Featured Designer of the Month: Stefan Gales

Featured Designer of the Month: Stefan Gales

Featured Designer of the Month, Stefan Gales, tells Pinshape about his journey into 3D design and how it led him to create his beautiful 3D printed designs. 


Pinshape:  We love your designs on our site, and you have such great variation in the types of work that you have featured on your portfolio (everything from ornaments to iPhone stands). What inspires you to create the types of designs that you create and how do you determine when to create those different kinds of products?

Stefan: A good challenge always inspires me: the contests Pinshape launches; striving to do things that are always a little more sophisticated and beautiful; learning a new software and mastering those I already work with. Everything that’s challenging.

Chicory Wall Art Design


What is your favorite category of item to design for (i.e. gadgets, home, etc.)?

I don’t have a favorite category. I only work on something that I know is going to be special in some way.

Your designs have a lot of amazing symmetry to them, as well as an ability to balance a lot of detailing with a very clean presentation. Do you think that your background in architecture or anything else in particular made an impact on your design style and influenced your creation of these dynamic pieces?

Architecture definitely helped, but I also enjoy the physical work required to bring my own ideas, my own designs to life. I like to be in control of the whole process, and to design things that will have practical application sooner or later.


Stefan Gales with his wife of 27 years, Bianka.


What initially got you into designing for 3D printing?

Here it gets trickier:
In 1991, I graduated from “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism (Bucharest Romania). Back in those days, after the 1989 Romanian revolution, the working conditions for architects were not something I enjoyed. That’s why a childhood friend of mine and I decided to start an advertising business. We couldn’t afford to buy the equipment we needed (a cutter plotter), so I used my knowledge in mechanics, software and electronics to build ourselves one. I spent the next 23 years of my life building cutter plotters and CNC routers on my own.

In 2013, I tried to build some 3D printers for the Romanian market, but the market wasn’t ready for 3D printing yet so I had no success. This July, I received an invitation from Nick Schwinghamer to enter the 3d-printing-kids-toys-design-challenge. Right then I didn’t have the time to do this, but one month later I opened a Pinshape account and started drawing.


SG Santas New Sleigh


What brought 3D printing to your attention in the first place and prompted you get build these printers?

Technology is my middle name. I eat, breath, and live for technology, and I strongly believe that 3D printing marks the dawn of a new age in technology and will revolutionize our world.

I have a few other skills as well in software, designing and processing [that allowed me to do it]:

In 1992, I started programming in AutoLisp for AutoCAD; I’ve been using C, and later C++ since 1993 and  I’ve been programming in Pascal (Delphi) since 1994. Then, in 1995, I started programming in assembly, at first for the 486 processors, and later on for both Atmel and Pic microcontrollers.

For a few years now I’ve been working with Arduino, Chipkit, Freescale and Raspberry Pi, and I’ve been using AutoCad for 22 years. I’ve also tested and worked with many others alike.

I work on a lathe and a milling machine (manual and CNC) almost every single day, and I’m a welder, a locksmith, a painter, a tinker, etc.

Stefan working on a CNC.


What initially drew you to the hardware side of 3D printing rather than the design side?

How could I not build some 3D printers when I think so highly of this technology? 3D printing is the future.

You mentioned that you have a daughter who creates drawings and designs beautiful dolls. Do you ever collaborate with her on designs?

I usually ask my daughter to take a look at what I’m doing, and then I pay attention to her reactions. I seek her advice when it comes to color and presentation.

In terms of her own work, I give practical advice where advice is needed, in the process of bending and working with metal, for example (her dolls are made of paper and have a wire skeleton), and in my own workshop I build the small wooden base her dolls stand on.


Star Christmas Ornament in Red


Do you have any advice for other designers who are trying to get started in 3D printing?

First and foremost, draw what you like. Success will eventually find you.

What design tools do you use most often?

Blender, and I’m now deep into studying Rhino.

What made made you decide to start learning Rhino? Are there certain things that you like better about that tool or things that you weren’t able to do with Blender than inspired you to make the switch?

I’ve been using many programs, and the list keeps on growing (Illustrator, Photoshop, Inventor, Solid Edge, NX, Creo, etc.). As you might remember, I thrive on a challenge.

So, I can definitely say that none of them is as powerful and complete as Rhino. You can draw almost anything in it, anything from 2D to 3D. On the other hand you can use Blender to do what 3DMAX or MODO do and much more.

As far as I’m concerned, Blender and Rhino form the winning team.

iDolphin6: iPhone 6 Stand


What are your favorite blogs, tutorials, magazines, and other resources to help to keep you up-to-date on design and 3D design?

I read the 3D Printer World newsletter on a regular basis and visit Pinshape and other sites daily. 
View more of Stefan’s designs here, and check out his Christmas Collection here


Pinshape is a 3D printing community and marketplace where makers from all over the world can find and share their next great 3D print and help each other get the best results from their 3D printers.