Name: Aidan Leitch
Home: Westchester, New York
Day Job: High School Student
How did you get started making?
I’ve always enjoyed building things in one way or another, which when I was younger meant Legos. About 6 years ago, though, I started learning to create 3D games with Unity engine. I was much more drawn to the 3D modeling side of game design than the programming, and in an effort to learn more about 3D and CAD, I came across both of the 3D printing and maker communities. 3D printers immediately struck my interest, and I obtained my own printer not long after. Since then, it’s mostly been the amazing feeling of making your ideas into reality that has me hooked on making.
What type of maker would you classify yourself as?
I’d say I’m mostly a robotics/3D printing maker. Robots have always fascinated me and 3D printing is a wildly versatile and flexible tool for making. When you combine these two things together, really interesting new doors open up. For example, soft robotics is a relatively young field that I’ve done a lot of work in. It’s focussed on making robots out of soft materials. Typically there’s lots of crazy geometries involved that I don’t think would be possible without 3D printing.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve made?
One of my favorite projects is my 3D printed gripper. It’s an experiment to see how much of a robotic hand I could make as a single 3D printed part.
The spiritual successor to that project has been the 3D printed crawler, a walking robot that is also mostly printed as one part.
What’s something you’d like to make next?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about making a large inflatable robot arm out of heat-sealed fabric. It would be very different from some of the other inflatable robots I’ve made. Plus it would be really big.
Any advice for people reading this?
Don’t dismiss your own ideas because you think they won’t work, just make it! In the end, you don’t know until you try. When I first thought of making my 3D printed crawler, I thought, “Nah, no way that could actually walk,” but look at it now!
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