Melissa Guerrero has already successfully operated two career shifts: after a Masters in Teaching and working as an educator for 7 years, she completely changed careers and became a Front-End Developer and digital designer. With her partner, she recently co-founded Dallas3dPrintersClub, which is a distributed team of 3D printing volunteers that has produced over 900 3D-printed face shields in response to the shortage of PPE during the coronavirus crisis.
When you decided to start using 3D printing, did you already have some knowledge of the technology? Did you know what software, printers, materials to use?
Yes, but my boyfriend and partner, Joseph Finan, has been a great mentor to me. Some of our first dates involved 3D printing items on his Prusa iMK3S, and I became fascinated by how 3D printing works. I started learning about file types, filament, common production issues and their fixes. In March 2020, when the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus pandemic became a crisis, and it was apparent that 3D printing face shields would help local healthcare providers, I knew that we should join the grassroots effort to address this problem. I still have a lot to learn, but working on that specific project has helped me focus on relevant concepts and objectives.
What is your go-to online resource for anything 3D printing?
When the printer needs repairs, Prusa Knowledge Base and its forums have been very helpful. For general articles and information, All3DP is great, and I could spend hours browsing Thingiverse for ideas and remix inspiration.
Any questions you’d have for 3D printing veterans?
Is there a good online resource to address questions about legal issues surrounding 3D printing? I am curious about liability, copyright/trademark/patent infringement, commercial production limits and so on.
Any advice for someone who’d be considering starting a 3D printing business?
3D printing is both an art and a science. In my experience, it isn’t as easy as selecting a file, clicking “Print” and the item just turns out perfectly each time. There are many variables to consider and adjust. Instead, I’d suggest assembling the first printer you choose to work with so that you know how to repair it when it goes down. Then work up to purchasing another printer, and getting both of them producing quality prints.