The future (and present) of design is digital. We talk with the directors of the Master in Digital Fabrication and Media

From customised parts for recording a series in 360° to French fries, the versatility of digital fabrication means that it is present in all types of industries, which is why IED Madrid is launching the Master in Digital Fabrication and Media.

Through a learning-by-doing methodology, you will cover the different areas of digital fabrication, both in design and in prototyping, and how to make your prototypes “smart” in order to design efficiently and rapidly.

In addition, the master's degree has a module on entrepreneurship in which you will learn how to turn a project into a viable real product on the market. You will also develop a final project in which you will implement everything you have learned.

A theoretical-practical programme aimed at professionals in any area of design who want to make the leap from industrial manufacturing to digital manufacturing. The master's degree has theory classes, intensive workshops and free access to our Fab Lab laboratory.


IED Madrid Fab Lab


Do you want to know more? Next, we talk with Daniel García López and Ignacio Prieto, the programme directors, about the content of the course, the methodology and much more.





Ignacio Prieto y Daniel García, Directors of the Master in Digital Fabrication and Media

How did the idea of creating a digital fabrication and prototyping programme come about?
We believe that the idea of a designer as a creator only concerned with developing a project on paper (or even a computer) and then, once it has been developed, looking for a way to build it is somewhat obsolete.
In contemporary design, the processes of ideation, digital design and rapid prototyping are simultaneously intertwined, feeding back into each other in order to achieve levels of design that are much more complex and, at the same time, more realistic in terms of manufacturing the design and launching it onto the market.  
At the Fab Lab, it was very common for designers to come along with good ideas in their project with a desire to turn them into a real product that they wanted to launch onto the market. In general, we had to explain to them that, as they had not taken into account any manufacturing constraints, their project was not economically viable as a product and that, if they had only made some small changes at the start, they would have a product that was not only viable but also much stronger.
This integration of design and prototyping processes is something that, even today, people find difficult to understand and only those who control both aspects will be able to make the most of all the advantages that new design and manufacturing processes offer.
I'll give you an example, it costs the same for digital manufacturing machines to make 100 equal copies as it does for them to make 100 different models; so, if I'm going to make a suit, on a CNC fabric cutting machine or a laser cutting machine, it will cost the same to make 100 suits that are the same as it will to make 100 different custom-made ones. Therefore, if I have drawn the suit’s cutting pattern using parametric software, then by simply entering a person’s measurements, the pattern will be automatically adjusted for that person. What's more, if we take these measurements by scanning the body of several people, the design can be automatically adjusted to each person and cut to fit each body without any effort or time. Through Digital Fabrication and Computational Design, we are able to make industrial processes create customised and unique products. A kind of "digital craftsmanship".

The programme is divided into 10 modules that can be taken independently or together. What will students learn during the course of the master's degree?
Students will learn all the stages for developing a project, starting with computational design with complex and parametric geometries, and then the different techniques for rapid prototyping and digital manufacturing, up to programming, interactivity, robotics etc... in order to make your projects “smart” and able to communicate with each other (IoT), be linked to the body (Wearables) or interact with the environment (robotics or Visual Arts).

The methodology of the programme is online and face-to-face through classes with the best international professionals, workshops and practical sessions. What are the benefits of this methodology?
We think that in the 21st century, there is no point in coming to class to sit down and receive an explanation. That's why we do the theory with online connections (live) on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings, so that during the week students can come to the Fab Lab and put into practice what they have learned with the help of tutors in a way that is more similar to "learning by doing".Furthermore, this system allows us to have great teachers, regardless of where they live, so the Arduino classes, for example, will be taught by one of the founders of Arduino, David Cuartielles from Sweden. In addition, in order to conclude each of the modules, we will hold an intensive four-day workshop to which international teachers will come in order for students to perform a project that brings together everything they have learned during the module.
The practical sessions of the master’s degree will mainly take place in the Fab Lab of the IED Innovation Lab. Can you tell us more about this space?
The Fab Lab of the IED Innovation Lab is a prototyping centre where students can develop almost anything that they are able to imagine.
It consists of over 400 m² of open workshop where we have a load of machines with different manufacturing processes, both digital (laser, 3D printers, CNC milling machines, vinyl cutters, electronic bench, etc.) and manual (tools for working on wood, foam, plastics, etc.) as well as for finishing (paint booth, silkscreen printing, silicones, etc.). To be able to develop practically anything that they want. At the Fab Lab, we have a manufacturing process that meets the needs of our students.
In addition, it is integrated into the international Fab Labs network of the Fab Foundation, with which we share protocols and procedures.

What profiles are able to find the perfect scenario for their professional development in the master’s degree?
The master's degree is aimed at people with creative professions who are aiming to be able to develop complex projects in all their stages (ideation, development, prototyping and marketing).
Students do not need to have prior knowledge of technology (but they do need to be inquisitive, curious and eager to do things) because what the master’s degree specifically does is to provide designers with the technological and digital tools necessary for them to be able to lead the change undergone by society, companies and industry over the last 50 years with the three digital revolutions (communication, computing and manufacturing).