Shop Talk Podcast Episode 7: Ruth Amos on the Wonders of 3D Printing

Muna Idriss Muna Idriss December 29, 2023

2 min read

Welcome to Shop Talk, a podcast where we catch up with designers and makers live from their workshops. In this episode, designer and Autodesker Jonathan Odom speaks with Ruth Amos.

Ruth Amos is an inventor and engineer and runs the YouTube channel Kids Invent Stuff. After inventing an award-winning disability aid at the tender age of 16, she focused her energy on making sure primary school-aged kids could see themselves in the engineering field. Every month, she takes a kid’s idea and brings it to life on her channel.

Below is a short excerpt from the conversation to give you a taste of what to expect. You can also listen to the full episode below:

This excerpt is edited for brevity and clarity.

Your process on Kids Invent Stuff is very hands-on. It’s quick and dirty, you’re doing prototypes, and you’re making stuff quickly. How does CAD CAM software fit into your process?

(Pointing) If you can see where my finger is there, that red thing. It might be one of the first things that we ever drew and then 3D printed in Fusion 360. That is the end of a snow cannon. We essentially turned a leaf blower into something that would make snow, and to do that we used that 3D-printed part and a sock. And sometimes there are just things that when you’re making it, there’s something that someone’s already done. So there’ll be parts where you’re like, actually, we really need this, or we need this thing that’s going to interact with this. And you’re like, “Oh, someone’s already drawn that, that’s great. We should 3D print that.”

We do a lot of work with primary schools, and we’re really keen to get them thinking about using CAD software. I think a lot of teachers maybe aren’t aware that that’s quite simple to use things like Tinkercad in the classroom. So whenever we’re showing videos and we’re talking about stuff, we’re always also talking about Tinkercad. I think the fact that you can draw things in Tinkercad and then open them in Fusion 360 is great because it allows primary school children to be able to understand 3D CAD.

But there are some really nice finishing touches that you can do when you’re able to draw something up and 3D print it. In the past, we’ve 3D printed our logo to put onto things or a stencil for something. There are loads of different ways that Fusion can be used and personally, outside of Kids Invent Stuff, I use the 3D printer a lot for kind of drawing stuff up and modifying things.

Stay tuned for the next episode of Shop Talk. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, catch up on any episodes you missed, and get your audio-only fix on Spotify.

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