Fab Academy

How to make (almost) anything.

Fab Academy is a Digital Fabrication programme directed by Neil Gershenfeld of MIT’s Center For Bits and Atoms and based on MIT’s rapid prototyping course, MAS 863: How to Make (Almost) Anything. Fab Academy is a project-based learning experience that takes place every year.

At Fab Lab Wgtn, we create a collaborative learning environment in which students are self-directed and highly involved in peer-to-peer learning. The benefit of being situated within the School of Design at Massey is that the focus on design thinking and iterative processes runs throughout the programme. Working alongside people with a diverse range of creative practices, you will develop your ideas in an Open Design ecosystem with accessible tools and processes that encourage deep learning and experimentation.

How does it work?

Engagement with Fab Academy provides familiarity with technical options and capabilities, hands-on experience, and direction for further study. Each week requires, and is evaluated through, developing and documenting projects. These projects are updated regularly to reflect emerging and best practices. Progress is evaluated by skills and projects rather than time or credits. During this programme, students learn how to envision, prototype and document their projects and ideas through hands-on experience with digital fabrication tools, taking a variety of code formats and turning them into physical objects. Every week, students are taught a new digital fabrication practice, and are expected to complete an assignment in this time. Students document their progress on their Fab Academy student websites, and share their experiences at a weekly regional review with peers and Instructors from other Labs as well as their own.

Throughout the programme, students plan and develop their Final Project, which combines 3 or more digital fabrication practices, including electronics design. At the end of the programme, there is a global review of all the projects where students share the final result of the work.

Attending class at 2am

What do students get?

The diploma combines a number of modules, each focussed on a particular technique and associated capabilities through hands-on experience, covering the areas of:

  • Digital fabrication principles and practices
  • Computer-aided design, manufacturing, and modeling
  • Computer-controlled cutting and machining
  • Electronics design and production
  • Embedded programming
  • 3D moulding and casting
  • 3D scanning and printing
  • Sensors, actuators, and displays
  • Interface and application programming
  • Embedded networking and communications
  • Machine design
  • Digital fabrication applications and implications
  • Invention, intellectual property, and business models
  • Digital fabrication project development

Learn more about Fab Academy.

Prerequisites

No prior experience in design, production or electronics required. Required attributes are: a positive attitude, a willingness to experiment and work collaboratively, adaptability and a sense of adventure.

Costs and timing

Fees are paid to Fab Academy: 5000 EU 5 months part-time or full-time (flexible depending on student’s commitment - the more time you put in, the more you get out of the program) 50% of fees are paid to Fab Lab Wgtn for student materials, machine usage, staff time, and the infinite amount of tea that is consumed in 5 months

Supernode

We are a supernode, meaning that our experience qualifies us to remotely supervise students in less experienced Labs in the Pacific region/nearby time-zones. If your local Fab Lab is looking for a Supernode to work with, please contact coordination@fabacademy.org

Previous Students

Anna Aflalo

Ben Matthes

Craig Hobern

Daniel Harmsworth

Geoffrey Desborough

Jasmin Cheng

Ki Fredeen