Desktop Fabrication Workshop

Digital Humanities 2013, Lincoln, NE

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 (8am - 5pm)


Desktop fabrication is the digitization of analog manufacturing techniques. Comparable to desktop publishing, it affords the output of digital content (e.g., 3D models) in physical form (e.g., plastic). It also personalizes production through accessible software and hardware, with more flexibility and rapidity than its analog predecessors. Additive manufacturing is a process whereby a 3D form is constructed by building successive layers of a melted source material (at the moment, this is most often some type of plastic). The technology driving additive manufacturing in the desktop fabrication field is the 3D printer, tabletop devices that materialize digital 3D models.

In this workshop, we will introduce technologies used for desktop fabrication and additive manufacturing, and offer a possible workflow that bridges the digital and physical worlds for work with three­dimensional forms. We will begin by introducing 3D printers, and demonstrate how they operate by printing things throughout the event. The software used in controlling the printer and in preparing models to print will be explained. We will use free software sources so those in attendance can experiment with the tools as they are introduced.

The main elements of the workshop are:


Targeted towards scholars interested in learning about technologies surrounding 3D printing and additive manufacturing, and for accessible solutions to implementing those technologies in their work. Past workshops have been for faculty, graduate and undergraduate students in the humanities; librarians; archivists; GLAM professionals; digital humanities centers. This is an introductory workshop, so little prior experience is necessary, only a desire to learn and be engaged with the topic.

Those attending are asked to bring, if possible, a laptop computer to install and run the software introduced, and a digital camera or smartphone for experimenting with photogrammetry. Workshop facilitators will bring cameras, a 3D printer, plastics, and related materials for the event. By the end of the conference, each participant will have the opportunity to print an object for their own use.

Conference Website

Some handy URLs for planning and reference:


Nebraska Union and Jackie Gaughan Multi-Cultural Center, 14th and R Streets (Second Floor)


Fabrication Materials

123D Models to Edit

Resource List / Bibliography

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Elliott, Devon, Jentery Sayers, and William J. Turkel (2013). Digital Humanities Summer Institute 2013 Coursepak: "Physical Computing and Desktop Fabrication for Humanists."

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