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.

What you'll learn

Students at the Fab Academy learn project development and management; website development tools; version control protocols; modelling with 2D and 3D software; laser cutting; design and programming circuit boards; interpret and implement programming protocols; interpret and implement networking protocols; the use of sensors and output devices; 3D printing and scanning; CNC machinning in small and large scale; mould design, construction and casting; mechanical and machine design; integration of techniques into a final project.

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.

Program requirements

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 and coordinated by Luciana Asinari with help from a number of collaborators.

Last Updated: 3/21/2019, 12:15:48 PM