Memes of Production
1 credit DRG
Computer-Numerically Controlled tools have been around for more than half a century, but have only recently been taken up by users not considered professional technicians. CAD tools as a commodity and the popularization of 3D printers in particular have led to new groups of users participating in digital fabrication. In this reading group, we will explore contemporary practices of digital fabrication, the prototype-production spectrum, end-user fabrication tools, distributed production, open source hardware, and related topics. In our analysis we will draw from Science and Technology Studies methodology to delineate between the promises and practices described in the readings.
While this reading group is mainly focused on fabrication research, we will also include related readings from computer-supported cooperative work, online communities, computer graphics, and media studies. We might also sometimes read field bus specifications or other technical documentation.
After the first week, students will be expected to lead discussions on the readings. We will produce annotated bibliographies to help contextualize fabrication research and ground our own design and engineering practices. Students who are not prepared to complete the readings, lead discussions, and produce their own bibliographies should not apply. The schedule will have one hour of discussion plus two hours of assigned reading a week.
To apply, send a CV + two suggested readings + preferred meeting times to Prof. Nadya Peek at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enrollment is by permission of instructor.
Fabricatable machines: rapid prototyping of rapid prototyping machines
This fall and winter we will be exploring machine making. Digital fabrication tools such as 3D printers or desktop mills are becoming more accessible. Can we use these digital fabrication tools to make our own custom versions? We will be building machines using open-source repositories such as the cardboard machine kit or fabricatable machines to rapidly prototype digital fabrication machines using digital fabrication machines.
We will spend time on parametric design in Grasshopper and Fusion, machine building methods with laser cutters and CNC mills, machine control using GRBL and PyGestalt, and interface design.
This DRG requires experience running digital fabrication equipment including CNC mills and laser cutters, experience with motor control and G-code, experience with CAD software such as Rhino, Solidworks or Fusion, and basic Python or bash scripting. Ideally students are already safety trained for the CoMotion maker space including Shopbot training.
Register for 2 credits for winter quarter.
How to apply
Email professor Nadya Peek at email@example.com confirming you meet the experience and availability requirements and include a few examples of relevant prior work.