Instructor: Marcela Godoy
Office Hours: Wednesday, 14:00 – 16:00, IMA Studio (826) (or by appointment)
Credits: 2
Semester: Fall 2018
Room Number: 823
Documentation Blog:


Course Description

Digital Fabrication is the process of using design of modeling software to generate digital files which can then be physically produced through a variety of methods, including laser cutting, 3D printing and computer numeric control (CNC). The ability to fabricate directly from our computers or design files used to be an exotic and expensive option not widely available, but recent changes within this field have brought these capabilities to within our reach. In this class students will learn how to design and model for and to operate fabrication machines. Emphasis will be put on designing functional parts that can fit into a larger project or support other components as well as being successful on a conceptual and aesthetic level. In this class students will discover methods to design and model using computer aided design (CAD) software. We will then utilize computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software to generate instructions that various machines can follow to fabricate our designs. We will also look at methods for 3D scanning, data manipulation and conversion, mold making, as well as printed circuit board (PCB) fabrication.



Upon completing the course, students will be able to demonstrate basic understanding of:
+ 2D design and 3D modeling techniques
+ Additive and subtractive digital fabrication processes
+ 3D scanning techniques
+ Data conversion techniques
+ Mold making
+ Electronic PCB design and fabrication


Grading and Assignments

20% Class Participation (attendance, discussion, preparation) *
50% Weekly Individual Assignments
30% Final Project

    Weekly Individual Assignments: Exercises are defined in the weekly schedule and vary weekly depending on the topics covered in class. All exercises are required, and should be documented on the documentation blog. Undocumented work will not be considered complete.
    Final Project Assignment: Design and Fabricate a functional and aesthetic object for you, your room or for the studio. Examples: wearable, lamp shade, small storage unit, enclosure for electronics. The object(s) should be made using at least two fabrication methods that you learned in this class (Scanning, 3D printing, Laser Cutting, PCB Milling, CNC Routing). Try to illustrate your understanding of the fundamental concepts covered in class, not only in your project but also in your process.

* See Attendance Policy


Tuesday Sept 04 | Thursday Sept 06

Week 01 Topic:

2D Design & Fabrication

Introduction & 2D Design: Adobe Illustrator
2D Design & Fabrication: Laser Cutter, Vinyl Cutter & Embroidery Machine
2D Design & Fabrication (embroidery badge / vinyl sticker / laser cut stamp)

Assignment 01 due to Wednesday Sept/12
The goal of this assignment is to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator for 2D design for laser cutting, vinyl cutting and Digital Embroider, as well as get familiarized with the machines in the digital fabrication room. Create a vector design using Illustrator, which can be used to create a stamp, a vinyl sticker, as well as an embroidery badge. Utilize at least two machines to fabricate physical objects. Document the process and experience on the blog.


Tuesday Sept 11 | Thursday Sept 13

Week 02 Topic:

3D Modeling with Rhino

3D Modeling with Rhino: Basic techniques
3D Modeling with Rhino: Paneling
3D Modeling with Rhino (Solo)

Assignment 02 due to Wednesday Sept/19
The goal of the assignment is to learn how to use Rhino for 3D modeling, and get used to basic 3D modeling tools, as well as learn how to measure existing objects and incorporate those measurements into models. Using the techniques you learned in class, create a 3-dimensional model of an everyday object of your election. Your object should reflect your interests, so choose it to represent a specific concept you attempt to communicate. Document the process and experience on the blog.


Tuesday Sept 18 | Thursday Sept 20

Week 03 Topic:

Fabrication: Additive & Subtractive Methods

3D Modeling with Rhino: Grasshopper
Additive 3D Fabrication: 3D Printing / Subtractive 3D Fabrication: CNC
3D Fabrication (Solo)

Assignment 03 due to Wednesday Sept/26
Using your 3D modeling skills, create a 3D model that you can 3D print. You might use the object that you 3D modeled the past week or create a new one. The main goal for this assignment is to become comfortable with designing for 3D Printing, learn how to evaluate the printability of 3D models, and learn how to use the machines available in the Fabrication Room. The 3D printed object should be no bigger than 5 cm x 5 cm x 5 cm or a corresponding volume. Plan ahead, since only 3D printing can take hours, and 3D printers are not always available. Document the process and experience on the blog.


Tuesday Sept 25 | Thursday Sept 27

Week 04 Topic:

3D Scanning, Data Conversion & Laser Cutting

3D Scanning: 123D Catch, Kinect, & Matter & Form Scanner + Meshmixer
From 3D to 2D to 3D + Meshlab + Meshmixer + 123D Make
3D Scanning + Meshmixer + 123D (Group)

Assignment 04 due to Friday Oct/05
The challenge this week is to create a 3- dimensional object through the use of 2-dimensional construction materials. The main goal for this assignment is to become comfortable with designing for laser cutting and to acquire more experience using the machine. You will be provided of 250 grams paper, keep in mind this all the time when creating your forms and selecting assembly methods. In order to complete the assignment you need to polygonize a 3D model and convert it into a 2-dimensional series of pieces, using unfolding methods and assembly strategies. Cut the pieces in the Laser Cutter, make sure you tag them in a way that makes easy the assembly task. Use glue and tape to create a physical 3D object by assembling your flat pieces. Document the process and experience on the blog.


Thursday Oct 04 | Tuesday Oct 09

Week 05 Topic:

Mold Making and Electronic PCB Design & Fabrication

Lectures – Lab:
Mold Making
PCB Design using Autodesk Circuits – PCB Milling

Assignment 05 due to Tuesday Oct/09
Create a brief research report, which should illustrate your findings around state of the art in digital fabrication. Investigate the work of at least two artist, designers or architects that inspire the digital fabrication techniques you are planning to utilize. State your expected results based in theories of design and fabrication you have found in the readings or while you have been producing your previous assignments. Focus your proposal on a design concept that is interesting for you. Post your Final Project ideas and Inspirations on the blog. Describe the steps and strategies you will use in the next days in order to achieve your goal.


Thursday Oct 11 | Tuesday Mar 16

Week 06 Topic:

Final Project Production

Lectures – Lab:
Thursday Oct 11 ** Final Project Work in Progress Presentations **
Tuesday Oct 16 Final Project Production

Work on the production of your final project.


Thursday Oct 18 | Tuesday Oct 23

Week 07:

Final Project Production, Presentation & Critique

Thursday Oct 18 Final Project Production
Tuesday Oct 23 ** Students will present their Final Projects **

Final Project Assignment due to Friday Oct 26
Describe the work that inspired you and the strategy you used to fabricate your physical model. Explain the method you used to design, and the reasons you had to select your digital fabrication approach. Describe the materials you used and how they functioned in achieving your purpose. Explain the reasons you have to create this physical object as your final project, and why it is interesting to use digital fabrication techniques to design and create it. Post the documentation of your digital fabrication process. Indicate the test trial or study involved in your process. The purpose of this blog post is to describe in detail how you performed the development of your final project. Do it in the way that someone should be able replicate your project based on the information that you will provide in this post. Include your design files, photographies, videos and any other medium you consider necessary to document your final piece.



Attendance Policy

You are expected to attend all scheduled classes. Greater than two unexcused absences warrant a fail. Tardiness counts as 1/3rd of an unexcused absence. If you are unable to attend a class, notify me before that class. If you are ill and need to miss more than a week of classes, you must speak to the Health & Wellness Office in order to get an excused absence. I will not look at doctor’s notes, both for your health privacy reasons and because I cannot verify the authenticity or content of the notes. Please also note that classes begin at 16:45 sharp; unless I specifically indicate to the contrary, you may not use a mobile or laptop in class; and you may not make a personal recording of the class.

Submission of Late Work

Assignments are due at the date and time indicated in the syllabus. Missed assignments will be earn an F. Exceptions can be made only with the prior approval of the instructor.

The late penalty for the final paper/project is one third of a letter grade per day. So, an ‘A’ project that is one day late will be graded an ‘A−’, two days late a ‘B+’, three days late a ‘B’, etc.

Academic Integrity Policy

Students are expected to read and understand the university’s policy on academic integrity as laid out in the Undergraduate Bulletin. Plagiarism and cheating will be penalized. If you have any questions or doubts about plagiarism, please do not hesitate to come to my office hours.


Students with Disabilities

NYU is committed to providing equal educational opportunity and participation for students with disabilities. It is NYU Shanghai’s policy that no student with a qualified disability be excluded from participating in any NYU Shanghai program or activity, denied the benefits of any NYU Shanghai program or activity, or otherwise subjected to discrimination with regard to any NYU Shanghai program or activity.

The Henry and Lucy Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) in New York determines qualified disability status and assists students in obtaining appropriate accommodations and services. CSD operates according to an Independent Living Philosophy and strives in its policies and practices to empower each student to become as independent as possible. Their services are designed to encourage independence, backed by a strong system of supports.

Any student who needs a reasonable accommodation based on a qualified disability is required to register with the CSD for assistance. They should contact the Director of the Academic Resource Center, Cydney Delia ( for assistance in registering.

Tutoring and Writing Support

The Academic Resource Center (ARC) provides tutoring and support to students looking to reach their highest academic potential. Students can schedule a meeting, or drop by, for any of the following:

  • Individual and small-group tutoring in over 30 STEM and Business & Economics courses
  • Individual writing consultations at any stage of the writing process
  • Academic coaching in areas such as time management, reading & note-taking strategies, exam preparation, and goal setting
  • Workshops on writing, academic skills, and technologies
  • Group study and conversation circles

Students are also welcome to study on their own in the comfortable, supportive atmosphere of the ARC.

Library and Research Services

The Library is available to support your research needs. We have access to 14,000 print resources, 2,000 DVDs, and 1,000 databases (including over a million e-books, as well as streaming audio & video and image databases).  Librarians with expertise in fields such as Business, Economics, Humanities, Science (STEM), and Social Sciences are available in-person and online to help you with your research. Our services include:

  • One-to-one consultations to help you with your research projects
  • Reference Desk hours in the library for immediate help with finding & using resources
  • Workshops throughout the semester on research strategies, special databases, academic integrity, and using citation tools.

Visit the Library on the 4th floor, or go to to learn more.