Fab Academy Students Challenged to Make Something BIG

CNC & Machining Workshop
Fab Academy Students Challenged to Make Something BIG


The Fab Academy program is a distributed educational model providing advanced digital fabrication instruction for students through a unique, hands-on curriculum and access to technological tools and resources.

In this series, Erin, aka RobotGrrl is going to be sharing her experiences with the program as she progresses through the courses.

The assignment this week at Fab Academy was to make something BIG! Taking everyone on the adventure of learning about materials for milling, the various machines that can be used, tooling, speeds and feeds, and of course joining the pieces together.

It’s a very creative week with many cool projects. Here are some of them!



Torito Pinto by Claudia Aguilar from Fab Lab El Savador taking the Fab Academy at Fab Lab Tecsup in Lima-Petru




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Claudia created this functional and interesting cart, with neat creative details and colours. She documented the entire process from the design, to determining the CNC bit to use, programming the toolpaths, test cuts, and finally cutting the files. With many more steps in between. For all the details, check out her page.

Plywood Motorized Scooter Frame by Dan Moran from Fab Lab Tulsa


“The motivation for this project was to design a utilitarian vehicle that could be fabricated from materials commonly found in hardware stores.  I selected a motorized scooter frame for its versatility, scale, and simplicity.”

“Plywood comprised the scooter’s frame, gate hinges comprised the steering column, and wheelbarrow wheels and tires were used for wheels.  Hex bolts, threaded rod, wood screws, lag screws, tee nuts, and hinges comprised the remaining hardware. ”

Read more about the many factors that went into his design!

PlyWood Infinity BEND by Arely Amaut from Fab Lab Esan



“My inspiration for this week was my exploration on assignment 3 and how to make structures form folding. The technique used for that design, for bending the wood, was wetting it and bending it slowly over a mold. I found a different approach using slots and plywood, and decided this would make the project for learning to work with the shopbot and flexible wood.”

“The design fold wood has modular separations that you can put as you want depending on your necessity. Moreover this gives the structure stability, also you can use flexible separation as you see in the photograph”

She documented her entire process for creating these. Very useful if you want to create your own flexures for larger projects.

Fabbable Everything! There is a collection of interesting projects from Fab Lab BCN. Here is one of them:

Big seven-segment display by Daniel Armengol:


“I wanted to make a big clock, made of four big seven-segment displays of wood. During the week I had to adjust timings due that we are a lot of students in our Fab Lab and I focused on making just one digit.”

Read more about the inspiration and design!

Fab Lab Monterrey created a collection of chairs as a team for this week!

Here’s one of them by Ana Karyna Gómez!




“This week we had to design and fabricate something big. Also, this week our Fab Lab will be the venue for the Fab Labs reunion of México, so we decided to take this project as a team and have our visitors participate in a workshop to make something big.”

“The project had to be simple and we needed it to be divided in pieces so everyone on the team could have his own design with the same basis. We decided for a chair in a shape of a hexagon with a diameter of 90cm, using waffle to build it and an orientation of 45° or 90°.”

Read more about her progress. And be sure to look at the other chairs created by the Fab Lab MTY members!

Sometimes not everything goes as planned.

Here is an interesting reflection by David Montenegro from Hackspace Catania:

“The most important lesson I’ve (re)learned is that enthusiasm is the first (and most of the time the only) thing that moves you making things better.”

“Don’t lose enthusiasm making slow things and waiting watching the machine works properly (for the first test I spent some days because I used a very slow CAM setting). Fail is ok, fail a lot is ok too, but fail alone in useless time consuming activities is not. It’s bad and it may stop you.”

Marble Table by Anna Aflalo from Fab Lab Wgtn



Anna created a table with a marble maze in it. Along the way she experimented with various joins tests as well. For more info about the project, check out her page!

Big Circular Loom Furniture by Francesca Perona from Fab Lab BCN



“The idea for this week is to make a big circular loom that can function as a piece of furniture to store books, objects, to make rope carpets… and that can (maybe) function as a chair. […] The idea is to use old climbing ropes/flexible ropes to create the circular weave.”

She created a video showing the design of this!

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For more photos and details of the making of, check out her page!

Ocho – Insect Robot Alien by Wilhelm Schütze from Fab Lab UNI


“Took me some time to decide what to do, finally I decided to make an insect-robot-alien character with some moving parts, my idea was to install some electronics on it later (inputs and outputs classes) turning it into an interactive object.”

Check out the renderings of Ocho, the laser cut scale model, and more on his page!

Fossil by Katie Levine from Fab Lab Tel Aviv


“For this week I had BIG plans. I wanted to have a good process and not necessarily a big one. My idea was to combine the milling machine with something natural, to combine nature and a machine and to try something new.”

More info about her process milling the fossil can be found on her site!

Shopbot’s Workstation by Lina Monaco from Green Fab Lab


She started from Evil Mad Science’s CNC Workstation Cart and redrew it to adapt it to their needs, and without any screws or glue using elastic joints.

“For the drawers’ design I had to draw 2 different elastic joint, due to different overlap requirement in front and back side, and 2 different lock joint to fit the base. Than I studied 2 options for the sliding movement/support.”

Read more about the testing of the drawers and how it all assembled!

Field Trip

The lecture began with a virtual field trip to Bill Young’s (of ShopBot) shop broadcasted from Anna Kaziunas France (Make: Books Editor and Fab Academy Dean).


Design For CNC, now available for pre-order on Amazon.

She’s contributing to a new book, “Design for CNC: Practical Joinery Techniques, Projects, and Tips for CNC-routed Furniture” with lead authors Gary Rohrbacher and Anne Filson of AtFab and Bill Young of ShopBot. All of the projects from the book will be displayed at World Maker Faire New York. You can check out the video for the field trip and all the info.

More Projects

‘Make something big’ is a very creative week. These were just a sample of the many interesting projects! To see more, look at the students pages.

Stay tuned to the Make: blog for the next installment in this series about moulding, and later more electronics!

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