Our talented designers are an eclectic group from all over the world. Find out what drives their passion for 3D design as they reveal more about themselves in our Meet the Designer series. Their tips, inspiration, and wisdom will provide you with an insider’s view of 3D printing, along with a few laughs and surprises along the way.
Where are you from?
I live in the San Francisco bay area (USA) but was born and raised in Southern California.
Why 3D printing? How did you become interested in it?
I’ve always enjoyed making things, but was limited by the tools and space I had available. I spent a lot of time trying to make things, but was never really satisfied with the results. 3D printing has enabled me to convert many of my ideas into real objects and the possibilities are constantly expanding with new printers and types of filaments.
Did you go to school for graphic design or did you come upon this as a hobby?
I studied computer science in school and work as a software engineer. I’ve done graphic design, photography, and 3D modeling before getting into 3D printing, but mostly as a hobby.
What is your favorite 3D printed object you’ve created?
I’m usually most excited by whatever I’m currently working on or what I’ll be working on next. Once they’re made, most of my prints become just another object I use. Or in many cases, just another object that takes up space since I’ll often create things simply to satisfy my curiosity.
Which of your designs has received the most positive response?
The most popular objects are probably the various containers I’ve created.
Do you have any advice for people starting out in 3D printing?
I would recommend getting your own printer and learning to create 3d models. When it comes to running your printer, try a lot of different things, including things people say you shouldn’t do.
Do you have any 3D printing disaster stories that others can learn from?
I once 3D printed a gun and… just kidding, every mention of 3D printing has to bring up guns, right? I don’t have any experiences that I’d consider a disaster, but I’ve seen some online. Many 3D printers are a fire hazard so be aware of that when you use your printer and decide where to put it.
How do you think 3D printing will change people’s lives?
I hope the generations growing up with access to 3D printers will be empowered to create the things that fit their needs. Just like smartphones have made almost everyone a photographer, 3D printing, with the right software, has the potential to make everyone a designer.
Do you have any new projects that you can share with us?
Right now, I’m building a new 3d printer, a Eustanthios Spyder v2. This version was designed by Eric Lien, but in the RepRap spirit, it has a long design lineage, with contributions from many people, including Jason Smith, and Tim Rastall.
What other interests do you enjoy?
When I’m away from the computer, I enjoy backpacking, snow camping, photography, kayaking, outdoor rock climbing, surfing, backcountry snowboarding, fishing and mountain biking. I’ve used 3D printing to create useful objects for most of my hobbies, but my 3D printing addiction also makes it hard to find enough time to do them all.
Where do you see the 3D printing industry in 5 years?
I feel like we’re in the Cambrian stage of 3D printing with lots of exciting ideas and products emerging all the time, I hope this will continue for more than 5 years. Eventually the industry will mature and we’ll all have access to very cheap, high quality, and reliable 3D printers, but it won’t be quite as fun for those who like to tinker. At that point, the effect of 3D printing on other industries should be interesting. I see how rapidly the RepRap movement is pushing forward 3D printer technology and I’m looking forward to seeing the same kind quick iteration and collaborative development in other industries when 3D printer adoption becomes more widespread.
Some of Walter’s Designs