Topic outline

  • Welcome to Digital Fabrication Studio!

    This course covers 3/3 of the topics from Fab Academy and includes final project development.

    As said on the Fab Academy website: "The Fab Academy is a fast-paced, hands-on learning experience where students learn rapid prototyping by planning and executing a new project each week, resulting in a personal portfolio of technical accomplishments."

    Each week consists of the following.

    • Global lecture
    • Local lecture
    • Assignment

    Global lectures

    Global lectures use Eastern Standard Time (think New York time) and are happening on Wednesdays 9:00 EST which at the beginning of the course is 16:00 Helsinki time. Use tools such as the 24 Time Zones to double-check. You can find the Zoom link at the bottom of the page.

    Local lectures

    Thursdays 13:15 online, hybridrid or local mode depending on the topic. Please find the Zoom link below. Hybrid mode means that you can join the lecture physically at the Aalto Fablab and via Zoom. Locally means you should be present at the Fablab.


    Each topic has a basic set of skills that you will need to accomplish your assignment. Each week's page contains a list of resources you can use to learn the basics.

    Sometimes the videos and tutorials do not explain everything. This is why you are encouraged to spend time at the lab, experiment on your own and ask instructors for guidance.

    Human resources are precious. Whenever possible, try robots first. Search engines are your friends in this course. A course like this would not be possible without the internet. ChatGPT? Why not. Use it!


    Use the attendance sheet to mark your participation in the lectures. You can find the attendance sheet at the bottom of this page. You are required to participate in 80% of the lectures to be able to pass the course.

    Independent work

    Lectures are there to guide you, but you are responsible for allocating enough time to complete the assignments yourself. Starting from week 05 (Computer-Controlled Cutting), you are supposed to plan your work to be able to spend time at the Aalto Fablab. That means being there not only during the lectures but whenever possible to complete your assignments. Start early and add buffer time to accommodate failed attempts.

    The course is a full-time effort. It is recommended not to combine it with other courses. You will fail, and you will need time to recover. Keeping up with documentation takes time. It is in your best interest to make a good-looking portfolio of accomplishments as a result.

    Individual Tutoring

    Time is precious for everyone. In the case you need one-to-one guidance from the teacher, please schedule a meeting using the booking system (link below). Tuesdays are open days (please schedule anyway) and best suited for personal guidance at the Fablab. Other days are possible too, but depend on other things going on. Please schedule your session as in that way we can avoid a group of people hoping for a chance to get help at once and resulting in no one really getting it.

    Machine booking

    Machines are pre-booked for the course participants for the specific weeks covering them. For example, vinyl cutter and laser cutter are booked for course participants during week 5 (Computer-Controlled Cutting), and the machines are expected to be used on a first-come, first-served basis, except when we are doing introductions. Introductions will happen on Thursdays and Fridays. Check the assignment pages to find links to specific booking options.

    Outside the weeks covering a specific topic, you need to book the machines using the methods provided by Aalto Fablab. You can find the latest information about booking machines on the Aalto Fablab website.


    Every week you are supposed to do independent work and document it to complete an assignment. The first weeks of the course are the time when you learn the tools and the flow for documenting your assignments.

    You can find the assignments in each of the weekly topic sections. Since you will be using GitLab to document your work, you must submit a link to a page on your website covering a specific topic.


    Your work is going to be evaluated based on the documentation you produce. Invest time and energy during the first weeks of the course to master the flow of documenting on the go. Do not leave documentation to the very last minute of the course.

    Grading is based on the following criteria.

    1: The assignment has been submitted, and a page about the topic has been created.

    2: Basic concepts of the assignment week are described, but not all of the requirements are met.

    3: Minimum viable requirements of the assignment are met.

    4: Creativity in the execution of the assignment can be seen. The topic has been explored beyond basic concepts.

    5: The result is creative and technically impressive, and the documentation page itself can be used as a resource by someone else. 

    Refer to the official Fab Academy Assessment Guide to learn more about what is expected for each assignment. This is a documentation website you should be aiming for: Fab Academy by Nadieh Bremer.

    • url icon
      Zoom link for local lectures URL
      Not available unless any of:
      • You are a(n) Student
      • You are a(n) Teacher

      Passcode: DFAB2023

    • url icon
      Zoom link for global lectures URL
      Not available unless any of:
      • You are a(n) Student
      • You are a(n) Teacher

      Use password 1234

    • url icon
      List of Student Pages URL
      Not available unless any of:
      • You are a(n) Teacher
      • You are a(n) Student

      You can find the full list of student documentation repositories and websites here.

    • url icon
      Realtime communication URL
      Not available unless any of:
      • You are a(n) Teacher
      • You are a(n) Student

      Use this link to access the class real-time communication Telegram group.

    • url icon
      Book individual tutoring URL
      Not available unless any of:
      • You are a(n) Teacher
      • You are a(n) Student

      Tuesdays are open tutoring days. Please use this link to book a time slot with the teacher.

    • url icon
      File sharing URL
      Not available unless any of:
      • You are a(n) Teacher
      • You are a(n) Student

      Use this shared folder to access instruction videos and share files with your peers.

  • This week you will learn how to establish communication between two or more PCBs that you made. The recommended route this year is to use one of the wireless capable XIAO boards, such as the XIAO ESP32C or XIAO nRF52840.


    Wed 26 Apr, 16:00 (online, global)
    Networking and Communications by prof. Neil Gershenfeld.

    Thu 27 Apr, 13:15 (online, hybrid)
    Introduction to Networking and Communications.

  • This week is about building a computer program with an user interface to communicate (think serial communication) with a board that you made.


    Wed 03 May, 16:00 (online, global)
    Interface and Application Programming by prof. Neil Gershenfeld.

    Thu 04 May, 13:15 (online, hybrid)
    Introduction to Interface and Application Programming.

  • Welcome to the Wildcard Week!

    This week you will explore a digital fabrication method beyond the capability of a basic fab lab. Check options below.


    Wed 10 May, 16:00 (online, global)
    Interface and Application Programming by prof. Neil Gershenfeld.

    Thu 11 May, 13:15 (online, hybrid)
    No lecture, you start working on your assignment as soon as possible.

    As for the task of the assignment - you need to create a digital design that then is being manufactured using one of the available machining technologies.

    Available options:

  • This week we will work towards finalizing the production plan of your final project. The path towards final project completion should be clear at this point. After this you should work on your final project until it is ready.


    Wed 17 May, 16:00 (online, global)
    Applications and Implications by prof. Neil Gershenfeld (online, global).

    Thu 18 May, 13:15 (holiday)
    We continue next week 24 May.

  • This week you have to gain a basic understanding about licensing and copyright. You should update your documentation page with a copyright notice and prepare for final project presentation.


    Wed 24 May, 16:00 (online, global)
    Invention, IP and Income by prof. Neil Gershenfeld (online, global).

    Thu 25 May, 13:15 (online, hybrid)
    Introduction to Invention, IP and Income at the Aalto Fablab (hybrid, local)

  • This week we focus on final project development. Lectures are optional, but we will do a lot of troubleshooting.


    Wed 31 May, 16:00 (online, global)
    Molding and Casting by prof. Neil Gershenfeld. 

    Thu 1 Jun, 13:15 (onsite)
    Open time. Troubleshooting.

  • This week you should be able to present your final project. That includes having a final project page on your documentation website and a one minute long video showcasing your final project. You will have two weeks from this point to finish any of the missing assignments and fix issues with the final project.

    Best projects will be chosen to participate in the Digital Fabrication Showcase exhibition in November this year. The venue is Väre main lobby. You will have time and lab access after the summer break to fine-tune your project and make it exhibition-safe. 

    For successful operation you need two files present on your documentation website:

    1. presentation.png

    2. presentation.mp4

    The first one (presentation.png) is your final project slide. It needs to be 1920x1080 px in dimensions. The second one (presentation.mp4) is your final project video. It has to be roughly 1 minute long, 1920x1080 px in dimensions and with roughly 10MB file size.

    The files should be on the root of your website, meaning that they should be visible when one enters an address that matches the pattern below in the address bar of the browser.



    Wed 7 Jun, 16:00 (online, global)
    Fab Academy final project presentations (online, global).

    Thu 8 Jun, 13:15 (onsite)
    Digital Fabrication Studio final project presentations (hybrid, local).

    Cat astral