Inside ROBRADY: An Interview with Ryan Donahue
Q. What fascinates you in building prototypes?
The most fascinating part of building prototypes is that the nature of our work forces us to research, explore, experiment, learn, and develop innovative models day in and day out. Just as products are redesigned and developed so are the materials and processes used in the fabrication. There is very little mundane or repetitive when creating the variety of prototypes found in the concepts developed in the ROBRADY Prototype Lab.
Q. What’s your favorite material to work in?
That’s a tough one; I have always had a passion for woodworking, but enjoy working with any material that allows forgiveness; wood, plastics, and modeling boards. All of these materials can be utilized in an additive or subtractive process during modeling. I also enjoy the material that is unknown, or new to me; using unknown materials allows the team to explore, learn, and recognize applications where something new and different can be introduced.
Q. What’s a typical designer’s toolkit for you?
This varies depending on the project and could be as small and simple as Exacto blades, 5 minute epoxy, a Dremel and bits, or a variety of drawing tools; rulers, guides, compass, protractor and templates. Other times we work with tools as large as a table saw, Mig welder, or Bridgeport mill. Occasionally projects require us to create custom tools, if I had to limit myself to one tool; it would have to be a good sanding block.
Q. What do you carry around and can’t live without?
Q. How did you discover you had a talent in design?
I dropped out of the University of Washington School of Business, and enrolled in the School of Art. During my second semester of pre-requisites my 3-D Design professor told me I was a natural for Industrial Design. At the time I didn’t even know what Industrial Design was, the more I learned the more I enjoyed the experience of product development.
Ryan Donahue is a Sarasota native and Graduate from the University of Washington, with a BFA in Industrial Design. He has been working in the Design industry for 8+ years. When Ryan's not working you can find him fishing, running, snow skiing, and/or just about anything outdoors.