Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session


The course provides a hands-on introduction to the resources for designing and fabricating smart systems, including CAD/CAM/CAE; NC machining, 3-D printing, injection molding, laser cutting; PCB layout and fabrication; sensors and actuators; analog instrumentation; embedded digital processing; wired and wireless communications. Emphasis is placed on learning how to use the tools as well as understanding how they work.


Design Tools

Design and model a solution to a problem from ThinkCycle.

  • Cobalt Tutorial
  • 3D Modeling Diatribe: Should I Use Rhino or Cobalt? (Hayes Raffle)
  • Folding Tutorial: How to Model a Polyhedron by "Folding Up" Flat Polygons (Hayes Raffle)

Laser, Waterjet, NC Knife Cutting

Cut and fabricate something using as many types of materials as possible:

  • Laser Cutter Tutorial
  • Water Cutter Tutorial
  • Manuals for the Laser Cutter and Water Cutter
  • Rasterizing Images on the Laser Cutter (by Amanda Parkes)

Microcontroller Programming

  • Microcontroller Info (by David Merril)
  • Driving Solenoids (by David Merrill)



Circuit Design

  • Joe Paradiso's Electronics Primer Notes (Updated by Michael Sung)
  • Useful Electronic Parts and Circuits Information (Scanned by Michael Sung)
  • Simple Pseudo-Random Sound Generator Example
  • A Funny Video of Circuit De-bugging

Problem 1: How to drive stepmotors?

3D Printing and NC Machining

  • Modela Instructions (by C. Scott Ananian)
  • 3D Printer Instructions (by C. Scott Ananian)
  • John's FabLab Tutorials (by Difrancesco)
  • Site for Making Gears with Printers of Cutters (by Axel Killian)

PCB Design

  • Making a New Schematic/PCB Part in Protel '99 (By David Merrill)
  • Making a PCB on the Modela (Instructions and Software, by CSA)
  • Carving a Protel Circuit Board on the Roland Mill (Additional Suggestions from Hayes Raffle)
  • Making a PCB Fixture Bed (Instructions and CAD Files, by CSA)

Forming and Joining

  • Handy Page of Links to Forming and Joining Resources (Hayes Raffle)

Sensors, Actuators and Displays

  • Joe P Revisited (Parutron)

3D Input


Wired and Wireless Communications

  • Networking Standards Definitions (Axel Kilian with Krikorian)
  • Networking Hardware Schematics, Assembly Code and ORCAD Files
  • Presentation by Raffi Krikorian

Projects Presentation