Interview with Jeffrey Chang: Between Two Printers

Category: Blog
blank blank Sep 06, 2021
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Jeffrey Chang graduated from the University of British Columbia from the Engineering Physics program. He then went on to work in manufacturing; working as a CNC programmer/operator for a year and a half.  From there, he graduated to Vorum.  Jeffrey has worked in the O&P industry for just over 20 years, doing support and sales activities, and has recently (5yrs ago) settled into R&D. Jeffrey has a passion for innovation and currently spends most of his time some way or another playing with 3D printers. Jeffrey will be speaking at our upcoming event focusing on Orthotics and Prosthetics for 3D printing.

Check out Between Two Printers, a podcast Jeff hosts.

Jenny: When was the first encounter you had with 3D printing? What was that experience like?

Jeffrey: Around 8 years ago was my first in-person exposure to 3D printing.  As with many that got the first exposure at that time, it was a MakerBot Replicator 2.  It was very cool to see the technology accessible, as I had seen 3D printed samples for prototypes from SLS printers in the early 2000s.

Jenny: What inspired you to start your career in 3D printing?

Jeffrey: I had worked in our company’s support and implementation group for many years.  I had naturally been moving more towards the development side over a period of years, so when 3D Printing was seeming to grab interest for our specific subset of the market, it was a good fit for me. 

Jenny: Who inspired you the most along this journey in 3D printing?

Jeffrey: Funny the wording on this question, as I have had a similar question in another context recently.  I am not really ever inspired by a person.  I tend to look at people as the sum of their features and accomplishments.  I am inspired (if that’s even the right word; maybe more like encouraged) by the specific applications for which additive manufacture is a fit today and tomorrow.  I acknowledge that those applications will shift over time as the technology evolves.

Jenny: What motivates you the most for your work? 

Jeffrey: I think the last point above is the most interesting to me.  While I love to complete a project and “succeed” I do also like that things are always a little different aka never boring.  Sure there can be times that are frustrating, but driving forward towards a goal keeps me going.

Jenny: What is/are the biggest obstacle(s) in your line of work? If you have conquered them, what were your solutions? 

Jeffrey: My main complaint: and I think this one spans most industries; is the moving of goalposts.  While I acknowledge liking change and not getting bored, it can be challenging working on a project and think you are reaching some target only to find the targets have changed either forward or completely in a different direction.

Jenny: What do you think is the biggest challenge in 3D Printing?

Jeffrey: Design for 3D printing.  I love the excitement that still exists around 3D printing, but there are still far too many people that want to print the same thing they make another way without giving consideration to how the specific print technology can be used to make their widget/device/whatever better by whatever metrics they use; lifecycles, weight, cost, time to manufacture. 

Jenny: If you are granted three wishes by a higher being, what would they be? 

Jeffrey:

  1. Infinite wishes (always)
  2. World peace
  3. Fundamental changes to the laws of thermodynamics to permit instantaneous heating and cooling of materials
  4. Alchemy but for plastics so you could print in something easy to print, then convert the material after the fact

Admittedly none of those are probably the sorts of things this question was looking for, but I am often accused of getting too focused on the words in the question rather than what the asker may have wanted.

So, in all seriousness I suppose my answers to what this question was intended to do is as follows:

  1. Standardized file formats across industry to facilitate working with multiple systems.
  2. Machines with open platforms so that users can choose the best materials for their needs not just a supported, branded sub-set.
  3. Per #6 above – and educated set of users and future or potential users that understand real life implications of things they want to do.

Jenny: What advice would you give to a smart driven college student in the “real world”? What bad advices you heard should they ignore? 

Jeffrey: Advice:

Play to your strengths; always.

I expect most of the speakers have some significant technical background.  The same is probably true of many in the audience for this presentation.  There are a million less-engineery things that need to be in place to succeed with Additive manufacturing whether that be teaching/training, sales or supply chain to ensure the machines can be built and have materials with which to print.

Think critically.

If you nail this one, I don’t really need to tell you what bad advice to skip.  You will figure it out yourself quickly.  Always consider the source.  Are they trying to sell you something, whether physical or an ideology?

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