Popular 3D Printing Channel Hits Major Milestone: A Few Minutes with Devin from Make Anything


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Me and Devin (R) at SWW17

Last week I had the privilege of meeting and sharing a few beers with Devin Montes from the YouTube channel Make Anything, in the city of angels during SOLIDWORKS World 2017. We had a whale of a good time where it may or may not have led to me injuring my ankle… during this time I got to ask some of of those burning questions that I’m sure many people want to know.

With Devin just hitting a huge YouTube milestone of 100K subscribers we thought we would let the world know what makes him tick as well as whether he likes pineapple on his pizza or not. Let’s get to this.

make-anythingSo Devin this is going to get cheesy but that’s what makes good reading. When did you start your channel? 

I made my first video in April 2016, while on break between terms at Art Center College of Design.

Wow. 100k in less than a year is really impressive! Why did you start doing YouTube?

I’ve always liked making films and documenting my work, and I was starting to design more and more of my own things using my 3D printer. I thought a few people might like seeing my process and made my first video on a whim. Luckily it took off and I just kept growing my channel and upgrading my tools.

Well lucky for us too. But how did you get into 3D printing?

I’ve been a fan of 3D printing since I was a child reading about it in Popular Science Magazine. I never really expected to have my own printer, but early on in my design studies, we were designing prototypes to 3D print, and I figured if I’m going to pay an exorbitant amount of money to have someone else print my models, why not get my own printer and actually learn more in the process!

Got the two for one package on that one then! So what sparks the brain of Devin? What is your process from idea to upload?

Well the great thing about 3D printing is the process can be super simple! Sometimes I’ll do a lot of idea creation on pen and paper, but often times I go straight from an idea in my head, to Solidworks, to my printer. Then I can quickly iterate as necessary and that’s it. 3D printing makes innovation happen so much faster, it’s one of the greatest aspects of the technology.


Devin Montes [Image: YouTube]

I feel the inspiration flowing! Interestingly enough your channel has grown well organically without any huge social media pushes or collaboration. Are you looking to work in the future with any companies or other influential people like 3D Printing Nerd?

Sure, I’m happy to team up with other people in the industry. I think we all share the common goal of hoping to enlighten the world about how great 3D printing is, so why not work together? I’m just starting to talk to more 3DP enthusiasts and companies, and things are certainly in the works. Keep an eye out!

I will make sure to activate notifications to get updates right away! When it comes to design who inspires you the most to create new and interesting designs?

As a Product Designer, I was taught to design around a user need. So I’m inspired by problems, and thinking about effective and elegant ways to solve them. I’m also my toughest critic, so I push myself to keep upping my game. I try not to focus on one designer or one source of inspiration, because I think the best inspiration comes from grabbing fragments of ideas from a vast variety of sources.. that’s as close as one can get to ‘original’ work.

That. Was. Beautiful. Really an inspirational ideology. Do you design in any other design software other than SOLIDWORKS?

Solidworks is my go-to for more functional design, but I’m getting more and more into designing through Virtual Reality. Gravity Sketch is a very cool app for this, although it’s still in beta.

I’ve seen this. Really a new way to approach design. With your ambiguous cylinder being your most popular video and it’s fair to say it went viral. Did you already know how it worked or did you figure it out yourself?

Figuring out the ambiguous cylinder was a matter of studying the original video, freezing frames, and tugging at my brain. I had a hunch, went with it, and managed to replicate the illusion!

It’s a really clever trick. I have to print one out myself. Your 3D pen work is phenomenal and inspirational to those who thinks they don’t have much use. Did you have any experience with 3D pens or did it come to you naturally?

My 3D pen videos capture basically all of my experience with 3D pens, from the first time I used them. In that sense you could say it came naturally, but I studied fine art in High School and I’m sure that helped a lot!

I’m sure it did help. They are true pieces of art. Your VR sculptures, it’s a unique and different style of designing and one not commonly seen with 3D printing. Do you see this as becoming the future of design?

VR modeling is definitely going to become a huge tool for design. 3D printing lets you materialize your design quickly, but VR modeling lets you really visualize your design in 3D space before it’s even a physical object. I don’t see it becoming the main way to design in the near future, but in the long run, I see a lot of things going towards a ‘mixed reality’, where the digital and physical are blended more and more seamlessly.

That way it just becomes a new tool. With all the cool things you have made, what is your favourite 3D printed object?

Of the things I’ve designed and printed, I’m really proud of my Galactops. It’s one of those designs I sketched out years before I had a 3D printer, and I was never sure if it would actually work as I was imagining it. It turned out to work better than I could have hoped, and it’s also the first thing I’ve printed in Steel, which I think is unbelievably cool.

Almost a visualisation into your mind. Similar question. What is your most used 3D printed object?

This is a tough one to answer, because I try to print myself out of any problem. There are plenty of prints I interact with daily, from my car’s phone mount, to camera accessories and add-ons for my guitar. They all get plenty of use!

Functional prints are the best! With all these cool ideas and projects, can people download your work and print it themselves?

Yes, I am a studio partner at MyMiniFactory, so you can find free files there, and I also sell some of my most prized designs through a Digital Goods Store. Of course, many of my process videos are thorough enough that I hope people will be inspired to try and model out the designs for themselves!

I think showing the full process really captures more minds. So that’s the nitty gritty bits of this interview. Now for the quick fire questions. Those real Life’s Burning Questions:

Pineapple on pizza, yes or no?

I prefer my pineapple fresh.

devinToilet paper roll, over or under?

Under, of course…who even…nevermind

Milk, first or last in a cup of coffee or tea?

I’ll put milk in last, but for the amount of late nights I pull, I drink a surprisingly small amount of coffee!

But pineapple does go… let’s move on, we getting ever closer to the end of the insightful interview. Can you give us a little insight into what’s coming next? 

I’d tell you if I knew! I’m just going with the flow with this channel and being pretty spontaneous, but expect things to continue getting bigger and better!

And to finish off I heard that your ambiguous cylinder isn’t your only viral video you have created, I heard from a reliable source that you found internet fame in other ways…

Hahaha, some people tie me back to a little old viral video from 2009 called Cool Guy has a Chill Day… but it’s impossible to confirm or deny, there’s so much mystery behind that video 😉

My life has been changed for ever.

Well Devin thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us and let us know more of who you are.

If you haven’t yet go subscribe to this wonderful man. It’s a great source for inspirational content whether you are a designer looking for unique techniques or a maker looking for that new awesome object to print. You can also follow him on Twitter and Instagram to see get a little behind the scenes sneak peek from Devin, and support him on Patreon. (You can also check out Cool Guy has Chill Day here…) Discuss in the Devin Montes forum at 3DPB.com.

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