Fab Academy

"The Academy of how to make (almost) anything"

Fab Academy is an intensive six month program that teaches students to design, prototype and invent almost anything using digital fabrication tools and machines.

The course is directed by Neil Gershenfeld from MIT’s Center For Bits and Atoms and based on MIT’s rapid prototyping course: How to Make (Almost) Anything. Since 2001, they have been at the cutting edge of the global maker movement; enabling innovation and democratising the use of digital fabrication technology through the growing network of Fab Labs around the world.

“Digital fabrication consists of much more than 3-d printing. It is an evolving suite of capabilities to turn data into things and things into data. Many years of research remain to complete this vision, but the revolution is already well under way.” Neil Gershenfeld

The Fab Academy brings together a multi-disciplinary and hands-on learning experience that can be taken in any number of participating Fab Labs around the world. At it’s core, Fab Academy empowers students to learn by doing, inspires them to make stuff locally, and to become active participants in sustainable cities and communities.



Digital Fabrication Skills

  1. WEEK 1 - Principles and Practices:
    - Explore and use website development tools.
    - Identify and utilise version control protocols.
  2. WEEK 2 - Computer Aided Design:
    - Evaluate and select 2D and 3D software
    - Demonstrate and describe processes used in modelling with 2D and 3D software.
  3. WEEK 3 - Computer-Controlled Cutting:
    - Demonstrate and describe parametric 3D modelling processes.
    - Identify and explain processes involved in using the laser cutter.
    - Develop, evaluate and construct the parametric pressfit toy.
    - Identify and explain processes involved in using the vinyl cutter.
  4. WEEK 4 - Electronics Production:
    - Described the process of PCB milling, stuffing, de-bugging and programming.
    - Demonstrate correct workflows for electronics production.
  5. WEEK 5 - 3D Scanning and Printing:
    - Identify the advantages and limitations of 3D printing.
    - Apply design methods and production processes to show your understanding of 3D printing.
    - Demonstrate how 3D scanning technology can be used to digitize object(s).
  6. Week 6 - Electronics Design:
    - Select and use software to design PCB circuit bords.
    - Demonstrate workflows used in circuit board design.
    - Design, mill and solder a circuit bord for a microcontroller.
  7. Week 7 - Computer Controlled Machining:
    - Make (design+mill+assemble) something big.
    - Demonstrate 2D design development for CNC production.
    - Describe workflows for CNC production.
  8. Week 8 - Embedded Programming:
    - Read the datasheet for the microcontroller you are programming.
    - Identify relevant information in a microcontroller datasheet.
    - Implement programming protocols, to control the board.
    - Program the board you have made to do something, with as many different programming languages and programming environments as possible.
  9. Week 9 - Input Devices:
    - Measure something: add a sensor to a microcontroller board that you have designed and read it.
    - Demonstrate workflows used in sensing something with input device(s) and MCU board.
    - Use diferent type of sensors and monitor information through a serial port.
  10. Week 10 - Digital Fabrication Aplications and Implications:
    - Define the scope of your personal project.
    - Develop a project plan for the project.
  11. Week 11 - Output Devices:
    - Add an output device to a microcontroller board you've designed and program it to do something
    - Make analogue and digital inputs to interacto with different outputs.
    - Demonstrate workflows used in controlling an output device(s) with MCU board you have designed.
  12. Week 12 - Interface and Application Programming:
    - Write an application that interfaces a user with an input and/or output device that you made.
    - Interpret and implement design and programming protocols to create a Graphic User Interface (GUI).
  13. Week 13 - Invention, Intelectual property and Income:
    - Develop a plan for dissemination of your final project.
    - Define a licence mode for your project.
    - Formulate future opportunities
  14. Week 14 - Embeded Networking and Communications:
    - Send a message between two projects.
    - Design, build, and connect wired or wireless node(s) with network or bus addresses.
    - Demonstrate workflows used in network design.
    - Implement and interpret networking protocols and/or communication protocols.
  15. Week 15 - Molding and Casting:
    - Design appropriate objects within the limitations of 3 axis machining
    - Demonstrate workflows used in mould design, construction and casting
  16. Week 16 - Wild Card Week: The CNC by the sea!
    - Connect to the CNC from home and paint in sand.
    - Use GCODE to command the CNC to clean and paint.
    - Convert SVG files to GCODE, and clean the GCODE before applying it.
  17. Week 17 - Final Project 
    - Compilation of the documentation of the FabAcademy assignments I have used to develope my project.

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