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Sibi - July 03/08/2022

E3D meets MandicReally - HotRodHippie

TL;DR: We chatted to Alan Mandic, a.k.a. MandicReally - HotRodHippie about his background, his favourite 3D printing stories, and his rise to TikTok stardom.

Hey Alan! Tell us a bit about yourself 

Hi E3D! I'm Alan Mandic, a full time content creator. 3D designer, & maker. Formerly a custom car builder & metal fabricator. I'm not very good at, “having hobbies”. My brain has a tendency to fixate on things and my hobbies become my life. Examples being 3D printing, 3D design, custom computers, and videography. 

How long have you been working with 3D printers & what got you into 3D printing? 

3D printing has not been part of my life for that long. I'm almost embarrassed to say (due to how big a part of my life it is now) but I've only been printing for about 1.5 years at this point. Before that I had been looking at getting into printing for many years as part of my work on custom cars. Designing parts and producing prototypes for the cars I was working on just seemed like a perfect fit. It wasn't until the pandemic hit and I had some more time on my hands that I finally took the plunge and I haven't found the bottom of that abyss yet...  

Your basement/workspace looks awesome. How did you get it? Is there a story behind it? 

My studio / workshop space is a 600sq ft (2.5 cars) garage attached to our home. We live in the city of Philadelphia so spaces like this are few and far between. My partner and I were only tentatively looking for a place when we found this and it was too good to pass up. It was an uninsulated garage with 2 outlets when we moved in. Some months later I had done all the work to insulate, air condition, and get the power up to my needs. Now it is just organizing and figuring out how best to set it up as the best makerspace that is also a content creator's studio.

When did you start making instructional/Tiktok videos? What drove you to do it? 

When I came to TikTok, it was just a distraction. I had already been creating YouTube video content for a few years on my previous channel, HotRodHippie. With that I honed some “on-camera presence” and had been making educational content about my work as a car builder. When 3D printing came into my life, I dove in hard to learn everything I could. At first, I just started to share my learning process, but it quickly became me showing folks how to do things from my own rapidly expanding experience. The 3D printing content resonated with people in ways that my car content just never had. I had an excellent and wonderful core audience but after years of hard work on making car videos, I didn't have much to show for it. Fast forward a bit and 3D printing content has been far more successful for me. It has allowed me to become a full time creator. As with HotRodHippie, I set out to make MandicReally an inclusive educational space to help people learn the knowledge they seek. That is and always will be the driving force.   

What is your most viewed piece of content on TikTok?   

My most viewed video on TikTok is a silly video about the “Banana Lid” for my “Big Barrel”. On TikTok people like big and outlandish things. Bigger than life personalities displaying bigger than average 3D prints is often a recipe for success. So I took one of my “Can Cup” designs (Root Beer Barrel) that is intended to hold a 12oz (335ml) soda can, and I scaled it up to 250%. Someone said I should fill it with Bananas. Instead of doing the logical thing of going to the store to buy bananas, I designed a 3D printable lid that was a pile of bananas. You don't even see the finished product in the video and that TikTok has brought in 20.2 million views as of today.   

What’s the best 3D printer you’ve ever used?    

A question I get all too often and I'll give you the same answer as my audience, “Best is subjective and dependent on needs. No one machine really fits all of my needs.” That said, my current favorite machine is my Voron V0.1 build. I adore tinkering and the entire idea of RepRap in general, so building my own machine from “Scratch” has been lovely. 

What would your dream printer set-up be?  

Coming from metal fabrication as my career field, I'd have to say my real dream setup would be a metal SLS machine capable of doing sizable parts. Something I could prototype or produce parts for custom cars and motorcycles rapidly with. In the more down to earth thought, I really want a Toolchanger type machine. I've tried various Dual Extrusion, and Multi-Material systems and am always left wanting.

What advances would you like to see in 3D printing in the coming years?    

Improved user focused features. Such as truly automatic bed leveling, self tuning, and a more streamlined interface that doesn't sacrifice options. However much I personally love building machines from scratch and tuning them in, most people aren't into that or even built for it. I feel like a lot of machines are only playing with making themselves more user friendly. Or they do so at the cost of tunability. Many go with fancy streamlined touch screens but you can't tune E-Steps or do a PID tune without having to terminal in from a computer. That isn't “User Friendly”, it is “Overly Simplified”. There is little reason a machine can't have both a user friendly design & the ability to be tuned.

Attending any industry events this year?    

I will be attending East Coast RepRap Festival (ERRF) later this year. Unless sponsored to attend any other events I think that is it for 2022

What’s your next big project?    

I've just started my Voron 2.4 build, and shifting my energies toward YouTube in general for the rest of 2022. A “Bigger Barrel” is on the horizon. I've got the AnyCubic Kobra Max, specifically to print as big of a 3D printed barrel as I can. Just trying to work out some firmware issues that are holding that up currently. 

Is there anything else you'd like to share with the community?   

A sincere thank you to any and all who watch my content, engage with it, download my 3D designs, or provide feedback along the way. Being a content creator does not happen without an audience. To those of you who had no idea who I was before this, please look beyond the silly and over the top presentation style to realize that it is a way of grabbing attention and standing out. My goal is to educate, learn myself, and to be a part of the 3D printing community. We all succeed when we all learn and grow together! Oh and check out my free STL files on Thangs.com/MandicReally !!  

Get involved in the E3D community!      

A huge thanks to Alan for sharing his work with us. Keep an eye on what Alan is 3D printing by following him on Instagram, Tiktok, YouTube and Twitter.

Find lots of other hints and tips from other 3D printing enthusiasts to make your 3D prints better! Join the conversation on Discord, follow our blog, and keep in touch on our socials. Do you have an impressive 3D printing project you’d like us to highlight? Get in touch and we can feature you!