Welcome to Behind the Designs, where we’ll be featuring the people behind the awesome designs you see in the gallery and introduce you to other designers who are turning their ideas into reality with Fusion 360. To start the series, we’re going to introduce you to Gus Petrikas – he’s the guy that designed the watch that’s on the Fusion site, the cool concept bike, and most recently the modern-day turn table. Read on…
Fusion 360: Tell us about yourself:
Gus: “My name is Gus - my full name is Mindaugas, but nobody can pronounce that, so I go by Gus! At the moment, I work at a bicycle shop, providing people with the joy of riding and when I’m available – me and my colleague created a company, Surfake, that does 3D renderings, modeling, 3D scanning.
Fusion 360: How did your new company, Surfake, come about?
Gus: “It’s a funny story! Me and my colleague, Martin, have been buddies for almost 10 years now. We studied in the same University and then both moved to London. We’ve always been competitive. He was using Maya, and I was using 3DS Max. One day we were having coffee, and thought, “Why don’t we combine our forces into something cool? Our hobbies are modeling and designing, so we thought we should get some money out of it. We started thinking about our company and what it should be, then in December we created a website, registered it in the UK, and here we are!”
Fusion 360: Have you been able to quit your day job yet and work 100% on your business?
Gus: “I still keep my day job, so I still have to build bicycles for people, but it’s okay because I love bicycles. We’ve been really busy, but I don’t quite have the courage to quit my day job completely. We do get a lot of orders, but we’re trying to postpone them as much as possible. I could do it all right now, and we’d be busy for 3 months, but I don’t know what would happen after those 3 months. We’re playing it safe at this point”
Fusion 360: What tips would you give to someone who’s looking to turn his or her hobby into a business?
Gus: “First of all, don’t rush! Take it easy. Take it slowly. What we did was run our website, and we didn’t put any thought into it. After a few months, it started crashing, and all of the problems started to appear. We didn’t have time to fix it, as we were so busy with the orders that were coming in. Do it slowly, because if you’re in a rush, nothing works and everything starts to fall apart, and then it’s just one big headache!”
“Next, is that I think every single person that starts a business needs to know that you’re going to have to sacrifice your sleep. I haven’t been able to sleep much the past few months. It’s just how it is. Be prepared”
Fusion 360: Who is your favorite designer or teacher?
Gus: “Dieter Rams, is absolutely God to me. I’ve been reading his biography and learning from his designs, trying to absorb as much information as possible about him, how he works, and what his influences are. Without him ever knowing that I’m his student, he’s my mentor that I look up to. I just need to Google his name and see his designs, and that absolutely inspires me to create something of my own.”
Fusion 360: When designing, what’s the one thing you cannot live without?
Gus: “I can’t live without music – I’m an absolute addict. My favorite artist is Bonobo, who is quite popular in the UK. It’s just beautiful music that keeps you going without any distraction at all. It keeps me going all night long”
“And biscuits. I need to have music and biscuits. It might sound silly, but it’s really hard for me to work without munching on something, especially when I’m working long nights, I just have to have some biscuits and some milk and tea to keep me awake!”
Fusion 360: How will you define success for yourself?
Gus: “That is a really difficult one. I will feel successful when someone on the street sees me and comes right next to me and pats me on the back saying, “You did a really great job on that. Congratulations!” It might sound cheesy, but that’s what keeps me going.”
Fusion 360: When do you know when a design is done?
Gus: “To be honest, never. I always find minor details that I want to tweak. I don’t think any of my designs are ready to go. It’s really hard to be fully satisfied with your design. Everything around me gives me feedback and input. I’m always re-thinking everything.”
Fusion 360: What tips would you give others using Fusion?
Gus: “Don’t be afraid to experiment with shapes. Even if you don’t have an idea, just turn on Fusion 360 and start playing with the shapes. Start dragging edges, adding sharp corners, and creasing edges. That might inspire you to use that shape, or even create something useful in the real world - anything from a bike saddle to a phone.”
Got a question for Gus? Reach out to him on Twitter: @MPetrikas
If you would like to be featured in a Behind the Designs Q&A, email firstname.lastname@example.org.