Youth With Disabilities – San Diego Futures Foundation

From March 31st to April 18th 2014, Fab Lab San Diego worked with the San Diego Futures Foundation on a Youth with Disabilities training and educational program to introduce young adults with different degrees of disabilities to digital design and fabrication, CNC machine operation, and 3D printing.

Students learned about 2D vector design by working with popular open source vector editing software Inkscape. They learned how to create graphics and lettering, and export them as toolpaths to be printed on a CNC vinyl cutter. With Instructor Bea Alvarez they work on several projects including memorable quotes posters, and created graphic posters with graphics of their choice. By using a simple CNC (computer numerically controlled) machine, students are able to learn the fundamentals of workflow and how to prepare files for digital fabrication and how to apply vinyl using professional tools.

After learning about designing vector graphics in 2-dimensional software, we advance to thinking and designing in 3D. We began by introducing the platonic solids, polyhedra that Plato introduced as the make-up of the classical solids. These geometric shapes are useful for introducing the basics of modeling and explaining how to transition from thinking in two dimensions to three. Next, students were given the opportunity to work with flat pack characters, and using templates to design their own.

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The class was also exposed to 3D printing and given a demonstration on how the printers work by a local 3D printer designer and developer, FabLab manager and instructor, Allen McAfee. Throughout the class, the students saw a 3D printer in operation and work on basic level of 3D modeling by learning how to design with Tinkercad.

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