Michael Edwards: Fab Academy 2019

Welcome!

Fab Academy Portfolio

Hello, I'm Michael. You are currently viewing my Fab Academy portfolio site. My six month mission sailing the seas of digital fabrication is detailed here for posterity. Below you'll find the weekly tasks, detailing the weekly projects I have worked on. The numbers in the black header at the top of each page also take you to the different Fab Academy weeks and the blue bar under the header has some navigation links, one of which is an option to find out more about me.

Fab Academy 2019

Weekly Tasks

Week 01: Principles and Practices
Week 02: Project Management
Week 03: Computer-Aided Design
Week 04: Computer Controlled Cutting
Week 05: Electronics Production
Week 06: 3D Scanning and Printing
Week 07: Electronics Design
Week 08: Computer-Controlled Machining
Week 09: Embedded Programming
Week 10: Molding and Casting
Week 11: Input Devices
Week 12: Output Devices
Week 13: Applications and Implications
Week 14: Break
Week 15: Networking and Communications
Week 16: Mechanical Design
Week 17: Interface and Application Programming
Week 18: Machine Design
Week 19: Wildcard Week
Week 20: Invention. IP and Income
Weeks 21+: Finishing Up

My Fab Academy Final Project

What is a Fab Lab and the Fab Academy?

Fab Labs

A fab lab (fabrication laboratory) is a workspace equipped with a selection of tools offering various methods of digital fabrication. The aim is to be able to 'make (almost) anything' (Gershenfeld, 2005). The concept began as an outreach project from MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA), with the first lab opening in India. There is now a network of over 1000 fab labs all around the world.

The fab lab at the University of Brighton (styled as FabLabBTN) has four major machines:

  1. an Epilog Helix laser cutter
  2. a Roland MDX-50 CNC mill
  3. a Roland CAMM-1 GX-24 vinyl cutter
  4. a Creality CR-10 Mini 3D printer
The lab is also equipped with a wide selection of hand tools, some power tools and a soldering station. The lab is based in the Heavy Engineering building at the University of Brighton and fab lab students can arrange access to a plasma cutter, a larger CNC for bigger wood projects, a drill press and various lathes.

While I have listed individual machines here, the fab lab should be considered a machine.

Fab Academy

The Fab Academy program is a fast paced, project-based exploration of making things with the tools in the fab lab. It is how the fab lab network trains instructors. The learning is distributed, as opposed to distance: The tools and processes are introduced in a weekly global lecture (14:00 GMT) delivered centrally (normally by Neil Gershenfeld) and then the local lab provides support and tuition. The rest is self-motivated exploration of the topic for the week. See the list of weekly tasks to get an idea of the schedule. The weekly project assignments are compulsory, but the complexity of the outcome is variable and unprescribed past a certain base level of understanding. This approach leads to a lot of different ideas and outcomes, very different from the nearly identical products of a step-by-step tutorial. It is a learning approach that I really enjoy.

Links

Find out more about the Fab Foundation and the other Fab projects at the Fab Foundation website:
Fab Foundation

Have a look at the current schedule and the student archive:
Fab Academy 2019 Schedule
Fab Academy Archive

References

Offline

  • Gershenfeld, Neil A. (2005). Fab: the coming revolution on your desktop—from personal computers to personal fabrication. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-02745-8.