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Making a living out of educational videos

For the past 3 years, Michael has been proudly making unbiased videos every week about everything from 3D modeling and printing to Coding, to robotics. We talked about his process as a creator on YouTube, some background on how he made a living out of video creation first for his students and now for hundreds of thousands of followers.

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Transcript

Hello everybody. And welcome to this episode of the creator. Come up podcast. This episode, I had the extremely smart and very personable Michael laws. As my guest, Michael, is the creator behind the teaching tech YouTube channel. For the past three years, Michael has been proudly creating some unbiased videos every single week about everything from 3d printing and modeling to coding to robotics. We talked about his process as a creator here on YouTube, as well as some background on how he went from creating videos for his students to now creating videos for hundreds of thousands of people in his audience, Michael was, and is an extremely nice dude. He was happy to sit down with me after putting his kids to bed. So you really know how dedicated this man is to talking about his craft throughout this conversation. I got a lot of insight on how the educational side of YouTube works as well as some recommendations, if I ever want to get into 3d printing, this one was a good one. So I won't keep you waiting much longer without further ado, the 3d printing master himself, Michael laws. All right, Michael. Well, thank you so much for doing this. Thanks for hopping on, on your evening after putting the kids down to bed, uh, appreciate you being here and answering some questions about, you know, the YouTube game and the creator, uh, creator economy. Uh, now, uh, what I'd like to do is just have everybody kind of shortly introduce themselves and talk about what they do. So if you wouldn't mind, the red carpet is yours.

All right. Well firstly, thanks for the invite. And for having me, my name's Michael laws, I run the YouTube channel teaching tech, which is as the name suggests teaching technology, primarily 3d printing, but I also cover a bunch of other things, laser cutting, CNC. Um, I've done videos on software and programming, making apps, um, gadgets, robotics, all sorts of stuff.

I've I spent last night like a hardcore, uh, bingeing, your whole YouTube channel. And I saw that you've only been doing this for three years. Was this your first attempt at a YouTube channel?

Um, no, not quiet. My first proper attempt, I would say, um, okay. Before the name of the channel comes from the fact that when I started it, I was a high school teacher and I, my, my subject was technology. So, um, I actually had a couple of channels where I would make tutorials for the students, but they were tied to the school I was teaching there. So, um, but never had my face on them or anything like that. They would generally just like really quick screencasts like low production value type of thing. So I had two channels before this one covering the type of things I was teaching, but this is my first attempt at trying to do it properly.

Okay. So do you do this full time now? Are you still a teacher? Oh, okay. Um, when did you, when did you switch over from, from doing like, did, did you start the YouTube channel and then it started to gain traction and then you were like, okay, let me switch over to this. Or how did that process go?

So the first two years of the channel, I was still teaching full-time. Um, my aim was to potentially make a little bit of income on the side, so I could go down to part-time, um, teaching. I was pretty burnt out and was ready for a change with that. So after the first year I achieved that goal. So I was four days a week, um, for the second year of the channel. Um, except I had a student team make it to, to a world final for engineering competition. So that probably took up as much extra time as the day would anyway, trying to organize that. Um, and then at the end of that year, I finished teaching, which means I'm coming up to my second year of doing it full time. YouTube.

Very, very cool. Congratulations on that, man. It takes, it usually takes people tens, like 15 years to like, to really gain traction on YouTube and you seem to have done, like I said, I, I clicked, you know, you go in and you click a oldest video here and I saw three years. I was like, no way. There's no way that's so that's genuinely impressive, man. I've been following YouTube since day one and like, w you know, I'm, I'm like a stickler for all the analytics and howling how everybody, like, uh, how everybody grows. And that's really impressive. So kudos to you, dude. But I, I do want to ask about that, that, like, um, he said, uh, national finals or something with the engineering. What, what was it that you, you said your students went to?

Sure. Um, well, I'm a, I'm a big car nut. I have been for a long time. I love formula one as well. Um, I've had dogs named after Australian drivers, for instance. So I had a dog named Weber and now one named Ricardo. So it was, it was a natural, there's a competition called F1 in schools. And it's as the name suggests, it's like mini engineering, like one to 20, um, what's the equivalent, uh, CO2 dragster they have in the states. So similar type of thing, where a car is machine CNC, machined out of a balsa block has a CO2 Castro in the back of that gets punctured. It shoots off like a rocket, but there's a whole bunch of other things around it as well. So there's a competition for that. And I taught it at the last two schools I was at. And, um, one really talented team, uh, actually won the Australian comp and qualified for the international final in Abu Dhabi. So we had to fundraise and do the competition as well to get ourselves over there. And that, that was, as you might imagine, uh, required a really big budget and took a lot of effort from them and myself. So you don't get me really busy? No.

Oh, definitely. Did you ever think about, um, like documenting the whole thing for the, did that ever cross your mind of like using this as like a way to just kind of, you know, uh, document this time and throw it up on YouTube and kind of feeling, or did you want to have that kind of be separate and keep students out of it?

Uh, no, I've, I've got, uh, maybe three or four videos with students in them. Um, two of them were logs of the national finals. So the year before that I had a team finished, third, we're getting closer and closer each year. And then I've got a blog video of the comp that we won. Um, didn't film anything when we're in Abu Dhabi, because they had a lot of strict rules around filming in general public in not having people in the background without consent and things like that. So I figured it just wasn't really worth it. And I was just like so exhausted by the end of the year anyway. So no, but, um, I also had a video leading up where I had the kids in the studio here with me and we printed out a bunch of parts for their race car from different materials and they did various tests and whatever on them. So, um, they actually won an award in the international finals for social media. So I think hopefully that helped towards that, which was good. It was good for me. I got something interesting to make a video about and it helped their project as well. Wow.

That's, that's really cool. Wow. It's always neat to see that, like, there's a lot of like really impressive things behind the scene that go on as well, that kind of help boost up morale and everything behind the channels and everything, even just in general. It's just cool. I'm sorry. Everything is it's, everything's not about the whole YouTube channel, but like in general, it's really neat. Um, how long have you been, how long have you been doing, uh, 3d printing and stuff like that? I, I think you said you went to, from your videos, you went to university for it, correct?

Yeah. So, um, my qualification is industrial design. I finished that in 2004. Um, I was pretty lazy after that. I didn't actually work in that field, but, um, my first experience of 3d printing was for my final year project. I did a model of what I was designing and then I think it was 2012. We got a 3d printed at the school I was working at and started 2013. I got one for home and yeah, I've been going since then.

I just, uh, kept going that's okay. So you have quite a bit of a background in a lot of different coding and design as well. Uh, that I've seen, like, I, those obviously go hand in hand. Um, now I guess, um, let's take a look at the questions doing the, the age old sin of, of podcasting. Let's ask the questions. Um, uh, honestly, I, I'm just very impressed by, by, uh, how many different coding languages now did you learn that all throughout university and, and everything that with, with, um, all the 3d design and industrial design, um, all within university, are you kind of self-taught in any of those,

Um, think things are learned at uni that you see on the channel, uh, but graphic graphic design, we learned Photoshop and illustrator back then all the 3d modeling stuff I learned back then, um, obviously a lot of design principle type of things as well.

Um, there's videos I've never made for this channel, but I covered on my school channels, like drawing by hand with perspective, um, doing, you know, there's fancy marker renderings, like the artist's conception type drawings, where everything looks all shiny and nice. So I like that type of thing. Um, I've made videos before, just not for this channel. Um, the actual programming side I'm self-taught I wanted to do a website, so I bought a book and over our Christmas holidays, I kind of went through and learned, followed examples and built up some skills in that I wouldn't say I'm like really, really proficient. Like when I come back to coding, I always have reference websites there to like guide a stumble through things, sound with examples, modify it, and I can generally get where I need to go, but it's not the type of thing where it's all locked up here and comes naturally, but I can generally achieve what I want to achieve. Okay.

So that's very impressive. I work around a lot of our designers and, and also, uh, uh, wow. Uh, I want to say coders, but that's not the, uh, the right correct term, but you know what I mean? And then I'm always impressed by that. Uh, how much does the, how much does the, the community help you out with a lot of this stuff? How much does the community within your YouTube channel as well as just on GitHub or anything really, uh, kind of form a lot of your, your video ideas or any of your new, new, um, new knowledge towards 3d printing or design?

I'd say it's a really big part. So in terms of steering, the type of videos I make, I get a lot of requests, um, a lot of requests through Patrion as well through email, through comments, in my videos. And then there's also a lot of community projects. Open source is a really big thing in this home manufacturing, 3d printing area. So people will come up with their own designs that are often printable. So, um, it's not like a hobby where you have to spend a lot of money all the time, or you can, you could spend a lot of money modifying your printer as a hobby, but once you've got the printer, it opens you up to a lot of other projects that you can then do just for the cost of the plastic. So, um, for instance, I did a video, there was a gentleman who's had a couple of community projects, which I've featured. Um, one was printing mounts for Sharpies, and then he wrote some code. So as it was printing, the printer would go up, pick up the Sharpie and color in the print as it was going, he could in multicolor prints. So, yeah, there's always great projects like that. Also, um, the firmware and the software, and most of it's open source in 3d printing community. So there's always new developments, new things to cover in terms of that new software options and things that I learn I can pass on in my videos

Now. So where do you see 3d printing going with this? Because like, I see that you create a lot of cool, different little things, but I also remember seeing a video of yours that talked about mass production and it not necessarily being the most viable option. So do you see 3d printing still staying as more of like a hobby art? Or do you see it potentially expanding into other mediums?

Yeah, it's a, it's a really tricky question because it seemed inevitable however many years ago that it would grow in popularity until there was one in every house. And then if something, you know, part broke on your, inside your fruit to some sort of tray or whatever you would, they download the product from the manufacturer, make it yourself like real science fiction type of thing. But the reality is 3d printing is very nuanced and there's a certain barrier to learning it. We have to learn the ins and outs and some of the pitfalls. And there's like, there's some gotchas that you need to kind of stumble, stumble through and overcome at the start. And then you'll build up enough problem-solving knowledge and skill that you can fix those little things and keep the printer going. So I think a lot of people, if you were to gift them a 3d printer, they might think it's great at first until the first thing goes wrong.

I have a clog or the first layer is not going down properly, which means a printer and a peel off later on. And then it might be too hard for them. So unless they're really enthusiastic, they won't put in their time to overcome that. So I think for printers to become mainstream, they need to switch in focus to be more like an appliance, maybe less powerful, but more habits behind the scenes to simplify things and automate, but we're a long way from that. And because the community is really focused on open source and being able to modify and configure how they want it doesn't really fit either. So it's, yeah, it's, it's, we're in a strange place at the moment with that.

Yeah. It reminds me like, in my mind, like I know this is kind of like a little out of left field, but it reminds me of like a Linux versus a, like a windows or a Mac. Like the people that you would need it to be more of a windows or a Mac for people to generally want to use it or whatnot. But there is a very heavy group of people that really enjoy the Linux side of things pertaining to also, uh, 3d printing. There's a large group of people that really enjoy this whole side, but it is also a lot of dedication that comes from, uh, like keeping things up to date, keep knowing how to fix things, being persistent with being able to fix things. Correct.

As I think that's a really good analogy, like for most people like windows and Mac iOS, they're visual, you can see that buttons there, that buttons there, like everything is presented to you now. Like I'm pretty limited in Linux. So I don't want to misread this misrepresent, how it

Works. Don't worry.

I have to use it sometimes, um, for the 3d printing stuff. But yeah, it gets easier once you've learnt commands, the common commands to use over a terminal to navigate through on the command line rather than with a graphic interface. So it's already printing properly similar until you put in that effort to learn those things you get stuck and it's easy to become frustrated. So I think that's spot on.

Oh, thank you. Yeah, there we go. We're making good analogies here where we're opening it up to the general public. Oh, um, I know you, uh, you, you made a comment about Patrion earlier. Uh, how big was Patrion, um, in, in kind of changing the game for you with YouTube? Because I know ad sense only usually does. So for, for creators to create a living, uh, how much of like, how great or how helpful was Patrion in that endeavor to switching over to this being your full-time gig?

Um, it's a significant part of my income. Not as much as YouTube AdSense that's by far the primary income for me. Yeah. Really. I'm like, I've got a lot of patrons normally just under a thousand at any one time. So, um, it's, it's embodies the community that we have with open source and people wanting to help each other that it's like that gesture of them wanting to sponsor you each month. It's just, yeah, I really appreciate it. And it just fits with our community really well.

Now you, you grew that over time is your, so what would you recommend for people that are starting the Patrion side of things do is interactivity between yourself and your patrons.

Very important, um, going forward, um,

Um, I try to treat it as such because I figure if someone's kind enough to financially support me, I should be there for them. However, I would, I would argue from my experience that most people are doing it as a gesture rather than wanting something back in return. So for instance, um, I've got a patron exclusive forum and they'd probably only be, I dunno, like 30, 50 active people out of the thousand on that. Um, there, my videos go up at free and the day before, but it's, there's only a handful of people that watch them. Um, I have for the top tier, I have video Hangouts twice a month, but there's not normally that many people that join those either. So people are busy obviously, but, um, I figured most people don't necessarily want anything in return, assess them being generous and wanting to thank me and appreciate things ways I might've helped them.

Sure. Now, at what point in your YouTube career, did you jump over to Patrion? Did you start one? Cause I feel like you probably didn't just like start the channel and then start the Patriot. Was there a point where you and your mind were like, okay, this would be a viable option?

I did. I actually started at straightaway because I had the other two channels. Um, the first one I started at my previous school that counts probably like 10, 11 years old. Now, something like that. Um, it was a steadily growing and subscribers over time, despite, you know, intermittent upload schedule and low video quality. So I figured, you know, if I do this properly, then it's, you know, it might work out. So before I started this channel over, I think I started it in like January. So I spent the December of the year before just watching like all of the YouTube tutorials, how to set up a channel things to do to be consistent. And Patrion came up in that. So I set up, um, my first patron, I didn't get for a couple of months and it was actually one of my students and he was doing it to be like a troll. So he could say it was my boss, my parents, and said, you know, are you okay with this? And they're like, it's his money if he wants to do that. And he could do that. So, um, he was the first one. So, Hey, Michelle, if you ever see this, thank you. It was a real cheeky that guy. Um, good. Um, yeah, and eventually that started pretty slowly and then eventually it grew and kind of snowballed after that.

When did you see that your channel started taking off? Was there a video that really, really hit it?

Uh, I did have, uh, a popular video fairly early on. Um, now one thing that benefit me was the fact that I was a teacher. So when I came back to school that year, the novelty of the kids like, oh, Mr. Lewis has a YouTube channel and whatever else. And also a lot of the early videos I was making to suit stuff. We were teaching in class. So, you know, when you, when you start, you're dropping the ocean and like the stat for how many hours of video uploaded each day is ridiculous. So getting a foot in the door, it's like so hard. So one advantage I had was I had made videos knowing that 25 kids would have to watch them as part of their schoolwork. So that probably boosted the channel and analytics a bit still like tiny numbers compared to now. Um, but I did have, uh, I suppose, a viral video fairly early on compared to everything else I did. Um, that shot me way past the thresholds to get ad sense and whatever else, but YouTube was really behind. So it was like another four months before I made a cent from the channel.

Now, what video was that if you don't mind me asking, um,

It was a video on buying a 3d printer from LD and testing it to see if it was any good or not.

I saw that video and it was like really late last night. And I was like, ah, I'll just ask him about it. How was that? I was actually wanted to ask you about that. How was the Aldi printer?

Yeah, it turns out it was quite reasonable. Um, come to experience that the LD special buys so that they have twice a week, I think in Australia. And I think they have it in other parts of the world. They seem to selectively buy and rebrand stuff that has a good reputation elsewhere. So this fit with that and yeah, it was pretty, pretty reasonable.

Wow. How much, how much did that cost was the old print

Off 500 bucks Australian, maybe something like that.

Four or 500 bucks. Okay. What's a reasonable intro. Um, a 3d printer for, I used to go to micro center all the time and see like what weren't they like 3, 300, 400. Is that around?

Um, well they have become a lot cheaper. Um, yeah, you can spend under 200 bucks and there's like quite a lot of choice. Um, the most popular cheap one is called it in the three by creativity. And that probably helped the success of my channel in the earlier days. Cause I got one of those animated, a lot of videos on modifying them and they were really popular. Um, so like the quality control could be a bit hit or miss on them. Like I've had three different ones now. Um, there's some parts that aren't quite straight on. Each of them, um, one was missing like the, the control knob. So I had to print and put one on so little things like that. Aren't perfect. And things like, um, customer customer support really pretty much falls to the community. And you can't really expect much in terms of customer support and warranty, trusting company, but because they're so popular, there's heaps and heaps of parts you can buy for them, upgrade parts, heaps of communities, um, free files that you can print to upgrade them. So you get the printer, then print the upgrades, fit them to the printer, print more upgrades, fit them. So it's quite addictive for someone who's into tinkering.

What does that make this? Yeah, especially for a car guy, you know, making modifications to cars and stuff.

Now that's a really good comparison because you know, for some people they never want to play with the car that I just want to buy the car and drive from a to B. And for some people they just want to go to shops and buy something. But for others, they like the design process. I like tinkering that like it as a hobby and they might spend as much time modifying the printer as they do actually using it. And that first printer I got at home years and years ago, it was like that for me, I just loved finding weaknesses and upgrading it all the time.

Now, why, why did you, you made a comment about how the technical support for these companies that build these printers. Why, why are they kind of, I don't want to say obsolete, but like just not helpful.

Um, I think it's just the way they organize their business and the budget of 3d printers. So that the end of three is like, there's now an end of three, two and ended three pro and whatever else. But the baseline is like always under 200 bucks, even cheaper on sale, that's us dollars. So, you know, when you have the parts and manufacturing and you know, it's a big company, so they should have pretty efficient manufacturing in terms of cost to them, but they're still not going to be a whole lot of money left over to employ, you know, a room full of customer service. That's it, there's other companies in like another tier. So one of the most popular companies is called Prussia and that was started by a guy who was just part of the community, um, Joseph Prussia and he's in Czech Republic and they've grown to the point where there's like tens of thousands of them around the world. And he's got, um, I think he's got hundreds of employees now and they have 24 7, um, internet support and email support and all of that type of thing. So, you know, they cost significantly more than the average reality printer, but sure. It's just a whole different experience in terms of service and customer support.

Now, how tight knit is this a, is the 3d printing community? How, how close are you? Cause I don't, I don't know of any other YouTubers that do this, which I'm guessing there's a lot of them how, or even just people in the community that have, you know, the big names in the community, how close knit it is, everybody that like, when you make a name for yourself in here, you all are kind of just like chit chatting with each other.

Um, I've, I've had this contact. Yeah. Uh, I've had contact with most of the other popular ones over the years. Um, I'm not really in regular, like I don't know any of them in real life. Um, but generally everyone's pretty friendly and working together and, you know, we'll, we'll point to each other's videos and our own videos where something's relevant or someone else makes a really good video. So generally yeah. Pretty good community like that. I suppose there are quite a few channels, but compared to, I don't know, something else that I follow, like formula one, it's very niche.

So Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you're, you're a big channel for, for 3d printing and you're sitting at 300,000 and like, like you said, niche, but still impressive. Don't like, that's not me saying, that's not me saying that's not a big number, but like it's, it's still, you can still argue that the niche aspect of it. Um, switching gears a little bit, I'd like to know your, your kind of creative process and how much time it takes you to kind of create everything. Um, what, what do you, how do you sit down, like from start to finish, like scripting out or finding an idea scripting out and filming and editing, what's your process look like?

So it varies a lot, depending on the video, some videos we'll be going for months and months just chipping away in the background. Um, and then I basically have a list. I've got videos I can make in half a week. If I'm really short on time, generally they're built on some, some sort of project I've already finished or knowledge where I've worked out all the technical things like it's done and dusted. There's nothing new to explore. It's just a matter of, um, recording and editing and that's it. And then other ones, I plan a long way ahead, but if I need so I can make the whole video in a week. So the one this week is like that. I, I purchased the part R when I started the year, something like first half of the year, I waited for it to come. It's been sitting on a shelf, I'd been through the documentation for this product on their website.

And I'm like, all right, I can, I can easily do that in a week. Something would have to go really wrong for me to not be able to do this in a week, in which case halfway through the week, quite switched to one of those ones that I can do in half a week to make sure I tried to do one video a week, no matter what. And so far I've kept that even when I was in Abu Dhabi for their fun in schools thing, like a prerecorded three weeks worth of videos to make sure I wouldn't miss that. I'm really goal-driven with things like that. Um, I figure once I started to slip, then that's, that's the start of the slide. So I, I try to be rigid with that type of thing. And then, yeah, other ones I'll have long-term projects that might be like months and months or even years where I've had the idea.

And eventually I think, I think I, you know what, I think I've got time to start tinkering on that and it'll slowly come along until it gets to the point where, okay, now I can finish it in a week and I'll make it the focus for that weekend. Yeah. I'll go full steam ahead on it. In terms of, um, breaking down the actual video, um, how long it takes to film will depend on what it is, how difficult it is. Um, a lot of it comes down to how many unknowns, whether it's something that's completely new to me as a product or a piece of software. And if, if I, if something is unknown and something could go wrong, I try to start it early and get it to that point where it is a known quantity. Um, editing normally takes a full day or these days, maybe a day and a half to try and spread it out a little bit more because editing is not really a fun part of the videos for me. It's okay. It's just, it's just a grind. Hey man, not everybody likes it.

Yeah. Okay. Yeah, I do it every day. I do it every day. So like I understand it can be, it can be a pain in the ass. Let me be real with you. Yeah.

I mean, it's been suggested and people have offered for me to pay them, to do some editing for me, but I just don't really see how it would work with technical videos like this. I feel like they would need to know exactly what the topic was and all the technical details to know what to leave in, what to cut out, what needs more explanation. I think by the time I did the back and forth with them and explained RK that bit needs more fleshing out. It doesn't make sense. How about I record something, send it over to you all the back and forth. It's just quicker for me.

Yeah, exactly. So is it all just you, is it just, you don't have a team on or anything, it's all you. Yeah. Wow. Once one video a week for how long?

Two years. Coming up to four years. Wow. I mean, in the early days I did, I was doing three videos a week for the first nine months, but most of them were things that I had been doing for years at a teacher, as a teacher.

Okay. So it's kinda like short form projects that you could turn out in a desk.

Uh, like for instance, a Photoshop tutorial or, you know, I did a series on 3d modeling in CAD. Like I've been doing that stuff since, since I was in high school in the nineties. So know what I mean? It's like, it was, it was easier. I can make a full video in like five hours in one night reporters going screencast, but editing record myself in the studio here and there chopper together. Like there wasn't that hard. So I think over time, like the silhouette, some things like those ones are, I say, I can do in half a week. That'll like that.

But generally the videos that do these days are more adventurous and take longer because of that more detailed

Now, uh, that, sorry, I again, did those, the podcasts are a horrible thing to do and look at the questions while you're talking and I purge it. Don't worry. But, um, uh, I, I did have, like this random question came up of like, uh, we're going back to you being a teacher with all of this and using your teaching, uh, to, to kind of gain some traction and whatnot. Do you suggest that if teachers are thinking about doing YouTube channels to kind of do it like, cause in my mind, if I would have ever known that my teacher was doing a YouTube channel, it'd be, I don't know how I would feel as a student. I would be like, this is how, wait, how old, what grade did you teach? What?

Okay, so I trained as a high school teacher, but the last couple of years I was teaching, I became the stem coordinator for the whole school, which is kinder through to senior year 12th in Australia. And I was mainly teaching primary school for the last year and the year before that, about half half. So the young, the young kids didn't really care either way, but for a high schooler, as I suppose, as like a element of glamour in a way, especially as my channel grew, they're like, oh, you've got this many SOPs now. And yeah, so the novelty for them was pretty big. Um, what I recommend it to a teacher now, teaching is a funny profession in which you need to be good at a range of things. Like it's not just about knowing your subject area. You know, you're, you're a counselor as much as you are, um, like a police officer and keeping the kids in line.

And you know, he's really, really good in meetings and organizing. And then there's the whole Adam inside with documentation and talking to the parents and things like that. Teaching's a job where all those skills don't exist in a lot of people. So not that many people can be teachers, but if you want to switch industries, there's not that many other industries that need that combination of skills. It's a, it's a really strange one. A lot of teachers find it hard to leave teaching for that reason. Um, YouTube does suit teaching in terms of that, because you need all my videos, at least like they're structured like a lesson the way I approach them and structure them out. So other teachers might find that YouTube kind of suits that, but if I wanted to start of, of logging channel, there's probably not much. Yeah.

Yeah, yeah. So, um, oh, I had a question, ouch, this is bad. It's this is what happens when we record at 10 in the morning that's and you know what, no fault of yours, you know, it's just time zone issues. Um, what was I going to say? I guess like, I guess part of it was kind of like how much of that transferred over, um, when you did, like, I guess that's kind of it, uh, that was, that was part of it. It was like, how much, how much of like from teaching, did you kind of, did it carry over into making YouTube videos and like what parts of that helped you?

Sure. Um, well, for me, I class my channel as education rather than entertainment. Like people that know me in real life would say I've got a really good sense of humor and whatever else, but I don't really push that in my videos at all. Like I choose like some people will critique my channel. I think it's pretty, fairly, so I can be warden in front of the camera and my delivery, but that's like, I choose to do that because I used to get a lot of comments saying I was talking too fast. People couldn't understand my accent. So I've, I've changed my delivery over time to be kind of easier to understand, even if it's less exciting. Um, now I've lost my train of thought. What was I talking about at the start?

It's okay. Oh, we love it. Oh, this is so good. No, it was a, it was kind of like, how does everything transfer over? What, what did you as being a teacher? You get that? Don't worry now. Now I feel okay.

Okay. So you haven't given that my channel, I class as education rather than entertainment, being a teacher helped tremendously in the way I structure my videos. So if you were going to teach a lesson to a class you're aiming, you know, you imagine you've got the bell curve of students. You've got your ones who really struggle. You got your bulk in the middle, and then you've got your really gifted ones at the top. I'm generally trying to capture the bulk in the middle. So kind of keeping that in mind, on how much detail I'll go into explaining something really comes in handy. Um, kind of the logic of how I'll structure a video in terms of how I link it to something the viewer might already know and kind of build on that things I choose to define versus things the viewer might implicitly know.

So that type of thing teaching's really in handy com came in handy for that, that kind of analytical approach. And I suppose one of the frustrating things, when you're teaching, you teach to the middle of that bell curve, but then you can get around face to face and you can visit one-on-one the kids who are struggling and get them up to where they need to be. You can give extension work to the kids who were probably not really paying attention, cause it was too easy for them. But on YouTube, you can't do that. You just got to pick who in that spectrum of skill level, you making the video for, and you get comments saying, oh, this is, you know, this is too hard. You don't have enough detail. And then other comments say, oh, you, you know, you're only glossing the surface. Well, if I'm getting both of those, then I figure I must've hit my target in the middle. Right. In the middle. Yep. Yeah. But people don't often have that perspective to understand that they might be like extremely talented at this stuff and pick it up naturally. But other people have no idea what just went on in the video. So can you, what can you do? Just so we make everyone happy. Yeah.

Well, yeah. That's, that's welcome to life. Am I right? Yeah. Yeah. But, um, so with that being said, where do you suggest people start? I'm Jen, this is just like a genuine question for myself. Where do you suggest people start when it comes to, uh, getting into the 3d printing side of things?

Um, I'm actually going to make a video around Christmas time on this type of topic. So if you've got some money from Christmas, you thinking about buying yourself, maybe you want to get into 3d printing, you know, watch this first type of thing. So kind of like a buyers guide, but not so much about saying buy this printer or that printer more general principles. Like, you know, some people treat it as a hobby. Some people treated it as a tool. Where do you think you'll be? These are the areas where you'll need a lot of patients, you know, do you have that patience? Is this a hobby for you? Um, if you are ready to proceed, you've got these different categories, that type of thing. So for someone getting into 3d printing, I would say, you know, based on what I just said, they need to decide if I want to do it as a hobby, whether working on the printer and learning stuff about it, or whether it's a tool where they just want to make things, um, how willing they are and how good their, um, existing knowledge is to tinker on whether they'll be up to fix and keep a cheat for our problematic machine running or whether they don't have time or patience for that.

And they want to spend more money and buy with the customer support safety net there. So I'd say a person starts with those questions. If they, they want a hobby, they'll look into tinker, they're happy to be part of a community and learn from their mistakes and things might break down. Then one, one of the budget options, otherwise, um, yeah, find one. That's got the customer support and the safety net and go for that type of thing.

Okay. Uh, now I guess it kind of the same question, but transferring that to like YouTube, where would you say if, if somebody is trying to do YouTube about one of their, their hobbies from your own personal experience, what do you say, uh, is the best way to go about that?

I would say I'm like many things in life. Persistence is probably one of the most important factors. So when people exercise, it's more important to do something every week then to do a workout once a month. That's like by the book perfect, you know, scientifically valid. So I'd say stick to an area of passion that they're going to be happy to put that time into and just be patient and chip Hawaiian, put out videos, maybe join community groups for whatever their hobby is on Facebook or Reddit or Instagram or whatever else. And they'll probably be able to learn from that what are popular topics, where people are struggling with something and they might be able to make a video to help, um, what things might need reviewing. And then that'll kind of direct where their content should go and assuming they don't spam those community groups, um, they can build up a good relationship with the users within them. Might like I posted on my videos to Facebook groups in the early days. And generally it went pretty wealthy. It got banned from a couple automatically. There was one I was banned from, it was the Australian 3d printing Facebook group. I was banned for, um, spam for a promotion or something, but like monetary promotion, but I didn't have any affiliate links. I didn't have ads on my videos. I didn't have anything. So there was just the excuse. I said that anyway,

Sounds like Reddit. It sounds exactly how Reddit works too. You know, you post one video where you're like, this is mine and they're like, no, it's like, do not know self promotion. Yeah.

I always read the rules and everything. So, you know, I was in quite a few. Um, but I reached a point where the channel was big enough. I didn't have to do that anymore. And being in those groups meant people were constantly spamming me wanting help with their 3d printers. It's this overwhelming. So I had to withdraw from those.

So would you suggest people do that as well? Join these like a post to these groups and post to that in the early days until things start to traction off and then kind of pull yourself back from it.

I mean, it's up to them whether they want to keep with it or not. I would say, definitely read the rules of the group. So you're not annoying everyone. I tried really hard to do that. And uh, I, you know, I was in enough of them for a long enough time that I think I got it right overall. Um, whether they, I think, yeah, it's a, it's a good way to do it. I mean, when you start, who knows your video exists, that's the trouble. So how are you going to get yourself out there somehow? So if you can do it with tacting, you don't annoy people, then it's a pretty good way to gain some traction. Um, whether they want to withdraw later on is up to them. For me, I was just like constantly being sent unsolicited messages on Facebook messenger, like with a big list, here's all my things, please fix it. And I like helping people. That's why I make videos quite often helping people, but you can't, you just can't get to everyone. There's not, I reckon full-time now I could quit making videos and just do technical support for 3d printers. You can probably easily do that. Now. People don't understand where their one message is this one message. But between all the emails, the messages, um, contacts through my web page, there's so many, you just can't really get to them all day here. Wow.

You are the encyclopedia for 3d printing for a lot of people.

I'm sure it's the same for the other channels and it's not anything different for me. I'm sure. Yeah.

Yeah. You know, you get somebody that knows what they're doing and then everybody's like, oh, hold on. He knows, let's ask him. And then you just get bombarded with messages. Was there ever a project that like came in or like, somebody's question that you were like, oh, I really want to do that. That sounds like a lot of fun.

Yeah, definitely. Um, so I've got on my website, I got a contact form and you can like request videos and people suggest things to me and my patrons will do the same. So I don't say yes to everything, but um, sometimes something comes up and I might, I had no idea this existed, but this is really awesome. And yes, I'm gonna make a video or credit you. So yeah, that's really good when that happens.

Now, does that help your, your whole process of, uh, creating ideas and such, do you have like, is that a lot of where your ideas come from is from indefinitely?

Okay. So companies contact me and that's probably like a third to half of the videos. Um, another third would probably be projects that I'm working on myself that I'm happy to share because they, you know, might be entertaining or just have some sort of value in terms of education and workflow that people can pick up from. And then the other third would be requests.

Now, what are you working on right now? If you don't mind me asking, are you able to say that? Or if not, that's fine.

And I, and I, this, what am I working on? So the video this week is on, it's going to sound like a lot of jargon to you. I'll try to remove remote flex drive extruder. Okay. Best way says the bid on a 3d printer that grips the plastic to push it through to the heater where it then squirts out. Okay. So you can have that right next to the heater. So it moves around with the rest of the printer, or you can have that remotely with a bit of tube to guide it towards where it gets melted. This system is a hybrid of that, where the bit that grips it is right next to the heater, but then it's driven by a cable remotely. So you get the benefits of it being on the printer, moving around, but without the weight interests covered a system like this before, but, um, this is an alternative one with a new version.

So, um, most of the way through fitting that, um, I've got, I'm actually trying to build up a few. Okay. So one of the worst things about doing YouTube and teaching for two years, um, and doing a video a week, no matter what it is, I haven't actually had a holiday for coming up to four years now. I haven't had a week where I can just sit back and watch TV and play video games and do stuff with my family. So I'm actually trying to prepare a bunch of videos that I can, all that they need is editing over Christmas. So I can have some time with my family. So, um, I've got a project I did, um, or I bought a really cheap bike rack to go on the back of a car to haul push bikes. And I kind of re-introduced the cars from the eighties or early nineties. So I've, re-engineered it and made a bunch of parts and the arts like really nice. I'm really pleased with it. Um, I've done a project recycling laptop, backer batteries into my own custom battery, which is totally a hobby I had no idea existed until recently. So I'm going to make like a beginner's guide to that. Um, I've always got, I've got about half a year of videos on my list at any one time. That's amazing.

I have to come up with them on the spot, man. It's hard.

I didn't always write them down too though. Are kind of floating around in my head. I'm sure there's a few been lost over the years where I've just forgotten about them. Um, like I've, I've got some that have been on the list for like years and years that I, one day I'll get to. So for instance, you know, in arcades you have those CLO machines where you put in the money and then all the soft toys are in there. What I make my own one foot, like, nobody wants this at all. I just want to do a watch. That would be fun.

I love that. That might go viral. Honestly. I don't know. I made my own claw machine. It's like, cool. Yeah.

If I get clickbait enough with the title and thumbnail, then yeah. We might have a chance.

Now, do you do that? Do you try to click bait or do you, do you kind of just try to be very genuine with it?

I would say I'm pretty genuine overall. Like I use like the black outline, the yellow text and arrows pointing to things, but I always actually point to the actual thing in the picture. I like that it's legitimate. I've got this one popular video called like seven prince for your under three. And it's got all the videos and I'm in some now. And like, and like, oh, those cliches, but each arrow actually points to the seven things on the printer.

So You're not bailing anybody. Yeah. Like it looks like clickbait, even if mine looked like clickbait, it's always the actual thing anyway. So yeah, I think I could push a lot further with clickbait than I do, but yeah, I dunno.

Do you want to, and that's a question that everybody I feel like has to, has to kind of consider, like know we want to jump into that market and be that kind of person or not.

I don't, I'm not really because I see my videos is more educational than entertainment. However, there's people in 3d printing that make really entertaining videos. So I don't hold anything against that. It's just not what I want for my channel. Those people, like, I don't watch a lot of 3d printing stuff because it's what I do for a living or, you know, I rely a lot on Patrion forum. They post up upcoming things and stuff in the community that I have no idea about. Um, but there are some channels I watch every video off just because they're really funny and I'm going to be entertained regardless of what the topic of the video is. Yeah. But I'm not, I'm not one of those channels.

Are you a Michael Reeves fan?

Um, Michael Reeves is that I'm going to mix up with a guy that was Superman. Is that Christopher Reeves? Okay. I don't know.

No, no, I don't know. But, uh, no, Michael Reeves is a YouTube where he does a lot of coding stuff. He does a little bit of 3d printing. Most of his stuff is done with the Arduinos and, and like raspberry pies. And, uh, he recently got one of the Boston dynamic, uh, dog robots and like made it funny enough P beer. Like it would just like walk over a cup and then just refill a cup and then walk away. Uh, I would highly recommend it. Michael Reeves is a funny dude and very high, very intelligent dude within like the, the 3d printing and, and, um, what's it called? Uh, coding side of YouTube, but okay.

Um, yeah, you've seen one is named slightly familiar. I've seen like one video,

Um, Hawaiian kid. So he's very noticeable if you see them and you've, you've dealt definitely know him if you've seen him before,

But look up that video. That sounds fun.

Yeah, definitely do it. Um, I think that it, that's it for all of my questions here, dude. And thank you. Thank you so much for, for honestly hopping on here. I do want to ask you some questions afterwards, if that's cool. Um, but, uh, w w at the end of this, um, where can people find you where, where where's everybody going to find you on the internet?

Um, I'm not really on much social media, but obviously my full-time job is YouTube. So my channel is teaching tech. So if, if I'm, I was going to say, if you can't spell it, here's what you type in, but you need to spell it for that. But if you Google teaching tech, my logo is black and white diamond with TT cut out of it. Um, I got a website as well, but unless you're into 3d printing, not very exciting, but that's linked on the about page.

Awesome, man. Well, thank you again for doing this and hopefully we can talk again soon when I figure out how to, uh, actually do 3d printing, you know, and then we'll have some, some dialogue back and forth, you know, instead of me just asking a bunch of questions, but

Anyway, man, thanks for having me.

Thanks for the invitation

Of course, dude.

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