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Maker interview : Walter

by Syncky Bot | Oct 12, 2016 | Maker Interview 0

This is a series of interview syncky talks with Fab artists(artists who uses mainly 3D printer for their fabrication). This interview takes place on believing one can be an fab artist.

Once we introduce fab artists in different relam, one can be set goal as fab artists.Syncky introduces Walter Hsiao, a maker who lives in California. He is a maker, engineer and designer published over 300 unique designs through Thingiverse. His website( shares 3D printing tips, successes, and failures.

Syncky first noticed walter to look for 3D designs. As syncky look for fab artist, walter was perfect fit. but he was rather open to use his designs as collecting donations from thingiverse.

Today, Syncky will ask more about his backgrounds, tips, and challenges as fab artists. Aslo, Syncky wanted to know how he position himself as 3D printing fab artists. Let’s hear what walter talk about his 3D printing experiences so far.



Syncky :How did you start printing? and how long have you used 3D printers?

Walter : I started with online printing services in 2011, bought my first printer in 2012, and have been printing constantly ever since.


[Customizable Lantern] © walter hsiao


Syncky : Which printer do you use? and how did you choose those printers?

Walter : I primarily use a Eustathios 3D printer, which I built based on an open source design by Eric Lien and others.  I chose that design based on its size, print quality, detailed documentation, and helpful community, then modified it to work the way I wanted.


[Eustathios Z-Axis Bed Support] © walter hsiao


Syncky : I saw your essential tools for 3D printing from your website. Can you prioritize those tools(which would you suggest to 3D printing beginners)?  

Walter : First you need the get the prints to stick, and there's a bunch of different options to try (hairspray, gluestick, tape, etc).  Next you'll need to remove the print, I use a hammer, spatula, razor, freezer, or time, depending on which I think is most appropriate.  If you do any designing, a good digital caliper is invaluable, it is the most used object on my desk, after the keyboard and mouse.


image © walter hsiao


Syncky : What drives you most in your 3D printing creations?

Walter : I'm primarily driven by functionality, these objects usually fill some kind of need I have.  They usually start with the thought "I wish I had something for ____".  But lots of random ideas are always running through my head and sometimes I'll make things out of curiosity, or just so I won't have to think of them anymore.


[carabiner] © walter hsiao


Syncky :What are your favorite 3D printed designs?

Walter : My favorite designs are the ones I take backpacking, but that's mostly because I’ve come to associate them with granite peaks and alpine lakes where they’re used.


[Fuel Canister Tray (for cold weather)] © walter hsiao


Syncky : You seem to have a lot of interests while reviewing your designs from thingiverse. How do you position yourself as a fab artist? Do you consider yourself as a designer/engineer or engineer/designer? How do you like to define yourself?

Walter : I generally consider myself a software engineer, which is what I do professionally.  When it comes to 3D printing, I just like making things, and I try to share what I make online so others can benefit.

I'm probably more of an engineer/designer, as I usually start with a functional design or idea and try to make it more attractive instead of the opposite (starting with an attractive shape and adding the functionality).  But I don't think either is the best approach.  Ideally, I try to design the aesthetics and functionality together from the beginning, so the aesthetic elements are functional and the functionality is part of the aesthetic.  


[Customizable Stacking Container] © walter hsiao


Syncky : Can you tell us projects that you are currently working on?

Walter : I'm reluctant to talk about current or future projects because I never know what will work.  A lot of projects seem like a good idea until I try to implement them.


Syncky : What is your next challenge for your 3D printing experience?

Walter : I'm always looking for new techniques, materials, machines, skills, or anything else that will allow me to make more things.  I hope to do more CNC milling or try other types of 3D printing in the future.


Syncky : What would you like to see in the near future of 3D printing?

Walter : I'd like to see 3D printing made more accessible through easier to use design software and more reliable printers.


[Magnetic Bisymmetric Hendecahedrons] © walter hsiao [Link]