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
Assignments Calendar


Assignment Materials and MethodsWeight
A1Acrylic / Laser Cutting (Individual)10%
A2Silicone and Plaster / 3D Printing Casting (Groups of 2)15%
A3High Density Polyurethane / CNC Machining (Groups of 2)10%
A4Aluminum and Plywood / Waterjet Cutting (Groups of 2)15%
A5Fabrication and Structures Project (Groups of 4)40%
Participation (Individual)10%
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 +/-
01Advanced ProgrammingA +/-
02Basic Parametric 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 (or more)


  • 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 8pm, 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.