Astute Studios - Turning Ideas into Physical Reality

Curtis VanKasteren with 3D printer

Curtis van Kasteren has always had a natural curiosity about how the world around him works. From a young age he was fascinated with the inner workings of everyday items and would take them apart to fix them or use their parts to build other, better things. It was this curiosity that encouraged him to pursue an education in industrial design. 

After graduation he could have easily moved to Vancouver or Toronto where the services of an Industrial Designer are in high demand; however, he chose to stay in Elgin County where he saw a gap that he could fill. There are very few industrial designers in the area and Curtis knew that there was a need out there for his services.  

Curtis is the owner/operator of Astute Studios, a product design studio that guides clients from the initial design phase of a product through to the completion of a working prototype. The process begins when a client meets with Curtis for a consultation to discuss an idea he/she wants developed.  He then takes the client through every aspect of the product design process from draft sketching and settling on a concept design to 3D modelling and finally a working prototype. Once the prototype is perfected, he can also guide the customer through the correct manufacturing process to get the product produced.

Curtis uses an industrial grade 3D printer to create models and working prototypes. These prototypes are as close as the client can get to the final product without investing hundred of thousands of dollars in tooling and injection modelling. 3D printing models are a great way to test out whether a product will work as it can be sent back for multiple adjustments at a relatively low cost. It is also a much quicker process than the traditional modelling methods. 

“The reiteration cycle is very quick,” says Curtis. “It can be as short as a day whereas in the past it could take over a month to get a revised prototype.”  

In addition to industrial prototypes, Astute Studios also offers replacement part printing. When a machine or an appliance breaks down the problem often stems from a simple broken part. Sometimes, particularly in the case of an older machine or appliance, the replacement part is no longer available. Instead of replacing the entire machine, Astute Studios can reverse engineer and 3D print a replica of the original part, thus greatly extending the lifecycle of the machine and cutting costs for the business. As long as the part is plastic and under 7 x 7 x 9 inches in size Astute Studios can recreate it. 

3D printing is also ideal for custom jobs. Astute Studios offers a variety of custom design services. For example Curtis has worked with clients to design custom accessories for their vehicles including shifter knobs, dials, hood ornaments, and light covers. He has even 3D printed replacement parts for vintage vehicles that are no longer commercially available for purchase. Astute Studios has recently begun to expand into custom event decorations for weddings, anniversaries and birthday parties and is open to creating just about any plastic item a customer could want. 

Curtis assures potential clients that they don’t need to have any design experience - all they need is an idea. If you can dream it, Astute Studios can turn it into a reality. 
For more information about Astute Studios visit