How did Aidan Leitch score an internship at a Brooklyn robotics company that helped design a spacesuit for NASA while only a high-school freshman? Simple. He went online and taught himself the skills he needed to pursue his passion.
At first, the passion was video games—Leitch wanted to design his own. But soon, he realized that designing things was more interesting than creating a gaming experience.
“I found I really wasn’t interested in the complex coding side—that was way over my head,” Leitch said in a recent interview. “I enjoyed the 3D design part.”
Leitch began to teach himself how to use computer-assisted design (CAD) software—the same kind of software that tells 3D printers how to make a particular object—to dream up objects with complex geometries. Soon enough, he got exposure to an actual 3D printer at a summer course taught by Vincent Garrison, a design and technology teacher at A. MacArthur Burr Middle School in Nanuet, New York.
I can relate to the part where Aidan says he’s learned everything he knows about 3D printing and design outside of school. Most of the projects I work on are things that aren’t necessary taught in school (yet). There’s lots of resources online that enable people to learn new skills. Maker/hacker spaces give people access to tools like 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC machines. Here at Adafruit, our Learning System covers lots of topics via projects that not only gives people detailed instructions on how to make projects, but inspiration to develop and learn new skills.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.