This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Lauren Renee, Founder of Abuzz Designs. Lauren’s fantastic youtube channel is multifaceted to include 3D design and crafting walk-throughs, filament reviews and a behind the scenes look at some of the most exciting 3d printing events out there. She was also recently included in Aniwaa’s list of the best 3d printing Youtube channels.
Tell me about AbuzzDesigns. What did you want to achieve when you started the company?
When I started the company I just wanted to create a company name that could encompass all of the things I love to do – which happen to all be design and maker related.
Doing this helped keep my options open for my channel, allowing me to showcase anything design related. My plan was as simple as showing people what I do in the hopes that it helped them do what they love. If I was able to help even one person out, it made it all worthwhile. I could have never guessed when I started this last fall where would have taken me.
There is a big push to get more women and girls involved in STEM and STEAM based subjects at the moment. You are the first woman in the industry I have seen with her own channel and it is refreshing to see. Are you mindful of being a potential role model?
There are a couple of other women with their own channels (I believe there are 6 of us total), there is Vicky Somma, Tessa, Naomi Wu, Cat and Clarissa (Make It & Fake It). But yes, it is a very small group of us that I am grateful to be a part of. I try to be mindful of being a potential role model, I think it is an honor that someone would look to me as a role model, it’s not something I ever expected to happen.
That being said, I am human and I try to not censor myself too much as I don’t want to come off as fake or unrealistic. I have good days and bad, days where I have an adult beverage at the end of a long day, and days where “everything isn’t all cupcakes and rainbows” (to quote Trolls). I don’t want to remove those completely.
What is your design software of choice and why?
Right now I’m using Fusion360 a lot, it’s a fairly easy to use program that allows you to create just about anything you could imagine. Like all programs, it has its limitations and frustrations but I find I often can do an entire design in it with little issue.
I also love the idea of Blender. Its capabilities are limitless with it being such a powerful program, however there is such a steep learning curve that I haven’t had the time to tackle. I still have a lot to learn. I’m hoping to do a little series later on this year about some of the other free software that is out there, what it can do, its ease of use and the benefit of using it over other programs.
We love your designs (and given Scotland’s national animal is a unicorn, we really loved that one!). How do you select which objects to put on your channel – is it based on the usefulness of the object, the quirkiness factor or something else?
I didn’t know that Scotland’s national animal was the unicorn, that’s awesome! I basically just design what I love and hope that others love it too. I have the type of creativity where I may go through periods where I’m not super inspired and then BAM an idea will come to me and I HAVE to do it.
So far the makeup brush holder, coffee table, snowflakes, gift tags, scarf holder and unicorn have all been like that, as have my upcoming shoe and side tables. This also keeps me on my toes with design software, I always come up with the ideas first and then figure out how to do them in the program, pushing my understanding of whatever software I happen to be using.
We also love the diversity of your channel, from DIY design walkthroughs to filament reviews. Your time spent recently at the Midwest Reprap Festival also looked super cool! Is there one aspect of the job that you love just a little bit more than the others?
Designing has always been and will most likely always be my favorite part. Bringing something from the furthest reaches of your mind to computer screen and finally to printer is an incredibly rewarding and inspiring process. This year I will have a few more 3d printer reviews on the channel as well, and those are a lot of fun because you get to play around with and test out the capabilities of new equipment. MRRF was the first event I have gone to and it was a whirlwind of an experience and I loved every second of it, I can’t wait to make it out to another event.
What is the online and offline community like for you as a 3D designer and reviewer? Do you find it inclusive?
The 3d printing community is one of the best out there! It’s been incredibly welcoming and so helpful! I have met some amazing people, both in person and online thanks to the 3d printing community – many that even if I stopped YouTube today, I’d still be friends with. Like any communities there are haters and general negativity out there but they are a tiny fraction in this great group of people.
What is your advice for anyone starting their own 3D printing channel?
Go for it and have fun, it’s a great community to be a part of! My biggest recommendation though is to not go broke doing it and try not to focus on the numbers. It is very easy to get sucked into the mentality that you need to have the latest and greatest to show off on your channel and that is a very expensive slippery slope to go down. More often than not you can make it work with what you already have, until last month I only had the Flashforge Creator Pro and that’s it and I still only use free design software.
When it comes to numbers, they can be a bit disheartening in the beginning. Try to not make them your main focus, you never know what videos will take off or why. It takes hard work and dedication but keep doing what you do, find what works for you, be consistent and most importantly have fun with it.
What do you want your viewing audience to get most of all from your channel?
I created the channel to help others do what I do, so I hope that when people watch my videos they walk away feeling like they can do it too. After doing my snowflake livestream it was such a great feeling to see people tweeting me pictures of the snowflakes they had created themselves using my tutorial as a guide. I hope to spur more of that while also showing what I use and explaining why I use it.
Lastly, if you could print anything in the world, no holds barred, what would it be?!
Oh man, that’s such a loaded question! I think it would be so cool to make a gigantic sculptural observation piece like a new age Eiffel Tower or Space Needle! Or a working rocket for a company like SpaceX, pushing the capabilities of 3d printing to the extremes. Or maybe a just as simple as more printers! I’d love to figure out how a printer can replicate itself as quickly as possible while maintaining top quality so that we can help reduce the Prusa3d lead times.
Thanks so much for your time Lauren! Aside from Lauren’s Youtube channel, you can also follow her on Twitter.