Short Courses in Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing
We have developed three short courses in computer-aided design and manufacturing that are aimed at individuals, artists, designers, and small businesses curious to learn how digital technologies can be used to transform the workplace. These are practical, hands-on courses with extensive 1-1 time with an experienced tutor. You will learn how to generate 2D and 3D computer designs and turn them into physical objects using a laser cutter, CNC router, or 3D printer. Free your imagination to generate ideas, and these courses will give you the skills to transform an idea into a digital design, and ultimately a physical object.
Completion of ANY of our courses makes you eligible to book out our machines on an hourly basis , giving you the opportunity to start new projects using the skills you have gained.
One day course in Laser Cutting and Engraving
Laser cutting and engraving is a CNC technology that allows an amazing range of high-quality 2D and 3D designs and products to be made quickly and easily. Using Inkscape, a free and open-source software program, you will learn how to create designs for cutting and engraving in wood, leather, acrylic, cardboard, and even glass. Laser cutters are increasingly being used by all kinds of businesses and individuals and becoming ever more available. This short course will teach you the basic skills necessary to turn your ideas into reality. We will start by doing some small guided projects in plywood or cardboard. You will learn how to draw shapes, paths, and text objects in inkscape, and how to control the laser cutting process by assigning colors to the different elements of the design. Once you have mastered the basics we will do some more complex tasks like tracing a bitmap, grouping paths, and manipulating curves, and then you can start working on your own projects.
There are no formal entry requirements but you should have some basic computer and mouse skills. You may also want to download and get to know Inkscape before you come, but it is not essential.
Three day course in CNC Routing and Milling
CNC Routing and digital design and manufacturing are fast becoming the norm in furniture production. It can be used not only for high volume production but also for highly complex and individual pieces. Using a range of free and open-source software programs you will learn how to create designs, generate toolpaths, set up the CNC router, and run a routing operation on a full-size machine. This short course will teach you the basics of the cnc routing process, allowing you to develop your skills in your own time, and to return at a later date to cut your own work on our router.
We will start by getting to know the software, and hardware we will be using, and looking at some of the joining techniques available. You will learn how to design work in LibreCAD, a free and open source CAD program by drawing up a plywood stool. Then you will work on a design of your own and prototype it using the laser cutter. Once the designs have been finalized we will look at machining strategies, and generate the tool paths using Sheetcam. You will then learn how to fix the plywood down to the table, fit the correct cutter, home the machine and run the program. Finally, you will assemble your project, and take it home.
One day course in 3D printing
3D printing is still in its infancy but it is set to be the next major manufacturing phenomenon with implications for all walks of life including engineering, medicine as well as art, and design. Using a range of free and open-source software programs you will learn how to create or download designs, modify them for your own use, and process them for 3D Printing. We will be using Cura to process your designs for printing and all completed prints can be taken home with you. In order to generate 3D models we could use programs like Blender, or Freecad.
There are no formal entry requirements, but you should have some basic computer and mouse skills.
These courses are run for groups of three people at a time. If you can get a group together and are interested in any of these courses, or just want more information, please get in touch.
Sessions for youth groups
We have run a variety of training courses for young people. Working with organisations including the Trelya Youth Group, Game Changer and Girls Assemble, we have designed and delivered programs that introduce young people to digital crafts and fabrication. These courses usually consist of three hour sessions held over a period of five or six weeks. On the first day the learners are introduced to the technology, perhaps making a name badge or a small toy. Then they are given a design and make project to research. Over the remaining weeks they are taught the digital skills to design and make the project they have chosen.
Images from youth training
What people have said about the courses,
“Aaron did a great job to teach a complex design program. Enjoyed it very much.” James Mcauslin from London.
” Really enjoyed it –Thanks Aaron”. Fiona Wheeler from London.