July was born in Yangon, Myanmar and immigrated to Los Angeles when she was just four years old. She later graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a B.S. in Civil Engineering (Structures Specialization) and a minor in Materials Science Engineering. She has always been inspired by product design, both in the aesthetic and structural point of view. She learned a lot through her experiences with UCI FSAE, working at Siemens PLM, Faraday Future, and now Divergent.
July, could you let us know about your background and what brought you into 3D printing in the first place?
At UCI I studied Civil Engineering with a Structures specialization and had a minor in Materials Science. From there, I learned how 3d printing could benefit different engineering fields…
What was your very first experience with 3D Printing?
During my first job at Faraday Future, I sent some of our prototype and marketing parts to be 3d printed and got some exposure there about the capabilities. Most of my parts were supposed to be injection molded for production, so 3d printing was a great way to prove out the initial designs.
Could you explain furthermore what Divergent 3D is and your role as Body Systems Engineer?
Divergent Technologies is a licensing and technology company that focuses on using efficient manufacturing methods to achieve building products in microfactories. As a Body Systems Engineer, I am responsible for the design and integration of exterior components such as body panels, closures components, lighting, seals, and anything else related.
Do you have any (fun or not) story about the company or your career to share with us?
I’ve had the chance to work on different kinds of projects, one of which was the Hyperloop and our technology demonstrator, the Blade. The path I took to get here is so unique because I did not start out as a mechanical engineer. I did a lot of self-teaching, picked up skills in different CAD systems and learned about composites and 3d printing on the job. I let myself be flexible and do whatever the company needed me to do, including working on Closures and lighting.
Have you run into any challenges from being a woman in 3D printing?
Similar to most women in the industry, I have experienced some challenges where I was not taken seriously or where people did not respect my authority on projects. I’ve grown thick skin over the years, but I’ve done my best to stay kind and keep true to my personality.
Anything exciting coming up you’d like us to know about?
I will be attending an alumni panel at UCI to speak to some high school students about engineering with one of my colleagues.
What is the most impressive or impactful use of 3D printing you’ve seen so far?
I’ve been impressed seeing some of the hinges people have been able to design with very little support structure. It’s even more surprising when they are able to do it where all components are printed assembled together and can rotate or move.
What do you consider game-changing technologies in additive?
I initially left Civil Engineering because I felt like the industry was so constricting with its limited use of materials (steel, wood, concrete) so I think it will rock the industry when 3d printing a building becomes normalized.
What makes the 3D printing industry particularly interesting for you:
- As a business person?
Seeing other ladies in the Women in 3D printing chapter use 3D printing for creative projects such as animatronics for amusement parks or even fashion is so inspirational to me. I feel like that shows how additive manufacturing can help with cutting costs in a lot of industries.
- As a woman?
Seeing as how new the additive manufacturing space is, everyone is able to start on the same playing field. Unlike traditional engineering industries (construction, for example) there is a lower chance of intimidation or feeling like you do not belong.
What do you think of the 3D printing industry today?
As printers get faster and people recognize how additive manufacturing could benefit any product design, it is becoming more common. The CAM systems are also becoming more user-friendly. It allows anyone to become a product designer from the comfort of their home.
In your opinion, how could we encourage more women to become involved with 3D Printing?
I think exposure and leading by example is the best way to encourage other women to enter the 3D printing space. If I had never seen how 3D printing could be used in so many creative ways such as shoes, clothes, or even art, it wouldn’t have fascinated me as much.
Favorite 3D tool (could be a software, machine, material…you name it)?
Markforged Carbon printer
Favorite moment in your day job?
Seeing parts come off the printer
What’s on your 3D Printing wishlist for the next 5 years?
Faster print times
Another inspiring woman you’d like us to interview?