Designing for building at a fab lab is not hard. And we at MindGear go out of our way to make it easier. There are a few key points that you need to know though.

  • Build, Test, Build – The mantra for engineers and artists alike. Your project likely won’t come out perfect the first time, but that is part of the fun. Build the simplest version of your project you can and iterate based on the results. MindGear keeps cheap material alternatives (cardboard, MDF, etc.) for these first iterations.
  • Ask for Help! – Our lab technicians are there to help! And other Fabologists (our members) are almost always willing to offer advice. No need to get stuck and frustrated when so many are ready to give you a hand.
  • Stay Safe – Your safety is paramount at MindGear. Our equipment is much safer than a woodworking or metal shop because you don’t stand next to the equipment while it’s cutting! The computer handles controlling the material and tools while you watch from a safe distance. We also require that you not load or unload the equipment unless you’ve had the appropriate 2d/3d class. And our lab assistants are there to help in case you have any problems.

Keeping these points in mind, lets get your first iteration started. Figure out the simplest design you wish to make. Then:

  • Sketch your idea out on paper. Don’t erase any sketches, just move to a clean area and sketch again. you’ll be surprised how many times you refer to a previous sketch.
  • Examine your design and determine how many pieces need to be cut. How will your pieces fit together?
  • Design each piece separately using the appropriate 2d or 3d software.