Program Information

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2013 Providence Fab Academy Program Dates:

Classes meet January 10, 2013 through May 29, 2013. Additional open lab time is available through June 30th, 2013.

Neil Gershenfeld's global lectures begin on January 23, 2013. The Providence Fab Academy begins early in order to introduce some basic concepts needed for the successful completion of the course. We will also continue to have open lab time for a month after lectures finish to allow students time to freely experiment with the skills they have learned throughout the course of the program.

If you are a student and would like to take the Fab Academy program as an independent study, we would be happy to work with your school. Contact us to learn more.


Fab Academy tuition is $5,000.00 for the 6 month program.

Included in the cost of tuition:

    • All basic course materials.
    • 15 hours a week of hands-on Fab Lab access and personal instruction.
    • 24 hour key access to the Fab Lab during the duration of the Fab Academy, once trained on all machines.
    • A 1 year AS220 Industries membership (a $40 value).
      • An Industries membership gives you basic access to the Fab Lab, Printshop, and Media Arts spaces at AS220 Industries. Please note: classes outside the Fab Academy are not included in the basic membership and incur additional, separate costs.

We have several $1,500.00 work study scholarships available. Please note on your application that you wish to be considered for the scholarship program.

Payment Plans:
We offer a monthly payment plan option to help our students spread out the cost of the tuition. Yearly payment plans are also available. Sign up for our mailing list to stay informed of program changes, updates or scholarships that may become available.

2013 Fab Academy Schedule

The 2013 Providence Fab Academy at AS220 will meet:

Monday and Thursday evenings from 4:00pm - 10:00pm
Global lectures take place on Wednesday mornings at 9:00 am - 12:00 pm EST. The lectures are recorded and are available online after class.

We will meet as a group from January 10, 2013 through May 29, 2013. Additional open lab time is available through June 30th, 2013.

Class schedule by weekly unit:

Intro to Digital Fabrication Tools and Concepts (Jan 10-22)

  • learn the basics of how the digital fabrication tools work
  • intro to programing and electronics concepts used in the course (tailored to the skill level of the participants)

Digital Fabrication Principles and Practices (Jan 23)

  • 1st MIT lecture
  • learn about Fab Labs, the Fab Network and the Fab Charter
  • begin planning and documenting your final project
  • intro to version control systems (Mercurial)
  • begin building a personal website / portfolio in your lab's section of the class archive describing you and your final project

Computer-Aided Design, Manufacturing, and Modeling (Jan 30)

  • intro to 2D and 3D design software
  • model (draw, render, animate, simulate, ...) a possible final project, and post it on your class page.

Computer-Controlled Cutting (Feb 6)

  • design and create a project on the laser cutter and / or vinyl cutter.

Electronics Production (Feb 13)

  • each student will assemble their own fabbable in-system programmer (Fab ISP) for use in the class.
  • learn to mill boards on the milling machine
  • practice surface mount soldering techniques
  • program AVR microcontrollers

3D Scanning and Printing (Feb 20)

  • learn how to turn a physical object into code
  • then learn how to take that code and print it as a physical object

Electronics Design (Feb 27)

  • learn to modify one of our existing electronics "hello world" examples or create your own project.

Molding and Casting (Mar 6)

  • learn how to create detailed molds from machinable wax and make casts from them.

Embedded Programming (Mar 13)

  • learn more about AVR micorcontroller programming

Computer-Controlled Machining (Mar 20)

  • learn to make something big on the Shopbot 4' x 8' CNC router

Input Devices (Mar 27)

  • learn to make a circuit board with a input sensor (light, switches, temperature or ultrasonic, etc.)

Composites (April 3)

  • learn to create composite parts or structures

Interface and Application Programming (Apr 10)

  • learn to visualize the output of a sensor board (that you build in the previous input devices unit).

Output Devices (Apr 17)

  • learn to control a output device (LED's, speaker, video or motors)

Embedded Networking and Communications (Apr 24)

  • learn to make devices that talk to each other. (serial bus, radio or infrared)

Mechanical Design, Machine Design (May 1)

  • Assemble the electronics or mechanical structure of a machine
  • Projects can be joint or individual
  • in 2010 we made the Mantis milling machine
  • in 2011 we made the MTM Snap-Lock milling machine
  • in 2012 we made an Ultimaker-style 3D printer

Digital Fabrication Applications and Implications (May 8)

  • Learn about the broader applications of digital fabrication and what Neil Gershenfeld and his graduate students at MIT are working on.
  • guest lectures from MIT grad students and other industry professionals.
  • students work on their final projects

Digital Fabrication Project Development (May 15)

  • Using the skills you have learned, plan and document a final project that integrates at least two of the topics covered in the course.
  • students work on their final projects

Invention, Intellectual Property, and Business Models (May 22)

  • Guest lectures from experts in the field.
  • students work on their final projects

Final Project Presentations (May 29)

  • Labs around the world meet to present their final projects