Introduction: Family Spotlight: Charles Projects, Mulia Wi, & Familylovermommy

About: Matthew was previously a STEAM integrator with a private K-8 school. He loves taking things apart to see how they work, and will sometimes put those things back together. Much of his time is spent working with…

Welcome to a special edition of the Author Spotlight Interview!

Author interviews provide a way for us (Instructables) to reach out to, chat with, and showcase talented people. Typically we spotlight an individual Instructables author, but I decided to try something new this time around.

I recently had the privilege to chat with an amazing maker family. Brothers Charles (Charles Projects) and Noble (Mulia Wi), along with their mom Dewi (familylovermommy) collaborate on most of the 48 projects they have published between them.

From cooking to engineering, their projects encapsulate fun and exploration and showcase what can be accomplished with a goal, a little bit of research, and a plan.

Step 1: Contests Drove Us to Create Creative Projects.

When did you first start making things? What kinds of things were you interested in making and doing when you were a younger?

I started making things when I was in high school a long time ago, about 30 years. At that time, I was always interested in making things related to science and technology. After I had kids, I stopped doing projects because I had to take care of my kids, so I did not have much time in making projects anymore.
Charles & Noble:
We started making things in building Lego. We are always interested in mechanical and technical projects.

When did you first discover Instructables and what inspired you to post your first project?

Actually, I have known about Instructables before posting projects there. I knew Instructables from searching on the internet through Google Search. As you know, Google is my primary source for deepening our knowledge. In 2018, Noble joined as an Instructables member, but we had not posted a project. We only used Instructables to gain knowledge, especially projects related to science and technology, such as creating a robot, machine, electronic, etc. At that time, I remember Instructables had no free option for non-paid members to download the pdf project for free. I think it is better now because the paid membership has been removed so there is no boundary and limit for members to gain knowledge. Additionally, for about two years, I rarely visited Instructables due to pages loading slowly.
My youngest son and I joined Instructables in January 2020. I remember that I wanted to make a robot (inspired by my husband working in the robotic industry). I indeed used Google search engine as my device to search robot project ideas. Instructables became one of the results of the search. I clicked the Instructables link, and I was intrigued to join a contest. What I want to tell you is contests drove us to create creative projects at that time.

Step 2: By Playing Games, We Wanted to Know More About How the Games Were Made.

How did you get into 3D Design, and what inspired the idea to combine that with technology?

The first thing that I want to share with you is that we were gamers before we learned 3D design. At that time, we loved playing games for fun only. We knew about 3D design before, but never deepened our knowledge of it. People always say that playing games is harmful, but for us, playing games is harmless and even useful to make us better. What I am saying is that by playing games, we wanted to know more about how the games were made. With that question, we decided to do something, and tried to find the answer. Once again, we surfed the Google search to obtain more information about this matter. The result is we became interested in making 3D models by using Unity Software. Yet, we did not have an idea how to make the 3D models into reality, for we did not have a 3D Printer at that moment.
Participating in Instructables' contest helped us learn more about 3D Printing. Why are we saying that? It is because there were lots of contestants' projects containing 3D Printing, and their projects are so beautiful. For this reason, my husband and I decided to buy a 3D Printer. Since then, we have made things with 3D Printing.
But one more time, we used Google search to know more about CAD Software. Because we started using Tinkercad two years ago, we wanted to learn more about other CAD Software and found Fusion 360. Certainly, you want to know why we choose Fusion 360 over all other software. First, Fusion 360 gave free membership for education purposes. Of course, we love free things. Hurriedly, we registered with our school's name to Fusion 360. From then on, we started learning and making 3D Models.
Why do we want to move on from Tinkercad to Fusion 360? The reason is that Tinkercad is software for beginners, to begin with, and we want to master our skills. Moreover, Fusion360 is more precise and accurate in creating models than Tinkercad.

Step 3: If It Is Overwhelming, We Step Back and Do It on Another Day.

How do you approach new projects, and what advice would you give to others just beginning a new project that may seem overwhelming?

When we approach new projects, it is essential to know the projects' overall process and goal that we want to create. By doing this, we understand what we would like to accomplish to finish the project successfully. If it is overwhelming, we step back and do it on another day.

You mentioned that Instructables contests were the primary inspiration for your new projects. Could you expand on how that started, and why you use that as inspiration?

As we mentioned previously, contests in Instructables did inspire our projects. When doing a project, it is quite hard to have ideas to do projects. By seeing all kinds of contests on Instructables, it motivated our creativity to create projects. What we mean is it broadens our understanding of what projects we want to build.

Step 4: Never Feel Discouraged When Learning.

As students who utilize both Tinkercad and Fusion 360, could you tell me how you originally found them, how and why you transitioned to Fusion for some projects, and any tips you have for people thinking of using them?

It is suitable to use Tinkercad for novices at 3D modeling because Tinkercad has the easiest features for beginners to start with modeling in 3D areas. We started modeling in Tinkercad, too. We knew Tinkercad, as mentioned above, from searching on the internet. Because we wanted to continue progressing, we moved to Fusion 360, which has more complexity and features than Tinkercad.
Yes, we have some tips for using Tinkercad and Fusion 360. First, never feel discouraged when learning. Find as many sources of tutorials as possible. Follow step by step the tutorial until you accomplish making your 3D model. After mastering, you can use your imagination and creativity to create and build whatever 3D Model you desire.

If you could give any advice to someone new to using Instructables, what would it be?

Just create Instructables in detail with lots of pictures that can explain your project profoundly and, of course, with passion and patience.

Step 5: Having Creativity Broadens Our Minds.

Are there any Tinkercad or Instructables projects you think other educators or students should know about?

We think that all of our projects are good for educators and students to know. We make sure that we build step-by-step Instructables that are easy to follow, especially for beginners. We also publish a lot of other projects on our website. Stay tuned for more projects.
We are also very proud of our Touchless Dog Hand Wash Timer project. It was created in Fusion 360, then 3D printed, and finally had electronics built into it. We use daily when we wash our hands, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. We want other people to understand the benefit of 3D modeling and 3D printing for daily life, as opposed to just sitting on the desk.

When we were chatting, you brought up three things that you felt were very important for people making things. Could you tell me more about them here?

Passion, creativity, and never give up or relinquish. Those are the three main things we use if we want to succeed. Passion is the first that we should have if we would like to make things. With passion, we have a right-minded spirit that can anticipate all the obstacles we will probably encounter during the project. Creativity is the second factor for us to succeed in making things. Having creativity broadens our minds about what kinds of projects we want to build, so we do not have to experience boredom in our projects. Lastly, never giving up or relinquishing is another factor for our success. It is common to meet some failures in making things. If we have an attitude to give up easily, we never finish creating projects. As we mentioned earlier, our relinquish behavior helped us revive after failing.