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2014 | CMU course syllabus | 3D Media Studio I1 (Hey Robot, Let's Make Something) A1
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Carnegie Mellon University School of Art

Course:         60130 - 3D Media Studio I1 (Hey Robot, Let’s Make Something) Section D2

Times:                T/TH 6.30pm/9.20pm

Location:         Dougherty Hall D200, CFA 317 Computing Cluster

Facilities:         CMU ArtFab Doherty Hall (C200, D200, D315)

Digital Arts Studio @ Dougherty Hall

Contacts:        Instructor: Steve Gurysh (


This seven-week mini has three goals:

  1. Expose students to the canonic and experimental repertoire and techniques of digital fabrication
  2. Familiarize students with the digital fabrication facilities available at Carnegie Mellon
  3. Develop proficiency in digital-physical workflow involving a versatile CAD environment (i.e. Rhino3d, RhinoCam, Pepakura, Grasshopper, Illustrator) and four CNC fabrication machines (laser cutter, vinyl cutter, CNC router, 3D printer).  

The course begins with an intensive boot-camp in Rhino3d, followed by fabrication assignments for each machine.  The assignments will encompass standard building/fastening techniques suited to each machine (i.e. perforation folding, joinery, waffling, etc), as well as conceptual associations and interpretations of digital fabrication in contemporary art.


Upon successful completion of this course, students will:



Class and laboratory hours for this course are complimented with a number of web-based communication and documentation tools including email, Blackboard, and a class blog.  Students are required to familiarize themselves with these systems, closely follow correspondences and contribute to discussions and documentation efforts.  Specifically, students must document all class projects with the specifications provided by the instructor (i.e. using text, photos, and accompanying digital files).


Some facts:

  1. TWO weeks of computer-aided-design (CAD) training
  2. ONE weeks of making with Laser Cutter
  3. ONE week of CAD + Hand Router
  4. TWO weeks of making with CNC-Router
  5. ONE week of final project

A overview of the course material over the seven week period:


Students are required to be attentive, active and fully present during class time.  Text message, phone calls, emails, facebook and other forms of digital social networking will result in an absentee mark for the day.


Consistent attendance is mandatory.  Students are allowed two unexcused absences; further unexcused absences will lower your grade for the session by one letter for each additional absence.  Attendance will be taken at the beginning of class.  If you arrive more than 15 minutes into the class period, you will be marked as absent for the day.  Three late arrivals of more than 5 minutes will amount to an absentee.

If you have a class or work schedule issue & anticipate being somewhat later on a regular basis, please see see the instructor during the first week of the semester.


Student are required to participate in every aspect of class activity, during class time and online through the course blog; please see the grading section below for details.  Students are required to make at least one post onto the blog for each class (a total of 14 posts); these posts should convey the students research process, reveal what stages of the project occupies him/her, and trigger further discussion and interaction.  These posts can take shape in references to existing artists whose work relate to the class theme, references to existing works that address the miniature or interactive art, references to other courses addressing our topics of interest, references to relevant existing tools/technologies. Every post should contain at least one paragraph of prose the describes the author’s interest in the subject matter and how it relates to class topics and projects.


Critiques occur on Tuesdays and their attendance is essential.  Failure to attend will impact both your class participation grade and your project grade.  On critique days, all students are expected to be set-up & ready to participate at the beginning of the class period. Ci


Your final grade is calculated based entirely on your contributions to the class blog.  Accordingly, the following markers of your participation and contribution to the course must all be posted to the blog:

The final grade for the course will be calculated based on the following formula:

Attendance:                         mandatory ( > 2 absences reduces your grade)

Class participation:                 20%

Five Weekly assignments        50% (10% each)

Last Assignment:                30%

Class participation makes up 20% of the final grade; This portion of your grade is calculated based on your presence and attentiveness in class, as well as your contributions to class discussions and class-web-site references and discussions.

Each assignment counts as 10% of your final grade is based on two considerations:

Concept and Execution are each graded on a scale of 0 to 2 (integers only); the scores for concept and execution are averaged and rounded up to give your final grade for each assignment.  The scale of 0 to 2 indicates:

The last assignment makes up %20 of your final grade; this assignment must be either and integrative project (drawing from concepts or techniques you used in your previous assignments) or iterative project (re-make and improve a past assignment).  Students are encouraged to begin thinking about the final assignment as early as possible as it aims to help you synthesize the numerous concepts and techniques covered in the entire class.