Digital fabrication is a way to take various forms of design modeled on 3D computer software, and constructing it physically using additive and subtractive methods through a variety of machines such as laser cutters, 3D printers, CNC mills, etc. While these kinds of technology is often used by companies in the industry, the advancement of technology has made these machines more accessible to students, and almost anyone who is interested.
Falso Industries is a “custom manufacturer” right here in Syracuse. It was established in 1950, and switched to a new partnership between two cousins, Raymond Falso and Richard Lorio, to bring Falso Industries. They doubled their sales by refocusing their company and expanding.They specialize in precisely manufactured metal parts custom made for a variety of situations. According to their website, they work in “electronics, scientific and testing equipment, consumer products, industrial processing and machinery and the transportation industry.”
Slocum Hall is the home of the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. The building houses all years of architects and holds all of the architecture classes offered at the University. It is also home to two computer labs, a plot room, a wood shop, laser cutters, cnc mill, 3D printers, and a vacuum former. While the wood shop and the plot room have students to run the services till late at night, other facilities are run by specific staff and are kept very up to date with technology. The machines are all located on the ground floor of Slocum Hall. Once you submit a file, it’s first come-first served. So if there is line, you would need to wait. This is one of the reasons it’s important to recognize the various options available to fabricate. All files are submitted digitally through the School of Architecture computers.
The warehouse downtown is home to many design majors and holds a variety of classes. The building is home to the Industrial Design studio which, similar to Architecture, also benefits greatly from digital fabrication methods available. The Warehouse operates laser cutters, 3D printers, and a CNC Mill. Similar to the culture at Slocum Hall, the services are run by staff with a great range of student support at the Warehouse. The machines are located on the ground floor of the Warehouse. Once you enter from the main entrance, take a left, pass security, and you will see the CNC mill behind a glass panel! Once you submit a file, it’s first come-first served, just like Slocum Hall. All files are submitted digitally via email at email@example.com. The machines are available to all students.
What is 3D printing?
3D printing might be a new term for many people. The idea of printing something in three dimensions might be strange and futuristic idea. However, the technology has been around for decades and various companies use 3D printing for all sorts of applications. The concept is quite simple; print something layer by layer, until the entire object is built. Nike, for example, use 3D printers to create mock-up prints of their new shoe designs in various colors.
What is Laser Cutting?
Laser cutting, as the name suggests, is a form of cutting materials using the powerful beam of a laser. It is one of the most commonly used forms of digital fabrication. Needless to say, it is used often for industrial manufacturing, but is also commonly used by individuals for a variety of uses. Laser cutters can cut all sorts of materials, from thick paper to pieces of metal. One draw back, arguably, is that it cannot cut through very deep materials. In these cases however, a CNC mill will most likely be used.
What is CNC Milling
CNC milling, or ‘computer numerical control’ milling, is a simple and effect form of digital fabrication. This technology is often the most common type of digital fabrication found in many different kinds of shops. The CNC is essentially a drill, mounted on a multi-axial arm which cuts away at material from the top. It is accurate, straightforward and fairly fast. The CNC mill is a much different concept than a 3D printer, primarily because it cannot carve under the material it is milling. This means that there cannot be any cantilever like structure in the model, as the milling arm cannot reach underneath it.
What is Vacuum Forming?
Vacuum forming is yet another straight forward, yet very effect way of fabrication. This process involves taking a 3D object or mold, heating and melting a film of plastic, and placing it over the object so that the plastic takes it’s shape and dries in that form. A usual form of application for this technology is the kind of plastic wrapping a toothbrush, or some headphones, might come in. It is also often used for the fabrication of car dashboards.