by Harold Sorto August 25, 2016

Hello there and welcome to another addition to our 3D Designer Interview Series - This week we had the pleasure of interviewing Mao Casella, founder of Mao 3D Print & FabLab.

How were you introduced into 3D Printing?

Three years ago my child was born. I had plenty of car models that I was drawing for rendering purposes, and I decided to turn those exercises into toys for him. So I bought a 3d printer and started printing, but I quickly realized that most of the toys would be for me.

A Car Mao 3D Modeled and Printed

It looks like you have a strong interest in cars, planes, and helicopters; what fascinates you so much about motor and aerospace vehicles?

I try to design things that my child likes, his approval is important to me. I think I really like to design toys, as giving a smile to a child is the most beautiful thing.

Mao's Son Bart Holding a 3D Printed Car

We notice that you have designs of BB-8 and Bender, what are your thoughts on robotics and AI?

Of course, children are attracted to robots! From my point of view, I m a little bit scared by AI, I hope a moment will not come when the computer can decide what is better for the evolution of the world. It may consider us as the cancer of planet, as we are destroying it so fast.

What kind of CAD software do you use?

For modeling, Cinema 4D, I tried many, but the interface of this software is so friendly, despite it being one of the most powerful, complex and complete. Sometimes I feel like I use a nuclear weapon to kill a mosquito, but the possibilities of it are endless. It all starts with the blueprints, on the net there is a huge choice, it's basically drawings of the subject from the front, the side, the top. With those drawings I start modeling point to point, carefully following the shape of my object . Once this is done and I have the general shape of my model I can go ahead with the details or internal objects like the engine, seats, cockpit, (that normally are not indicated in the blueprints) which I copy from pics that I have selected from the web. Google is a strong help. Then I have to think about wall thickness, polygon intersections, and boolean operations which are the parameters that define an easily printable manifold and watertight .stl. For repairing .stl (even if I try to make as little mistakes as I can) I use netfabb for slicing and generating the g-code, Cura, and Simplify 3d.

Pieces of a Car Mao Modeled and Prepared Using Different Softwares

What 3D Printer do you have at home and/or in your office?

All Italians love open source! My first one in Egypt was a Kentstrapper Volta Beta, it was given to the American University in Cairo. In Italy I have two FDM delta style, BNZ 40x40x70, WASP 20x20x40, 2 FDM cartesian style by BAD DEVICES 20x20x20 and 40x60x40 and one DLP (resins) LUMIFORGE 20x20x20 which is arriving very soon.

What do you love most about 3D Printing technology?

It still amazes me how easy it is to print out real things from my computer. I think that when the FDM 3d printers will work with shredded plastics or pellets, there will be a real 3d revolution, less plastic waste around the world and a new concept of re-using materials and objects.

The Car Mao Modeled and Printed

If you didn't have 3D Printing available, what would you use to build your creations?

A pen or a brush. It all starts there.

Find more of Mao's work here

Harold Sorto
Harold Sorto


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