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Fab Academy retrospective

Here we are at the end of Fab Academy 2022 - Let’s look back on this amazing experience.

Every week I learned a lot of new skills and put them in practice straight away. The skills we learned feel empowering - Now it’s quite natural to take an idea which is only in my head and bring it into reality using the fast prototyping techniques we learned.

These are some of my takeaways:

Run out of time

Each week we covered broad topics like “computer controlled cutting” or “electronics production”. I always learned a lot and was able to make interesting experiments but I was never able to learn and try everything I wanted to. Sometimes it was hard to switch to the next topic as there was still so much to explore in the current one. In such moments it helped to remind myself that the exploring won’t end with the week or Fab Academy

It’s not possible to understand everything in detail

The weeks started with Neil’s lesson on the new topic which covered a lot of material in a short time. When I had no previous experience in the topic it was hard to follow everything he was covering. It required a mind-shift to be conformable with this way of learning: Once I told myself that the lesson wasn’t there to understand everything in detail but rather to get an overview I felt much more relaxed. In the lesson I wasn’t learning how to do my assignment in detail but I learned what is possible at a high level. Once I decided what I wanted to do for my assignment I still had to go ahead and do my own research to figure out the details.

It wouldn’t be the same without fellow students

I really enjoyed being around like minded people. The weekly assignments were really open; As an example one weeks assignment was “make something big with the milling machine”. It was interesting to see how each of us came up with different ideas.

Make a first prototype, even if I haven’t figured out every detail yet

Working in spirals was an important learning. As a software developer I was used to work in spirals when writing code: Start with the simples possible working thing and then improve it step by step. On the other hand when building physical things this way of working was new to me.

It can be overwhelming to start designing something with the expectation that it will be perfect at the first try. Designing takes a long time when trying to think about every detail ahead of time and when I started building there were always things I hadn’t considered anyway.

It was much more enjoyable to start making a first prototype even if I already knew that it wouldn’t be final. The learnings from building the prototype were then used to adjust the design for the next spiral.

From idea to prototype

If I had to describe what I learned in these months in a few words I’d say “I learned to transform ideas into prototypes”. Each week we had to come up with ideas and then make prototypes to bring them into reality. By going through this cycle over and over again over time it started to feel easier and more natural.


I really enjoyed Fab Academy. I don’t think I ever learned so much in such a short time. I highly recommend Fab Academy to anyone who wants to learn how to bring ideas into the real world by building prototypes.

Last update: June 18, 2022