Program Information

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2015 Providence Fab Academy Program Dates:

Classes meet January 19, 2015 through June 3rd, 2015 (note that Providence starts two days before the first lecture). Additional open lab time is available through June 30th, 2015.

Neil Gershenfeld's global lectures begin on January 21st, 2015. 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.
    • 6 months access to the lab (a $40 value).
      • You'll also have 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 a couple of $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 changes, updates or scholarships that may become available.

2015 Fab Academy Schedule

The 2015 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 19, 2015 through June 3rd, 2015. Additional open lab time is available through June 30th, 2015.

Class schedule by weekly unit:

Digital Fabrication Principles and Practices (Jan 21)

  • 1st MIT lecture
  • Learn about Fab Labs, the Fab Network and the Fab Charter
  • Begin planning and documenting your final project.

Collaborative Technical Development, Documentation, and Project Management (Jan 21)

  • Intro to version control (Mecurial)
  • 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 28th)

  • 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 4th)

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

Electronics Production (Feb 11th)

  • 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 18th)

  • 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 25th)

  • Learn to modify one of our existing electronics “hello world” examples or create your own project.

Computer-Controlled Machining (Mar 4th)

  • Learn to make something big out of wood on the Shopbot CNC router

Embedded Programming (Mar 11th)

  • Learn to program AVR microcontrollers.

Molding, Casting (Mar 18th)

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

Input Devices (Mar 25th)

  • Learn to make a circuit board with a input sensor (light, switches, temperature or ultrasonic, etc.)
Composites (Apr 1st)
  • Create composite parts or structures

Interface and Application Programming (Apr 8th)

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

Mechanical Design and Machine Design (Apr 15th)

  • Assemble the mechanical structure of a machine designed by a MIT graduate student
  • Assemble the electronics and program a machine designed by a MIT graduate student.
  • Last year we made the MTM Snap-Lock milling machine.

Output Devices (Apr 22nd)

  • Learn to control a output device (LED’s, speaker, video or motors)

Embedded Networking and Communications (Apr 29th)

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

Digital Fabrication Applications and Implications (May 6th)

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

Invention, Intellectual Property, and Business Models (May 13th)

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

Digital Fabrication Project Development (May 20th)

  • 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

Final Project Presentations (May 27th)

  • Labs around the world meet to present their final projects.