Welcome to IFT6095

Computational Design
for Digital Fabrication

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About this Course

This course provides an introduction to the field of Computational Design for Digital Fabrication. Students will learn about both hardware and algorithmics aspects of various 3D printing processes and other digital fabrication technologies. As the central part of this course, students will learn about simulation- and optimization-based design approaches. We will cover simple forward design methods based on mass-spring systems as well as inverse design methods based on advanced finite-element models of solids, shells, and rods. The theoretical underpinnings of these approaches are formed by numerical linear algebra, unconstrained and constrained optimization, as well as various topics from computational mechanics. The material introduced in class will be richly illustrated using examples from, e.g., mechanical, industrial, and architectural design. The lectures are accompanied by programming exercises, in which students will implement some of the concepts taught in class, as well as by practical exercises on digital fabrication hardware.

Times and Locations

There will be two classes per week, on Wednesdays and Fridays, each two hours long.

Day Time Location Start Date End Date
Wednesdays 13:30 - 15:29 1411 Pav. André-Aisenstadt 09/05/2018 12/05/2018
Fridays 11:30 - 13:29 Z-200 Pav. Claire-McNicoll 09/07/2018 12/07/2018

Can't Wait?

Here are some example projects to browse. More can be found here .

Mechanical Automata

Coros et al. Computational Design of Mechanical Automata. ACM SIGGRAPH '13.


Skouras et al. Designing Inflatable Structures. ACM SIGGRAPH '14.

3D Printing on Stretched Fabric

Perez et al. Computational Design and Automated Fabrication of Kirchhoff Plateau Surfaces. ACM SIGGRAPH '17.



09/05/2018 PDF
The course will start off with an overview of the field, and by answering important questions such as 'what is computational design?' and 'what is digital fabrication?'.

Simulation Basics I

09/07/2018 PDF   GradDesc1D.m

As a fundamental part of virtual prototyping and forward design, this class covers some basic concepts of numerical simulation. Using simple spring networks as an example, we will have an in-depth look at gradient-based function minimization.

3D Printing 101

09/12/2018 PDF
We will take a deep dive into Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), the most widespread process for consumer-level 3D printing. We will discuss parametric modeling of solid objects using OpenSCAD, an open source, scriptable CAD software. We will also have a look at G-Code, which is the de facto standard language used for FDM printers.

Simulation Basics II

09/19/2018 PDF   Matlab

This class will introduce more powerful minimization methods, in particular Newton's method, that leverage second order derivative information of the objective function for faster convergence. In this context, we will also talk about how to solve linear systems, and some of the things that can go wrong when trying to do so.


The accompanying programming exercises are meant to deepen the concepts covered in class. For each programming sheet, we will provide a C++ code framework with basic functionality already in place. This allows you to get straight to the point and implement only the technically interesting and relevant parts. The framework is based on Microsoft Visual Studio 2018 (freely available from here ), as well as GLFW.

Assignment 1

Hand out: September 7
Hand in: September 21 (11:30AM)


75% of the final grade will be determined by the exercise grades, 25% will be determined based on an extended review and in-class presentation of a recent SIGGRAPH article (list to be posted).