Interview with Noe Ruiz by Andrew Stott @DisruptItYrslf

Last week, my friend Andrew Stott, DisruptItYourself, interviewed me and we talked about how I got started making projects, got into electrics and 3D printing.

The interview was recorded and published on Andrew’s YouTube Channel.

Written version:

On May 23rd 2014 Noe and I were both on Adafruit’s Show and Tell together and we’ve become good friends. This poor guy has answered literally hundreds of my questions and is the person most responsible for getting me into 3D printing.

What is a typical day like for you? A typical week?

Depending on the day, it consists of different tasks – 2 or 3 cups of coffee. Throughout the week, I’ll either be designing something in CAD, 3D printing, soldering things, filming, and/or editing. Skateboarding in between breaks helps keep the blood flowing.

How do you plan out your projects?

We have a long list of project ideas. I have about 1-2 weeks to design, prototype, document and release a project. Sometimes i’ll be working right up until the day of release. We’ll pull out an idea from the list that is relevant, timely, and do-able within the 1-2 week time frame. I normally write out ideas, parts and reference links in a document and build that into the project plan.

How do you always have so many cool ideas? Will you ever run out??
Most of them are actually inspired from other projects. There’s so many amazing projects out there! It’s also good to revisit previous projects and refine them – new parts, design updates, add-ons, that sorta thing.
When I do hit a wall i try to do a back-to-basics type of lessons, for example how to make a JST slide switch – not that super exciting but very helpful to beginners.

Any advice for Makers who have a hard time finishing projects?
If you’re having a hard time finishing the project, share your progress and let others see. That way you can gauge interest. Folks might even suggest ideas or help. It’s important to not loose interest in it too, so make sure you pick something that keeps you busy. You might have heard the saying, “a project is never really done” and that has some merit. I’m very fortunate to have a job doing this and having a deadline helps so much. so setting yourself up with personal deadlines may be helpful.

How did you get into the Maker/DIY world? (Whats were you doing at the time and what was it like switching to this stuff full time)

I went to school for commercial arts and did lots of web type jobs in my early 20’s – so I had no initial education with electronics really. I got a makeymakey out of interest in 2012 and started playing with the idea of making my own MIDI guitar instrument, which was actually inspired by Alex Hatch. At this time we had just got our first 3D printer, a makerbot replicator. While working on that, my brother Pedro stumbled across Adafruit’s website when searching for LED strips – He was interested in lighting up some 3D printed logos for signage. As we were working on different projects, we started watching Adafruit’s live streams on YouTube. Watching Becky’s show inspired us to go on their show & tell show and when we did they asked if we could write a tutorial for their learning system. We were already doing project videos so that lead to doing more projects. Eventually we got hired full time and have been doing weekly projects ever since. Going full time was interesting because we had never done any work with electronics before getting a makeymakey, so lots of learn as you go, asking questions and breaking things. We also got better at documenting, both writing and shooting, because we made weekly projects. We were already looking for different employers so things just happened to be timed nicely.

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