Design & Digital Fabrication 1F: Digital Gift Making

Design and Digital Fabrication - Digital Gift Making

Make the coolest gifts and decorations for the holidays while learning about science and technology!

Build your own blinking LED ornaments, wreaths, menorahs, lanterns, and other festive designs. Create custom tech gifts that you design and keep. Your creations can become decorations for your home, or gifts for your family and friends.

In this class, students will learn about and apply principles related to industrial design, electronics, and fabrication, and will learn to use industry-standard vector editing software such as Adobe Illustrator to create products that will then be cut using CNC (computer-numerically-controlled) equipment.

We will take part in the design and creation process, learning how to draw in 2D with vector editing software, and employ geometry in order to assemble those 2D parts into press-fit 3D structures. The result will be visually stunning 3-dimensional objects. Fab Lab will laser cut these objects, and we will later build and electrify them in class. Students will be engaged in a hands-on process in order to learn about design and production, as well as employ design software, electronics, and related concepts.

By the end of the class, students will have designed and assembled their own LED-illuminated mini Christmas trees, menorahs, and other ornaments that can become a part of their holiday gift creations. This approach to product design and fabrication will result in a unique, professional-looking illuminated objects that students can take home and display.

While the course is fast-paced, it is a fun and hands-on application of learning, and students will be given context and reference materials as well as personal assistance in class. Components and equipment will be provided in class, and students will keep their products.

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Students will design and assemble 3-dimensional products that they electrify with LED lighting as a final application of learning. Throughout the class, students will learn about principles related to industrial design, electronics, and digital fabrication.

Through this process, participants will learn, at an introductory level, to use industry-standard vector-editing software such as Adobe Illustrator to create products that will then be cut using a plotter.

Students will learn about design, geometry, production, CNC machines, electricity, and unique approaches to product design and creation while engaging in an innovative project-based process as they make their own contemporary illuminated objects.

The course will take students through observation, documentation, investigation, and research of given topics.
Through guided exercises, the students will develop unique vector graphics that can then be turned into tool paths and cut on CNC machines to create the final pieces used to assemble the illuminated object.

The class is geared toward middle and high school students. While this class is fast-paced, it is designed to be accessible and enjoyable for newcomers to these topics, and we will review necessary fundamentals of graphic design, electronics, and production.

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This course is taught using classroom and lab instruction employing lecture/demonstration, in-class exercises, student participation, and class activities leading to a final project. Classes will include introductory concept presentations, followed by in-class exercises. The first couple of sessions will be more fundamental (2d/3d process, tools, etc), but will subsequently expand to cover necessary knowledge for complex shape-making and branding. Throughout, there will also be handouts and brief presentations on relevant concepts, including basic design, vector editing software, and electronics.