Saturday, April 20, 2013

Interview with BusyBotz Head Mitchell Leben

Staying on track with my experience at the Houston Mini Maker Faire, heer is an interview with Mitchell Leben, owner of BusyBotz 3D Printing, which provides 3D printing parts and services.  I would like to thank Mr. Leben if he is reading this for working with me for this interview.

From your website and YouTube channel, it seems that you have turned your passion for 3D printing into a business.  Is this correct and do you do this full time?
Yes, I have started a business in 3D printing.  I provide printing services, as well as consulting, support, and RepRap building services.  This is not full time, I still have my regular job.

How many Maker Faires have you attended, and what was one thing you saw that you really enjoyed?
One so far, where I met you and your father.  I was so busy at my booth that I didn’t have any time to walk around.  I did see R2D2 and was able to get a picture with him, that was pretty cool.

Do you think that participating in Maker Faires has helped you business?
Yes.  I met many people there, and was able to see the other 3D printing exhibits.
 [There were four other exhibitors with 3D printers, including my dad and I.  One company had made their own printer and was selling them, and another had a business selling 3D printed action figures.]

How did you get into 3D printing?
I learned about it online, and was instantly hooked.  I ordered a Makerbot Replicator as soon as they were announced, and read everything I could find online while I awaited delivery.

Do you have any tips for people new to 3D printing?
Two main things:
1. A willingness to lean
2. Patience
 This is a rapidly developing technology, and the machines require a bit of tender love and care to operate properly.  The initial learning curve is steep, but if you get beyond that, a properly set up printer requires very little maintenance.  Patience is required because print times often stretch into several hours, or even a full day.
[When my dad and I got ours, it took us a little more than a month of tweaking with it, but now we can print basically whatever we want whenever we want.]

What are your thoughts on schools integrating 3D printing and modeling into their curriculum?
3D modeling skills will become increasingly valuable.  I would encourage any student to add it to their skill set.  I live in a major city, and when I called around a few years ago, none of the universities had courses in 3D modeling for printing.
[I have done a lot of research into this, and schools are slowly adding 3D modeling and printing courses.  The high school I will be going to next year actually has a Makerbot Replicator, just like ours!]

Why do you think we need to expose more kids to the Maker Movement?
It is fun, interesting, fulfilling and useful.  The Makers themselves tend to be great people, so it is a good experience all around.

What is your favorite thing that you have printed?
Tough call.  My favorite print to show off is the Exploded Planetary Gear Set  by Thingiverse user Thing-O-Fun.

What are your thoughts on all the new technologies coming from 3D printing now, like 3D scanning and the resin based printers like the Form 1?
The developments are fantastic, and coming at a rapid pace.  They are difficult to keep up with.  I have learned that early releases of new products in 3D printing tend to be rough around the edges, because everyone is rushing to bring their products to market.  The more material choices, the better.

Last question: What do you think of my blog and what I’m doing?
Your blog looks great!  I like how you include lots of photos – I think it makes for more interesting reading.  Keep up the good work.

Here are some pictures from the BusyBotz booth at the Houston Mini Maker Faire and some of the 3D printed objects Mr. Leben displayed.






It was great to meet and talk with Mitchell Leben, and I hope BusyBotz continues to succeed.  This is just one example of how makers can take what they love to do, and make the most of it.  Your interest doesn’t have to become a profitable venture. You just have to pursue it and enjoy whatever you do to the fullest.