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Developing a FabLab 3D Data Capture, Modeling, and Prototyping Dan Collins, Don Vance, and Carlo Sammarco Arizona State University Digital Culture / 3D Tools August 18, 2011. FabLab.
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3D Data Capture, Modeling, and Prototyping
Dan Collins, Don Vance, and Carlo Sammarco
Arizona State University
Digital Culture / 3D Tools
August 18, 2011
The challenges associated with the use of digital media resonate with other historical moments that produced new technologies--such as photography or video. Digital media are disruptive of existing practice, and thereby highlight both the invention of new practices and throw into relief the methods we have used in the past.
Digital Media in the Classroom and Art/Design Studio
In the 21st century, computers, digital media, and social networking have become integral parts of contemporary experience -- and the studio classroom.
In our consideration of the development of a new facility for ASU’s Digital Culture program, we began with the premise that digital technologies have radically changed how we make and distribute artwork, exchange information, and construct and maintain identities and relationships.
Along with the expanded creative opportunities afforded by a well-equipped lab, students themselves have embraced a host of digital products -- from iPods, to gaming, to social networking sites that can be utilized (rather than confiscated). These products and associated skill-sets have the potential to be harnessed not only for their social networking potential, but as tools for the creative process and media production.
Embodied Skills and Digital Fluency
Today's students are conversant in the language of electronic media and consumer culture, but they encounter difficulties when trying to navigate the real crises in the health of their bodies and the global environment.
There is a deep sense among many of the artists and educators that we speak with that art programs nationwide are not responding sufficiently to the dramatic changes occurring in the culture at large.
In our lab, we challenge students to take a pro-active stance with respect to their bodies, the tools the culture has developed, and the spaces they inhabit.
Fab labs have spread from inner-city Boston to rural India, from South Africa to the North of Norway. Activities in fab labs range from technological empowerment to peer-to-peer project-based technical training to local problem-solving to small-scale high-tech business incubation to grass-roots research. Projects being developed and produced in fab labs include solar and wind-powered turbines, thin-client computers and wireless data networks, analytical instrumentation for agriculture and healthcare, custom housing, and rapid-prototyping of rapid-prototyping machines.
Fab labs share core capabilities, so that people and projects can be shared across them. This currently includes:
At ASU, the design of the facility was undertaken by three faculty members drawn from the new Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at ASU—Dan Collins (School of Art); Jason Griffiths (Architecture); and David Tinapple (Arts, Media, and Engineering). The three were charged with making recommendations concerning the layout of the physical space, creating an equipment (wish) list, and prioritizing/budgeting purchases for the first three years of the project.
New home of Digital Culture and the Fab Lab
Physical layout and ongoing maintenance continues to be led by Carlo Sammarco.
Image of the Fab Lab in the new Digital Culture building:
The Fab Lab is part of an umbrella initiative developed by the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts called “Digital Culture.” This new program was given space formerly occupied by the PBS affiliate, KAET. A significant private donation made possible the complete renovation of the space, purchase of new equipment, and hiring of new staff lines.
The spaces are flexible mirroring the mixed-used demands of the program and the interdisplinary character of the students.
There was agreement that the lab should provide a full range of traditional and new technologies. As such, initial purchases included a table saw (with instant stop), welding equipment, air tools, and drill presses as well as a bank of computers, an Epilog laser cutter, and a Roland desktop digitizer/CNC mill and a Zcorp 3D printer.
Digital Fabrication Equipment
Epilog laser cutter
Zcorp 3D printer
Roland CNC digitizer and mill
LPKF circuit board maker
LPKF (detail of circuit board)
Digital Modeling and Computation
PC Work Stations
Apple Laptops in power dock carts (30 per cart, 90 total)
Bench Testing and Comparison ShoppingCarlo conducted an extensive set of bench tests to aid in his “comparison shopping” for various tools. For example, the images here represent output from different CNC routers. The example on the left compares output from a Roland mill versus a CamMaster. On the right are output files from ten different systems.
Low-cost ($2000) structured light scanning
Shop Skills and Digital Fabrication
--Basic shop techniques (table saw, band saw, drill press, welding, etc.)
--3D data capture
--CNC routing and milling
--Circuit board design and production
Digital Culture Curriculum
The Digital Culture curriculum is outcomes based rather than course sequence based. The curriculum uses an innovative proficiency-based network to connect courses across academic disciplines, instead of traditional methods such as course prerequisites. Each course provides certain proficiencies. These proficiencies are accumulated and then unlock access to higher level courses, which in turn provide further proficiencies.
Proficiencies in the Digital Culture curriculum identify generalized learning outcomes that are common across disciplines participating in digital culture coursework. Proficiencies provide the connections across disciplines in the digital culture network rather than the traditional pre-requisites.