Fast prototyping: What does it take?

Follow the weekly progress of current Fab Academy students Manuela, Aurel and Susana to discover the hands-on learning experience and its challenges.

  • Mar 30, 2023

Fab Academy is a fast paced educational programme that focuses on personal fabrication. Students learn rapid-prototyping by planning and executing a new project each week, resulting in a personal portfolio of technical accomplishments. 

Since Fab Academy is so dynamic and the areas of learning change every week, we wanted to present this complexity in a suitable way. That is why we reached out to some of the current Fab Academy students and asked them to share their opinions about each week as soon as it’s finished. 

In the following blog post, you can find a short overview of what the students learned in the different weeks of Fab Academy along with quotes from Aurel, Manuela and Susana, bringing to light their experiences through the intensive programme. Make sure to scroll down to see all of the weeks we covered! 

Week 8: Electronics Production

The objective of the fourth week is to learn how to produce a PCB (Printed Circuit Board). The students had to manufacture their own PCBs that they designed two weeks ago.


“I learned how to use the CNC machine for cutting the PCBs and how to solder components, which was quite nice! What I struggled with the most though was the mistakes I made. I used the wrong components and in the wrong positioning. I also had to cut a few boards, because one was not calibrated. So actually, it was one of the weeks where I made more mistakes.”


“It’s something that was completely new to me – electricity and circuit boards. I think the biggest struggle is that you need to really anticipate everything and if you decide to change something you have to start again from zero. That’s a really important learning because it’s completely different to how we work in design where we try things out. Here if it doesn’t work, it’s just not going to work.”

Week 7: Computer-aided Machining

The objective of this week is to get introduced to Computer-aided Machining and to learn how to use and operate the CNC. Computer numerical control (CNC) is a subtractive procedure that involves the use of computers to control machine tools.


“This is my favorite week so far. I was dying to get to know this machine. I come from product design so I already know how to design, but I had never been able to cut by myself before without any people helping me.”


“What was really cool is obviously exploring, testing on different things, setting up the puzzle, this takes quite a lot of time. It’s super interesting to learn how the whole process works. What I’m really hoping to get from this is not for the teachers to always be there to help us, it’s more about giving us the tools at the beginning, obviously with us making mistakes.”


“What I learned was to overcome my fear of the machine. I’m not used to working with machines so I was kind of scared of using it. But in the end it went well. It is really empowering to do your own furniture!” 

Curious to learn more about Fab Academy? Discover the programme here.

Mar 30, 2023