalization and I believe this could potentially be the natural progression of the industry. Also the efficiency and ease of prototyping seems incredibly useful to me. The ability to reiterate and revise easily sounds like an incredible boon.

Hot Pop Factory

founders of HotPop

(Image of Bi-Ying and Matt. Image from: http://www.makerbot.com/blog/2012/07/30/why-these-architects-love-their-makerbot/)


  • Hot Pop Factory does a lot of 3D printing for jewelry, figurines, etc. Does Hot Pop Factory 3D print things that are potentially for technology? i.e.: cases for working components
  • What is the future of 3D printing? Is it something that would open to artists and non-artists?
  • A lot of places charge an expensive fee for 3D printing. Pretty sure printing materials costs a bit. What is the production for the models like?
  • Bonus Question: I got the impression that Hot Pop is similar to those who are within the Maker’s Economy. The maker’s economy makes creations by themselves, and sells the productions online or elsewhere. However, Bi-Ying was talking about the production using robotic arms. How would the robotic arms play into the idea of Maker’s Economy? Would it typically become another small factory, or would it become a hybrid of both?



When the class arrived to Hot Pop Factory, we were greeted by Bi-Ying, one of the co-founders of Hot Pop Factory. She started by presenting to us how the company started, and what their business essentially provides. Hot Pop factory is a customize production company that specifically uses 3D printers and laser cutters. They were established when they tried to use 3D programs such as Rhino to build architecture that cannot be found in daily society. They tried to create buildings that replace walls with fabric, and get eccentric shapes to form on the building. The idea was shot down by their professor, but they continued to pursue the idea, which eventually lead them to help produce a building in Ottawa that plays on that concept. The whole idea behind Hot Pop factory is to use machinery in modern day society such as 3D printing and laser cutting to create customization and art that would be opened to anyone with the interest.


Personal Response and Reflections:

Upon going to Hot Pop Factory, I went in with the mindset that the small company is the start of promotion for technologies such as 3D printing and laser cutting. I also saw them as a part of the makers’ economy, which creates art and products of their own, and sell them in the market. However, Bi-Ying expressed the idea of using the technology to create the art, and the benefits to creating a robotic arm to assemble the piece created together. In using robotic arms to assemble the art together, human labour would be manipulated. Thinking upon this idea, I do not believe that robotic arms would be a good idea because assuming that not only Hot Pop Factory uses the technology, a lot of labour intensive jobs would be cut. In a monetized world such as ours, with jobs like these being cut, and technology replacing people, the economy may crumble due to lack of income. It also makes the business into a small production factory because the robotic arm would also speed up process, making it easier to mass-produce products. Assuming that the business does not use the robotic arm to mass-produce, it is possible for the company to be a hybrid of both a factory and the makers’ group. It would be intriguing to see how Hot Pop Factory would further grow if the technology of the robotic arm is build for them.

3D PEZ dispensers

(3D PEZ dispensers. Image from: http://blog.gessato.com/2013/02/03/personalized-pez-ead-dispensers-by-hot-pop-factory/)

Hot Pop Factory

(no questions prepared beforehand)

Today we visited Hot Pop Factory, a 3d printing studio. There we were given a talk about the studio and the design process they use. A common program that Hot Pop uses is Rhino. They use this program to produce models and mock-ups of small products and even things like architecture. Through Rhino, Hot Pop is able to produce designs that can be customized with variable parameters such as custom jewelry and sculptures. Much of the time was spent discussing designing digital products with variable parameters. They showed us example of such designs including a stadium in Ottawa, triangle/circle/square jewelry, and an eameschair sculpture. Much of the time was also spent discussing the applications and limitations of 3d printing technology relative to 3d modelling technology. A great application example that was shown to us was a set of 3d printed heads for Pez dispensers. We also were shown some game figurines that demonstrated the limitations of 3d printing in regards to fine detail models.

I found this visit very interesting. I certainly enjoyed getting an inside look at the 3d printing world. I did not realize how difficult it was to convert a 3d model to a physical model, nor the financial implications of attempting to make a product with this technique. I also learned a lot about the applications of generative design. After seeing such a practical use for both 3d printing and generative/computer aided design, I feel much more confident in my ability to apply and use these skills after post-secondary educaton. I enjoyed this visit and have learned a sufficient amount about this section of the DIY/maker industry.

IMG_20150310_185440(Rob Ford meth pipe)


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