Not only was my interview with Tessa Nesci informative and inspiring, it was fun. This electrician/3D printing enthusiast has a great sense of determination in her work that is matched only by her Aussie humor—all of which you will catch a glimpse of in the following interview.
When 3DPrint.com Editor-in-Chief Sarah Goehrke told me about our new 3D Printing: Spotlight on Women series, I jumped at the chance to write about Tessa because she is such a multi-faceted creator (as well as a recent new mom to baby Charlie) who obviously has a great deal of knowledge about technology—along with finding modern, relevant ways to share it worldwide.
Tessa’s SparkyFace5 YouTube channel continues to increase in popularity with 2,514 subscribers—but stop, wait, make that 2,515—as her newest fan and subscriber, yours truly, just got added to the list too! Sparkyface5 is an inclusive channel for all ages and knowledge levels, serving as a vehicle for Tessa to share ‘the joys of 3D printing and design.’
- Unboxings/build videos
- 3D printing experiments
- Software tutorials
- Showcases of other designers’ work
Tessa is also an experienced electrician, specializing in elevator work. She filled us in on everything from her background to her favorite hardware, software, materials—her family—and more.
What ‘sparked’ your interest in becoming an electrician? Do you know many other women who are electricians also?
“I always enjoyed taking things apart, solving puzzles, and inventing/building things although many thought I would be an artist because I always had a pencil in my hand. I was drawn to working with my hands and love the feeling of satisfaction of making something that has broken work again. Elevators in particular (my specialty) are fascinating to work with, every day was different. The job has its ‘ups and downs’.
I don’t know any other women electricians currently (Haha current, get it? Okay, bad joke never mind). We had a couple of female apprentices in my old company but they lived on the other side of the country.”
“A friend of mine showed me the RepRap wiki years ago and I became excited at the technology. Unfortunately at the time in Australia it was a very expensive hobby to get into…so I had to wait a little while before owning any physical 3D printers.”
What type of 3D printer do you use, and what is your favorite kind of material?
“I have several 3D printers. My first printer was a cheap acrylic framed i3 style printer not dissimilar to the currently popular A8 printer. It worked great and I particularly enjoyed building it and learning how it all works from the inside out.
Since then I have also bought a Wombot XL, a Cocoon Create (AKA Wanhao Duplicator i3 v2), a Moniprice Select Mini, a Trinus, and I have a Blocks Zero no the way. My favorite is dependent on what size object I am printing. They are all great printers.
I prefer to print using PLA because it’s easy to use and doesn’t smell like ABS does, however I have some PETG here I need to try…so maybe a new favorite will emerge.”
Can you tell us a bit about your favorite 3D modeling software? Why do you like that one best?
“I use different software for different applications. I love Fusion 360 for creating objects that are mechanical in nature or that require exact measurements. It’s a very powerful software and unbelievable enough can be downloaded and used for free!
Tinkercad is a fantastic (and free) web-based program to introduce people with no experience to 3D modeling as it works with building blocks/shapes instead of sketches. Many people find this approach appeals to their already developed sense of 3D space. For organic modeling (flowing shapes that don’t need exact measurement) I have been using ZbrushCore. I am saving for the full program (it’s quite expensive!) so I can access more of the program’s features. A free alternative for organic modeling is Sculptris.
Sometimes I use a combination of these programs and others to get the effect I am looking to achieve with a particular model.”
How much time do you usually spend on 3D design and 3D printing?
“On average I would spend at least three hours a day 3D designing/printing, and more on days that I film for YouTube. I also spend a lot of time contributing as best I can to the community promoting fellow 3D printing designers and enthusiasts, sharing hints and tips, and helping to admin one of the 3D printing Facebook groups. 3D printing has a wonderful supportive and sharing community across many social media platforms and I learn new things from them all the time.”
Are there any particular 3D printers or materials that you look forward to experimenting with?
“In the past I have printed ABS, PLA, and TPU—with PLA being a strong favorite. In the near future I definitely will be trying out some PETG filament.”
As a maker, how do you see 3D printing growing as a trend in Australia, both overall and in your local area?
“I feel 3D printing is becoming more widely known here in Australia. We have a strong little community of makers who love 3D printing here in Western Australia. It’s my hope that we continue to grow both a technical and artistic member base and get some kind of maker faire type events happening locally.”
Have you slowed down a bit on 3D printing with the new baby in the picture?
“Oh yes, absolutely. Since little Charlie has come along I have not had a lot of time to do anything but look after him and myself. He is wonderful though and I wouldn’t swap him for the world. I hope to get back into the swing of 3D printing things soon.”
Is your husband interested in technology also?
“My husband is fascinated by the 3D printing and design process and extremely supportive of my hobby, but he is not interested in it himself. I am very lucky to have such a loving, supportive person in my life. He has never complained that I spend too much time or money on my printers—even though sometimes I do!”
What advice would you give to novices who are interested in 3D printing?
“My advice to anyone who wants to get started in 3D printing is to do it. The best way to learn is to dive in! As always though, there is some small print…3D printers, 3D printing, and 3D design all have very steep learning curves, so join forums and groups, read lots, and ask questions. Learn as much as you can even before you get a printer. Find out what goes wrong, what goes right, and common solutions to common problems. and remember to take time out when you get frustrated. Understand that frustration is a normal part of learning, and you are doing great!”
Discuss in the Tessa Nesci forum at 3DPB.com.
If you are interested in sharing your story, or know a woman we should get in touch with for this new series, please reach out any time. Send us an email or connect on Twitter. We’re looking forward to sharing more stories about women in 3D printing. Find all the features in this series here.[All images provided to 3DPrint.com by Tessa Nesci]