Go at your own pace
4 Sessions / 10 hours of work per session
Premium membership $20/month (Preview session 1 free)
Included w/ premium membership ($20/month)
Skill Level
Video Transcripts
Autodesk, Digital Fabrication, 2D design, 3D design, Technical Design, Autodesk Slicer

Not available for purchase in India

Starts Apr 3, 2018

Introduction to Digital Fabrication and Technical Design

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Go at your own pace
4 Sessions / 10 hours of work per session
Premium membership $20/month (Preview session 1 free)
Included w/ premium membership ($20/month)
Skill Level
Video Transcripts
Autodesk, Digital Fabrication, 2D design, 3D design, Technical Design, Autodesk Slicer

Not available for purchase in India

Course Description

Michael Darling—veteran maker and CalArts faculty member known for fabrication and technical design in theater, TV, film, and themed entertainment—teaches the first course of our three-part program DigiFab: Introduction to Digital Fabrication. This course will survey the basic history and techniques of digital fabrication - diving into the systems themselves as well as real world utilization. We’ll examine systems of measurement, considerations for hardware and material choices, and specific machine workflows. We’ll also get hands on with fabricating in Autodesk Slicer for Fusion 360 to provide insight on larger scale assembly, as well as how to prep for working with vendors, maker spaces, and print services.


This course is in adaptive mode and starts Apr 3, 2018. Learn more about adaptive courses here.

Session 1: What Is DigiFab?
How do we integrate digital fabrication into our workflow? This session uses history and industry examples to survey the basics of digital fabrication.
9 lessons
1. Welcome and Overview
2. What is Digital Fabrication?
3. Intro to DigiFab Processes
4. What is CAD?
5. Basic Machines - Vinyl Cutter, Laser, and CNC Router
6. Intro: Waterjet
7. Intro: CNC Plasma Torch
8. How a 3D Printer Works (Premium Exclusive)
9. How is This Stuff Being Used? (Premium Exclusive)
Session 2: Pre-Fabricating: Measurement & Hardware
How do you design the impossible? This session will discuss the basics of systems of measurement, hardware, and adhesives.
12 lessons
1. Predesign - Measuring (Premium Exclusive)
2. Measuring for the Mind's Eye: Standard (Premium Exclusive)
3. Measuring for the Mind's Eye: Metric (Premium Exclusive)
4. Conversion (Premium Exclusive)
5. What's That Tool Called? (Premium Exclusive)
6. Let's Talk Hardware (Premium Exclusive)
7. Commonly Used Hardware (Premium Exclusive)
8. Washers (Premium Exclusive)
9. Awe Nuts!!!!! (Premium Exclusive)
10. Hardware Nomenclature (Premium Exclusive)
11. Adhesives (Premium Exclusive)
12. Using Adhesives as Fixtures (Premium Exclusive)
Session 3: Materials for Fabrication
This session will examine optimal materials and key considerations for specific machine workflows.
9 lessons
1. The Building Blocks of Digital Fabrication - Materials (Premium Exclusive)
2. First Up: The Hardwoods - Now Off to the Lumber Yard with You (Premium Exclusive)
3. Engineered Wood Products (Premium Exclusive)
4. Sheet Goods: Lumping Togetherness (Premium Exclusive)
5. Paper: Look at this Chair I Made (Premium Exclusive)
6. Plastics Plastics Plastics (Premium Exclusive)
7. Metals (Premium Exclusive)
8. Ponoko for Example (Premium Exclusive)
9. Benefits of Using a Print Service (Premium Exclusive)
Session 4: 2D Joinery Techniques
This session we will be using Autodesk Slicer to make our first fabrication, and will provide insight on larger scale assembly.
10 lessons
1. How Things Go Together (Premium Exclusive)
2. Cutting from the Top (Premium Exclusive)
3. Tolerances for More Than Just a Second (Premium Exclusive)
4. Engineer Success into Your Design (Premium Exclusive)
5. Stack Lamination (Premium Exclusive)
6. Design Strategies (Premium Exclusive)
7. Design Considerations for CNC Router and Mill (Premium Exclusive)
8. Messing Around with Autodesk Slicer: Stack Lamination (Premium Exclusive)
9. Messing Around with Autodesk Slicer: Other Construction (Premium Exclusive)
10. Where I Go to Get Ideas and 3D Models (Premium Exclusive)
Learning Outcomes

Below you will find an overview of the Learning Outcomes you will achieve as you complete this course.

Instructors And Guests
What You Need to Take This Course
  • Software:
    • Autodesk Slicer ( Free)
    • Autodesk Fusion 360 (Free)
      • Students should download Fusion 360 via a free, 3-year educational license, from this page.
    • Autodesk Meshmixer (Free)
    • Adobe Illustrator
    • *You will need administrator privileges on your computer in order to download software.
    • *You will be required to sign up for an Autodesk account in order to download software.
  • Equipment:
    • Access to paper printer
    • Digital caliper
    • Exacto knife
    • This class will be using a print service to make our projects, but if you have any DigiFab equipment at your disposal (a makerspace or collage fablab) you will be able to explore deeper.
  • Materials
    • Cardboard
    • Repositionable spray adhesive
Additional Information

If a student signs up for the Introduction to Digital Fabrication program, it is recommended that these courses are taken sequentially.

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