This training activity is held on within Fab Lab that, conceived as a research project at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), has seen a sudden and widespread development around the world. In the FabLab participants are encouraged to learn using advanced technologies such as laser cutter, 3D printers and other useful machines to prototype ideas in a fast way.
Fondazione Mondo Digitale’s Fab Lab has been created within the Phyrtual Innovation Gym, a gym for experiential learning and innovation practice through all of its possible expressions: civic, social and technological innovation. It’s an open space powered by youth for citizens and organisations, schools, enterprise and universities. It’s a meeting place for new and old professions and trades focusing on traditional and digital creation, experimentation and creativity to stimulate professional growth, self-enterprise and 21st century skills.
This training activity can be considered a good tool because it allows young people to experiment, take risks and play with their own ideas. They have the opportunity to gain self-confidence and recognize their ability to learn autonomously, to have good ideas and transform them into reality.
The main purpose of this training activity is to introduce participants to design development using digital manufacturing technologies.
Through a process that allows participants to be inventors, bringing their ideas to life and using advanced prototyping technologies, they become able to use the 3D modelling software Tinkercad, laser cutting and 3D printer. Moreover, they have practiced Design Thinking and Problem solving (hands-on approach).
The activities of this workshop are:
1. Welcome (15 minutes). Introduction of FabLab, digital manufacturing technologies and three-dimensional design tools. Description and practical demonstrations.
2. Problem identification (45 minutes). The coach explains the theme of exercise and discusses with the students about the problem identification and the method to be used to obtain adequate solutions. Group discussion.
3. Trial and Mistakes (90 minutes). With the help of 3D design software, 3D printers and laser cutting, participants in groups draw, realize and try the parts in a cyclic process that can be repeated until the time finished. Practical exercise on the computer.
4. Construction of the final model (60 minutes). After an analysis of the results obtained, participants make the final model. Practice manual activity.
5. Return of results (30 minutes). At the end of exercise, each group shows its results and compares solutions found and design method adopted.
Materials: computers, digital modelling software, laser cutting, 3D printer, materials to cut (plywood and paper-material)
– Specific knowledge about digital manufacturing technologies
– Technical skills on how to use laser cutting and 3D printers
– Knowledge on how to develop an idea using the Design Thinking process
– Knowledge of 3D modelling software Tinkercad
– Ability to manage training activities
Monitoring and evaluation
To evaluate this tool it is possible to consider these elements:
– N. of training activities
– N. of participants
– N. of final models created
Pros and cons
Positive elements (effectiveness)
– The activity engages students to address real projects, creating a practical and authentic context for learning
– The activity stimulates the participants’ need to acquire specific knowledge
– Participants are encouraged to learn out of necessity and to understand how to learn by doing
Negative elements (criticalities)
– Participants need to participate in other training activities to acquire and consolidate technical skills
– Availability of FabLab equipment
Fondazione Mondo Digitale