Digital Fabrication Translation
|University of Baltimore
|Advanced, Freshman, Graduate, Junior, Non-design Majors, Senior, Sophomore, Undergraduate
|Design Methods, Experience Design, Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Motion, Packaging, Product Design, Visual Communication
|3-D, BA Program, Brainstorming, Digital, Experimental, Form-making, Four-year Program, Handmade, Interdisciplinary, Iteration, Multidisciplinary, Process, Production, Technology
Take an old 2-D design project that you worked on (either through coursework, personal, or freelance) and generate a new artifact for that project using a CNC laser cutter/engraver.
- You worked on a branding project and you want to create some merchandise.
- You developed a concept for a public space intervention and you want to prototype your idea.
- You did a cool poster for an event and you want to think about how you could turn something two-dimensional into something three-dimensional (or using a different medium)
- You created a web application but want to explore how that logic translates to a physical form.
- Prepare vector-based artwork for use in a CNC laser cutter/engraver, either custom-made or altered from open-sourced templates
- Prototype designs prior to using CNC tech to understand physical limitations and opportunities
- Learn how to safely use CNC software and hardware to manipulate material, laser strength and speed, and lens focus to achieve desired outcomes
- Learn, share, and provide feedback with your peers
- One physical artifact primarily made with a CNC laser cutter/engraver
- Process dossier (PDF).
- Collect any images, screenshots, inspiration, etc into one multi-page document.
- Write a reflection for each stage of your process, documenting your experiments, lessons learned, and how your original artifact concept changed, if at all.
- Include photo(s) of your final finished artifact.
- Design 4.0: leading design in the new industry
- What are CNC Machines?
- Laser cut like a boss: compliant joints
- Using Joinery
This project is meant to serve as an introduction to CNC laser engraving in a short amount of time for students in design, humanities, and the liberal arts. Whereas ordinarily learners might be given small templated objects to fabricate, this project uses a past design project as the conceptual starting point to ground students in familiar territory and increase investment in problem-solving. Sketching and prototyping were key steps in the first week, as they allowed students to visualize the final form before diving into the technicalities of the machine. In-class demos also proved to be useful for best practices in file prep. In the end, each project was as unique as the original artifact but still felt like a natural extension of its concept. Students stated higher confidence in using CNC in future projects in final semester assessments.