Computational Design X Circular Economy

Introduction to

Digital Fabrication



Laser Cutting, 3D Printing, and CNC for Beginners

Online workshop

Digital Fabrication is rapidly changing our design-to-production approach — enabling designers to generate novel forms adaptive to immediate feedback on how they can be produced and customized in response to material availability. The core goal of the workshop is to provide participants with the necessary foundation for creating designs thoughtful of the fabrication and assembly process.

Credits: ‘Shingle Wall’ Seminar Project (ITECH), ICD, University of Stuttgart

This workshop will focus on the basics of taking digital designs modeled in Rhinoceros/Grasshopper and translating them into workflows for the three commonly used digital fabrication processes:  Laser Cutting, 3D Printing, and CNC Milling.  We will cover the general overview and context of digital fabrication, its various applications, and precedents of successful examples integrating these processes into production workflows. Commonly used open-source software and Grasshopper plugins will be introduced to be incorporated into the participant’s design processes.

This workshop will be supplemented with reading material to ideate and examine what has and can be done with digital fabrication as well as some hands-on design exercises to apply what is learned during the lecture. Conversation and collaboration amongst participants are highly encouraged to challenge typical digital fabrication paradigms and investigate new solutions better suited to a circular economy.



Topics and Contents covered during the workshop
  • Context, precedents, and applications of digital fabrication.
  • Laser Cutting: Introduction and Workflows
  • CNC: Introduction 3-axis Milling and Workflows
  • 3D Printing: Introduction and Workflows



Required Software & Hardware and Skills
  • Rhinoceros 6 (free versions available)
  • Grasshopper
  • A list of the required plug-ins and any supplementary open-source software will be sent to students prior to the workshop beginning
  • A second monitor is highly recommended

Each participant needs to work from their own personal computer.  3D modeling basic knowledge and an understanding of Rhinoceros and Grasshopper are recommended however, depending on the applicant’s experience, a review can be provided on the first day.

The principal software is Rhinoceros 6.0. The 90-day trial version can be downloaded from the website . Grasshopper will be the main computational tool.

Windows operating system is highly recommended since many of the Grasshopper plugins still do not run on Apple IOS operating systems. For the MAC users, we suggest creating a secondary partition using BootCamp and install  Windows10.

Credits: ‘Laser Cutter Prototyping’ S. Melnyk, R. Faulkner, T. Rosales, N.Tashiro



Calendar and Timetable

From June 1st to 5th, 2020.
9.30 am to 7pm (Paris Time).

The workshop is an online learning experience including :

  • 13 hours of live teaching (Mornings 9:30am-1pm)
  • 4 hours of Q&A (Afternoons 4pm-5pm)
  • 16 hours of independent exercises
  • 2 hours of discussion
  • 2 hours final review
  • chat support
Day 1
  • Introduction + Course overview and goals
  • Introduction to Digital Fabrication
  • A brief look at Laser Cutting, CNC, 3D Printing
  • Break
  • Designing for Laser Cutting: Context
  • Designing for Laser Cutting: Machines and Materials
  • Designing for Laser Cutting: Best Practices & Exporting
  • Live Walkthrough: 3D to 2-axis (Sectioning, Waffling, Nesting)
  • Independent Exercise 1: Desktop Object
  • Afternoon Check-in: Q&A / Exercise 1 Progress / Handout Recommended Reading 1
Day 2
  • Welcome + Recommended Readings 1 Discussion
  • Review of Exercise 1
  • Designing for CNC Milling: Context
  • Designing for CNC Milling: Machines and Materials
  • Break
  • Designing for CNC Milling: 3-axis Techniques (Cuts, Contour, Pockets, Islands)
  • Live Walkthrough: 3-axis toolpath generations and simulation
  • Independent Exercise 2:  Joints: Embedded Connector
  • Afternoon Check-in: Q&A / Exercise 2 Progress / Handout Recommended Reading 2
Day 3
  • Welcome + Recommended Readings 2 Discussion
  • Review of Exercise 2
  • Designing for 3D Printing: Context
  • Designing for 3D Printing: Machines and Materials
  • Break
  • Designing for 3D Printing: Best Practices and Model Adjustments
  • Live Walkthrough: Printing Process (Support Generations, Slicing, Infill)
  • Independent Exercise 3 : Joints: External Connector
  • Afternoon Check-in : Q&A / Exercise 3 Progress / Handout Recommended Reading 3
Day 4
  • Welcome + Recommended Readings 3 Discussion
  • Review of Exercise 3
  • A look at advanced Digital Fabrication
  • Break
  • Introducing the Final Exercise
  • Final Exercise: Interior Object
  • Afternoon Check-in: Q&A / Final Exercise Progress / Handout Recommended Reading 4
Day 5
  • Welcome + Recommended Reading 4 Discussion
  • Morning: Design Studio – One on One Crits
  • Afternoon: Review
  • Final comments


Other info

Other practical information
  • Main Language: English
    Tutors and organizers also speak French, Italian and Spanish.
  • Hosted on Zoom
  • Chat support provided on Slack
  • Minimum number of participants: the workshop will be activated with a minimum of 10 participants. Otherwise organizers can make the decision to cancel the event; in this case the tickets will be fully refunded.



About the tutor

Samantha Melnyk

Samantha is a designer and researcher with a background in architecture, digital fabrication, and human-computer interaction. She graduated from the M.Sc. Programme Integrative Technologies and Architectural Design Research (ITECH) in Stuttgart, where she participated in interdisciplinary research for design and construction in architecture that spanned robotic fabrication and automation, interaction design, and sensing and actuation strategies for adaptive structures. She has worked as a research assistant in the Robotic Fabrication Laboratory at the Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD) as well as in the German Institutes for Textile and Fiber Research (DITF). She collaborated with an international design studio to develop and build the ITECH Research Demonstrator 2018-2019. Her Master’s thesis was completed in the Haptic Intelligence Department at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS), where novel haptic interfaces were explored and applied in the context of construction and assembly processes in architecture.

Samantha is currently working as part of the DRIVEN program’s core development team, as well as being involved in architectural research to develop strategies for material reuse and flow in urban ecosystems.


219 €

  • - Early Birds Price is only available until May 18th
  • - Educational tickets are only for students
  • teachers and researchers (proof of status required)
  • - TVA may apply following your invoicing address: please contact us for further details
Register now

269 €

  • - Early Birds Price is only available until May 18th
  • - TVA may apply following your invoicing address : please contact us for further details
Register now
Driven workshop series

Join our learning community

Registration fees includes :

  • Special access to the DRIVEN team to discuss  your idea to incubate
  • One year access to the digital platform of DRIVEN, to stay connected with the community
  • 30% discount of your incubation membership (valid until the end of 2020, contact us for more details)

279 €

  • Sold starting May 19th
Register now

349 €

  • Sold starting May 19th
Register now
Driven workshop series

This workshop is not for you?