Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify and utilise version control protocols.
  • Evaluate and select 2D and 3D software.
  • Demonstrate and describe the processes used in modelling with 2D and 3D software.
  • Demonstrate and describe parametric 2D modelling processes.
  • Identify and explain the processes involved in using the laser cutter.
  • Develop, evaluate and construct the final prototype.
  • Described the process of milling, stuffing, de-bugging and programming in electronics production.
  • Apply design methods and production processes in 3D printing and 3D scanning to show their understanding of the topic.

Credits: 6

Schedule: 12.01.2022 - 24.02.2022

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Matti Niinimäki, Krisjanis Rijnieks

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

Please contact Krisjanis Rijnieks if you have any questions about the course.

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    This course is one of three Digital Fabrication courses offered by Aalto Media Lab and Aalto Fab Lab. These courses runs parallel to the global Fab Academy lectures and follow the same distributed educational model.

    This first course in the series introduces the essential skills and knowledge in digital fabrication with a focus on creating prototypes, products, and machines that include embedded electronics.

    During the courses, students will learn a full stack of prototyping skills ranging from web development and version control to CAD modelling and electronics production. In-depth understanding of how the machines work and their limitations will lead to better digital design strategies for manufacturing which can reduce project time in the case of teamwork. The Digital Fabrication courses also introduce the Fab Lab as a playground for digital fabrication where there is everything you need for rapid prototyping set up in a way to reduce the duration of feedback loops.

    More details on the course content can be found in the course syllabus for each implementation of the course.

  • applies in this implementation

    It is very important that you follow the course and do the assignments on time starting from the first week. It is recommended not to combine the course with anything else. It is not just the lectures, but also the time you spend on independent work. 

    Create a GitLab account before the course starts and take a look at the Fab Web Basics videos on Aalto Fablab YouTube channel to familiarize yourself with the topics that we will cover during the first weeks of the course.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The course consists of lectures, hands-on examples, and weekly assignments.

    Evaluation of the course is based on the official Fab Academy evaluation criteria. Most of the weekly assignments and the final project have to be completed and well documented in order to pass the course.

    More details on the assessment methods and criteria can be found in the course syllabus for each implementation of the course.

  • applies in this implementation

    Evaluation is based on the official Fab Academy evaluation criteria. Each assignment week has to be documented and made available via a website that is published using GitLab CI tools. How it is done will be covered in the first weeks of the course.

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    6 ECTS

    • 160 hours total
    • Contact teaching: 42 hours
    • Independent work: 118 hours

    Attendance to lectures is compulsory. Minimum attendance 80%.

    More details on the workload can be found in the course syllabus for each implementation of the course.

  • applies in this implementation

    You are expected to work independently and use the Fab Lab as much as possible to complete your weekly assignments. This is a full-time course. It is not recommended to combine it with other courses.


Study Material
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    • Gershenfeld, Neil A., Alan Gershenfeld, and Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld. Designing Reality: How to Survive and Thrive in the Third Digital Revolution. New York: Basic Books, 2017.
    • Chacon, Scott and Ben Straub. Pro Git.
    • Redwood, Ben, Filemon Schöffer, and Brian Garret. The 3D Printing Handbook: Technologies, Design and Applications. Amsterdam: 3D Hubs B.V., 2017.
    • Fab Academy website:

    Other materials will be provided during the course.

  • applies in this implementation

    You will mostly use video tutorials and how-to guides that are provided by Aalto Fablab or available on the internet. Aalto Fablab staff is going to be there to help you to understand how the machines work, but you are expected to learn to use them independently.

Substitutes for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

    10 Reduced Inequality

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    All Digital Fabrication courses from the New Media study programme are committed to the following Sustainable Development Goals:

    Industry, Innovation and Infrastucture

    The Fab Academy course consists of 21 weeks that cover topics related to the state-of-the-art practices used in the digital (fabrication) industry as well as contributes to innovation and infrastructure. With the skill set acquired during the course one can catch up with jobs in the industry, invent her own job or contribute to the infrastructure with exceptionally innovative solutions and services.

    Reduced Inequalities

    The course focuses on skills and workflows that are accessible and affordable. Use of open source and free software is encouraged to reduce the proffessional dependencies on commercial proprietary tools. Fab Academy aims to foster understanding about how things work in order to be able to build things instead of being forced to buy them.

    Responsible Consumption and Production

    Digital fabrication as such is a process where most of the work happens digitally in the computer. Virtual models are being made and fabrication tools are used to test a design at the end of a development iteration. Using biodegradable and recycleable materials is encouraged as well as choosing the right materials for a design to reduce enviromental impact during and after its life cycle. Students are also encouraged to critically evaluate the environmental impact and other problems of the so-called maker culture and digital fabrication processes themselves.

    Teaching Period:

    2020-2021 Spring III

    2021-2022 Spring III

    Course Homepage:

    Registration for Courses: Sisu replaces Oodi on 9 August, 2021. Priority order to courses is according to the order of priority decided by the Academic committee for School of Arts, Design and Architecture:

    In Weboodi, at the latest one week before the course starts.

    Maximum 12 students.

    Students must meet all prerequisites and have the course in their approved study plan. Priority will be given to fulltime MA in New Media students as this course is an integral part of their alternative studies.

  • applies in this implementation

    Make sure you join the Digital Fabrication Studio DOM-E515801 along with this course.

Details on the schedule
  • applies in this implementation

    Every week there will be 2 lectures. A global lecture on Wednesday and local lecture on Thursday. The rest of the time you are expected to use the Aalto Fablab to complete your assignments.

    Global lecture. The Digital Fabrication courses run in parallel with the Fab Academy which is curated by Neil Gershenfeld from MIT in Boston, USA. He will hold a global lecture every week on Wednesdays.

    Local lecture. Every Thursday we will have a local lecture where we will cover specific details on how you can use Aalto Fablab to complete your assignment and also follow up on the work from the previous weeks.