Although design is my foremost passion, I have explored many other hobbies and interests. Here are just a few I feel have impacted my ability to become a more well-rounded, experienced designer...
Custom PC and Component Building
My very first computer was a Commodore Vic-20 8-bit home computer. I vaguely remember frantically typing on the command line trying to get "Frogger" to load via a cassette tape. We have come a long way since then. It were those moments as just a little guy that sparked a life-long interest in computers and technology. Once we got an Apple II I was hooked. Throughout the years I flipped back and forth from being a "PC guy" to a "Mac guy" until adulthood when I realized that I didn't have to fall into either category and I could love both!
Back in 2013 when the revamped Mac Pro ("trashcan" as the PC guys called it) came out, I was heartbroken. Here was this glorious cutting-edge piece of art and technology but Apple missed the mark - especially with professionals. It was not upgradeable. I thought, "I bet I could build something that would blow this thing out of the water", and that's what I did. This of course led me down a rabbit hole of custom PC enthusiasm. As a designer, artist and especially a 3D modeler, having a computer with raw power is of the utmost importance.
Today I build PCs both for my own professional benefit, clients and as a hobby. I even started to design and build (from scratch) my own keyboards! Soldering custom PCBs with the switches of my choice and custom keycaps in an aluminum CNC'd case give a new computer that added sense of customizability and aesthetically-pleasing goodness. It gives me piece of mind to know that I can diagnose and repair any part of the machine I'm working on without needing the help of the "Genius Bar" or "Geek Squad", eliminating down-time while creating a machine that chews up 3D renders and spits them out. Of course, I also have a lot of fun doing it.
Small 2-Stroke European Motorcycles
Ok maybe that's a much cooler sounding name than what they really are: mopeds. I love these things. You know, the solution to the gas-crunch of the 70's? Half bicycle, half dirt bike... Not to be confused with scooters, oh no. Scooters have no pedals and a floorboard to rest your feet in the sitting-position. These look more like miniature motorcycles - only with pedals.
The same passion I have for raw compute power was instantly translated once my dad gave me my first moped. It was slow, cumbersome and way too quiet. After scratching the itch (or need?) to make things go faster I discovered a huge community out there of people who shared the same interest. From hipsters in L.A. to old guys in Milwaukee this subculture has grown tremendously over the years. This pastime pushed me to learn things about mechanics I never thought I would - I can legitimately say I can rebuild a 2-stroke engine with my eyes closed. In fact, when I was in school I worked as a mechanic!
Here is just one of my creations. This was a 1981 Puch Magnum. Stock it didn't go above twenty five miles per hour. Through a lot of fabricating custom parts and modifcations I can now hit close to sixty!
In the interest of saving money while also "living the life" as a stay at home dad I decided to start tackling remodeling projects. Being handy goes with industrial design territory, it has to. So I started learning small bits of trade. Carpentry, pluming and although I'm not quite ready to re-wire our breaker box, electricity. I can confidently say my efficiency with power tools is on point! I effectively remodeled an entire floor of our current house. Demo, flooring, drywall, trim, paint, electrical components (switches, wiring, lighting). Thank goodness for YouTube and PBS's "This Old House".