Taken from Electronics 360
By Nicolette Emmino
Now that 3-D-printing is pretty much a household term these days, you have probably heard of Makerbot, the New York-based company that was founded back in 2009 to engineer and develop 3-D printers. Here we get up-close with David Veisz, MakerBot's Vice President of Engineering, and find out just how 3-D printing is changing the way things are made, Makerbot’s role in the future of 3-D printing, and gain helpful tips and insight into attaining a position in the industry.
I enjoyed designing and building things from childhood, so I certainly hoped to channel that passion into a career through studying engineering. I received an undergraduate degree in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering because I liked the idea of designing and working on the manufacturing equipment, including CNC machining centers, automation systems and testing stations. As a manufacturing engineer, you get to do a lot of rapid design work on fixtures, jigs and machinery to support a product launch, and you learn a lot from designing and implementing equipment within a factory. You also get immediate performance feedback when the equipment is used in-house.
While working, I earned a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis on Machine Design, so I could further my design skills. Returning to school after working in industry for several years was a great experience, and one that I would recommend for anyone who can find the time and resources. I was able to immediately recognize what would be valuable to employ in my work, and focus my studies on those subjects.
What inspired you to jump into the 3-D printing realm? Did you envision yourself in consumer electronics?
Working in 3-D printing is pretty much the dream job for a mechanical engineer such as myself. The technology continues to astound me every day. 3-D printing is fundamentally changing the way that objects are designed and made, and the technology is progressing fast. While there has been a lot of hype around desktop 3-D printers going into homes, the majority of our customers today are actually educators, engineers and designers.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is to see the impact our products make. It’s exciting for me to see how desktop 3-D printing is disrupting the traditional rapid-prototyping model and fundamentally changing the way educators teach problem solving and learning from failure. I am proud of MakerBot’s contribution in this area.
As VP of Engineering at MakerBot, what does your work consist of?
I manage a group of Mechanical Engineers, Electrical Engineers, Product Managers and Industrial Designers. My team is made up of very talented, driven individuals, and I spend a lot of time making sure that the team is set up to work efficiently, and that we are directing resources to the highest-priority projects.
Our product development follows a structured phase gate approach, so there are different deliverables from conceptual design to eventual product release. Everyone on the team brings value to the design process. We conduct cross-functional design reviews to identify areas of risk as early as possible and address them using thorough test and mitigation plans.
MakerBot is considered a major player in the 3-D printing industry. What’s it like to work for a company that has really set the stage for an entire technology movement?
Working at MakerBot is humbling, challenging, exciting and inspiring all at the same time—and never, ever boring. It’s humbling because I manage a team of extremely talented, driven people, and challenging because MakerBot has established itself as a leader in desktop 3-D printing, and to maintain that position, we must be more innovative and more efficient than our competitors. It’s both exciting and inspiring because our 3-D printers enable users to do amazing things, and the use cases are constantly growing. When a student makes an affordable custom prosthetic on a MakerBot for another child who would not otherwise be able to afford a commercially available prosthetic, it’s hard not to be inspired.
Finish Q&A here.