Canadian Manufacturing

Famed Canadian sculptor, design engineer headlines Javelin office launch

by Matt Powell    

Manufacturing automation CAD design investment Manufacturing Motion control R&D Robotics SolidWorks Sustainability

Bill Lishman had 1995 film made about his training of migration patterns to Canadian geese

OAKVILLE—There’s probably a number of Canadians that don’t know who Bill Lishman is or what he’s done.

While Lishman may have kept a pretty low profile as one of Canada’s most celebrated artists, sculptors and design engineers, the man has an impressive resume.

He was the first Canadian to foot-launch a lightweight aircraft and the first to successfully train Canadian geese to follow migration patterns, leading a flock of 16 geese from his home in Purple Hill, Ont. to Virginia – 13 of which returned to his 100-acres property the next year – a feat that drew so much attention, it was turned into the 1995 feature film, Fly Away Home, in which Jeff Daniels portrayed Lishman.

Lishman has also dabbled in ultra-lightweight aircraft design, starting out with foot-launched aircrafts until he developed a motorized craft using an 8 horse-power go-kart engine.


And he was the first Canadian to successfully design and construct an underground home, built of steel domes that make up the rooms, only to be buried with thousands of tons of earth.

But as Bill’s design endeavours advanced, so did the technology he needed to successfully get his ideas on paper, or more recently, on his computer screen.

His latest idea resembles a 1950’s Hollywood rendition of a UFO, but is in fact a floating hotel, which Lishman says will rotate at about two rotations-per-minute in a new, flying vacation experience.

Lishman says he’s used Javelin Technologies Solidworks 3D CAD software to develop initial designs of the new flying craft, which may be why he was the guest-speaker at Javelin’s new office launch party in Oakville earlier this week.

Javelin Technologies, founded in 1997, is a global supplier of design and manufacturing engineering software in a 3D CAD program known as Solidworks, 3D printers under its Objet brand and modular engineering system for electrotechnical design called Zuken Electrical Design.

The company’s new 12,000 square-foot Oakville office features a customer training centre, where SolidWorks instructors provide live and online training programs for the company’s flagship CAD software. It also includes a 3D rapid prototyping lab on site.

Customers can also test designs and electrotechnical plant layouts in the office’s 3D theatre.

And, while Lishman may have found a company whose software is capable of bringing his ideas to his computer screens, his next step is to find someone to build it.

“I’ve got the design, now I need Boeing to build it,” he joked at the end of his speech.


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