Learn to Turn Codes into Things
Just as communications and computation went from analog to digital, resulting in PCs and the Internet, the digitization of fabrication is leading to personal fabricators that will allow anyone to make almost anything, anywhere. The development of digital fabrication is based on creating codes that don’t just describe things, they are things, much as proteins are coded in molecular biology. This research roadmap is ultimately aiming at a Star Trek-style replicator, but prototype versions of these capabilities are already available in field fab labs.
At the Fab Academy, you will learn how to envision, prototype and document your ideas through many hours of hands-on experience with digital fabrication tools. We take a variety of code formats and turn them into physical objects.
The Fab Academy Diploma consists of a 5 month part-time student commitment, from January to June. The Fab Diploma is the result of the sum of Fab Academy Certificates. Progress towards the diploma is evaluated by a student’s acquired skills rather than time or credits.
The Fab Academy is a fast paced, hands-on learning experience where students plan and execute a new project each week. Each individual documents their progress for each project, resulting in a personal portfolio of technical accomplishments.
The Fab Academy teaches principles and applications of digital fabrication. It was developed to teach hands-on skills in fab labs, which began as an outreach project from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, and has grown into a global network of more than 500 labs.Fab Academy instruction is based on MIT’s popular rapid-prototyping course How To Make (almost) Anything, both taught by Prof. Neil Gershenfeld. It offers a distributed rather than distance educational model: students learn in local workgroups, with peers, mentors, and machines, which are then connected globally by content sharing and video for interactive classes. The individual labs are supported and supervised regionally by supernode sites with more advanced capabilities, expertise, and inventories.There is no global accreditation for these skills. Instead, each student builds a portfolio that documents their mastery of them individually, and their integration. These are reviewed by their local instructors, regional gurus, and then centrally to ensure that each student meets global standards and follows evolving best practices. The Fab Diploma is earned by progress rather than the calendar, for successful completion of a series of certificate requirements. The instructional sequence requires six months to cover, and the time to finish has ranged from that up to a few years.
The Fab Diploma is awarded by the Fab Academy. It has no institutional connection with MIT (and none should be claimed), but a number of the participating sites offer it overlaid with their local accreditation. It recognizes readiness to work in, and establish, a fab lab. The Fab Diploma has led to students obtaining employment, investment, admission, and recognition.
The Fab Academy platform has subsequently been used to add classes (collectively called Academany) that share the model of hands-on instruction to students in workgroups, with local mentors, linked by shared content and interactive lectures by global leaders. The first of these is How To Grow (almost) Anything, an introduction to biotechnology with a faculty team led by Harvard’s Prof. George Church, with more classes under development, as well as programs for more advanced study planned.
Students at the Fab Academy learn:
- how to use a Fab Lab’s digital fabrication tools for rapid prototyping
- Epilog Mini Lasercutter
- Roland MDX-20 Milling Machine
- 3D printer
- Roland CAMM-1 Servo GX-24 Desktop Vinyl Cutter
- electronics design and production by producing circuit boards using a variety of sensors and output devices.
- how to program AVR microcontrollers on the boards they have produced
- molding and casting
- 3D scanning and printing
How It Works
Fab Academy is a distributed educational model providing a unique educational experience.
Each Fab Lab that participates in the Fab Academy program (see list here) is part of a global Fab Lab / Fab Academy network. These Fab Labs are Nodes that offer the Fab Academy program.
Students view and participate in global lectures broadcasted every Wednesdays at 9:00 am – 12:00 pm EST. The lectures are recorded and available to students throughout the semester. In addition to the lectures, there are 2 / 3 lab days each week where students have access the digital fabrication equipment and personal help with projects. Each Fab Lab will establish the schedule for these Lab days.
Fab Academy faculty, who are leaders in their respective fields, provide global video lectures, supervise academic content, and guide research. Hands-on instruction in the labs is provided by instructors who supervise and evaluate Certificates, develop and disseminate instructional material, and assist with projects.
A minimum knowledge of the following tools and processes is required:
- 2D and 3D modeling
- Digital fabrication
- Electronics programming
- Web design and development
If you rate your proficiency in them between Low and Medium, the course should be considered a full-time dedication program. If you rate your proficiency between High and Expert, you can consider the program to be part-time.
The Fab Academy is directed by Neil Gershenfeld, produced by Sherry Lassiter, coordinated by Tomas Diez.
Fab Academy Tuition fees
Fab Academy Diploma ………………… 5,000 (USD/€) (currency to be determined by local lab)*
*Fab Academy Europe will charge tuition fees in Euros.Tuition fees are variable according to local fab labs. Some labs might apply local currencies, and in Europe some labs apply 1:1 conversion in €.
Note: Fix exchange rate of 1€=0.95USD for 2017
Included in the costs:
• All the basic course materials.
• 15 hours a week of hands-on Fab Lab access and personal instruction.
IMPORTANT: Students fees cover 1 year (2 evaluation rounds) of instruction and assessment. After this period, access to instruction and evaluation will have extra costs. Check Continuing students section here.
Once students receive their acceptance letter, a down payment of 2000 USD or € must be done to secure the place. The remaining part of the tuition fees might be paid either in one installment before 15th of January 2015, or two installments:
1º) 50% before 20th of January 2016
2º) 50% before 15th March 2016
The 2000 USD or € confirmation fee is non-refundable. The rest of tuition fees may be refunded if the student notifies his/her withdrawal before the start of the course. Fab Academy reserves the right to cancel or postpone the Diploma course due to low number of enrolled students in each lab. In case of cancellation of the Diploma course in specific locations, the full tuition will be refunded without any type of additional compensations. In case of postponement the tuition fee will be refunded to students that applied for it.
The students with unresolved payments to Fab Academy administration or to the local Fab Lab (tuition or material fees) or pending of returning materials belonging to specific Fab Lab (access cards, library books, software licenses or other) will not receive the final Diploma or any official certificate.
See Full document here.