Course Type
Course Area
Enrollment Code
Elings Hall 2003
Day and Time
T/R 10-11:50am
Course Description

This course is concurrently offered with "MAT 238: Compfab" in the Media Arts & Technology program

The increase in diversity and functionality of digital fabrication technologies has provided new ways to transition between the digital and physical realms. Computational fabrication— a particularly powerful application of digital fabrication— combines computer programming with digital fabrication. Computational fabrication enables people to design digital forms by writing code and then construct these forms, at least partially, via fabrication machines, like 3D printers and computer-numerical-controlled (CNC) machines. In this course, students will explore tools, workflows, representations, and applications of computational fabrication. Students will be instructed in the use of computer-aided design software tools and programming languages aimed at the design of physical artifacts. The course also will cover the process of converting digital designs to physical form through computer-aided machining (CAM) for different forms of additive and subtractive CNC machines. To the extent possible, students will design and create functional physical objects and devices. In the process, the class will critically evaluate the opportunities and limitations of standard computational fabrication technologies with respect to mass manufacturing and traditional craft. Technical instruction will be complemented by readings about computational design, making, and manufacturing.

Course Goals: 

  • Provide practical experience in computational design software and methods, including procedural and parametric CAD, generative geometry, optimization and discretization, and data-driven design.
  • Provide direct experience with additive fabrication (3D printing).
  • Provide an introduction to CAM for subtractive CNC machine operation.
  • Provide opportunities to design and fabricate functional and aesthetic physical artifacts.
  • Survey trends in research in the interrelated fields of human-computer interaction (HCI), digital fabrication, and computational design.