Digital Design and Fabrication

Course Description

Digital Design and Fabrication investigates the transformation of concept design to production within contemporary digital media. Situated at the threshold between virtual and physical, design information and artifacts, it is comprised of both design computation methods as well as material fabrication techniques.

Learning Objectives

  • Apply scripting and parametric modeling to construct designs in CAD environments.
  • Synthesize designs using physical tools and learn a scalable method of production.
  • Communicate design methods and ideas physically opposed to verbally.
  • Directly manufacture designs with rapid prototyping and CAD/CAM manufacturing tools.

Measurable Outcomes

  • Acquire a broad base of knowledge in areas of digital design and physical production.
  • Learn methods of design production with digitally driven machines (e.g., CNC routing, Laser Cutting, Waterjet Cutting, FDM, 3D printing).
  • Apply CAD based methods to generate designs with scripting, surface and solid modeling programs.


Introduction to Design Computation

Software & Hardware

Course workshops require the use of laptops with Windows 10. Students shall install Rhinoceros 6 / Grasshopper [>] and Fusion 360 [>] before the first workshop session. Additionally, you need to install Python 3.9 [>] and Shopbot Control Software 3.8.5 [>]. For software assistance please contact the IT support helpdesk.

Recommended Readings

  • Schodek, D., Bechthold, M., Griggs, J. K. and Kao, K. (2004) Digital Design and Manufacturing: CAD/CAM Applications in Architecture and Design, Wiley.
  • Kolarevic, B and Klinger, K (eds) (2008) Manufacturing Material Effects, Rethinking Design and Making in Architecture, Routledge.
  • Howes, P. and Laughlin, Z. (2012) Material Matters: New Materials in Design, Black Dog Publishing.
  • Lefteri, C. (2007) Making It: Manufacturing Techniques for Product Design, Laurence King Publishing.


Times and Locations
0116-05Public Holiday
0223-05A1Have software installed before class
0330-05A2A1Deadline on Friday 6pm
0406-06Presentation during workshop
0513-06A3A2Presentation during workshop
0620-06A4A3Deadline on Friday 6pm
0727-06Recess Week
0804-07A5Common Term Project
0911-07Public Holiday
1018-07A4Presentation during workshop
1125-07Design Review
1201-08Development Review
1308-08Development Review
1415-08A5Final Presentation
Assignment Time Table


A1Laser Cutting110%
A23D Printing & Casting210%
A4Waterjet Cutting220%
A5Term Project440%
Grading CriterionWeight
01Physical Artifact Quality40%
02Design Concept Sophistication20%
03Computation Thinking Intelligence20%
04Presentation Visual Communication20%
01Well CraftedA +/-
02Adequately CraftedB +/-
03Poorly CraftedC +/-
04Haphazardly CraftedD +/-
01Original ThinkingA +/-
02Generic ThinkingB +/-
03Stereotypical ThinkingC +/-
04Inadequate ThinkingD +/-
01Creative ProgrammingA +/-
02Parametric ModelingB +/-
03Conventional DraftingC +/-
04Irrelevant ComputationD +/-
01Concise and ComprehensiveA +/-
02Verbose or IncompleteB +/-
03Unorganized and ConfusingC +/-
04Inappropriate for DesignD +/-
Report SpecificationRequired
Page SizeA3 (420 x 297 mm)
Page OrientationLandscape
Page Count10 (exactly)
File TypePDF (only)
File Size50 MB (or less)
File NameContains student ID(s) (100####)
Image Resolution300 dpi


  • Attendance in lectures and workshops is mandatory. Missing three or more sessions will result to an official warning letter and reduction of course participation component. If unwell, please notify the instructor via email, prior to the session being unable to attend; not after.
  • Deadlines for assignments, except the term project, are on Mondays before the lecture session, unless extension is granted to ease FabLab facilities congestion and/or address technical challenges such as machinery failures. Do not send assignment reports via email. Use the upload links provided in the assignment briefs. Late submission will result to 10% grade reduction for every day past the submission deadline.
  • Failure to comply with the report specifications will result to 10% grade reduction. Please use the python3 script [>] for quality control prior to uploading your pdf document.
  • Material wastage, inappropriate garbage disposal, facilities destruction, unsafe use of machinery and fabrication tools, will result to 20% grade reduction per associated assignment.
  • Unscholarly acts including plagiarism, cheating, double booking FabLab slots, inappropriate behavior towards classmates or SUTD staff will result from 50% grade reduction to completely failing the course.