School of Visual Arts
Products of Design
PDG-5080-A Making Studio
Fall 2017
Time: Thursdays 5pm to 7:50pm (Sept 7-Oct 26)
and Tuesdays 10am-12:50pm (Oct 31-Dec 12)
Location: Visible Futures Lab 7th floor 132 West 21 Street (east side)
Class blog:

Instructor: Becky Stern
SVA email: rstern4[@]

Course Description
As the impacts and consequences of mass production become better understood, designers are finding great attraction in the re-emergent fields of making, hacking, modding, and DIY. This course exposes students to techniques, tools, and resources for expanding what we can make ourselves. In-class workshops, field trips, and guest instructors will inform individual and group assignments around the creation of a small-scale handmade product line. Students will combine traditional and novel techniques and materials in electronics, computation, crafts, fabrication, entrepreneurship, and other do-it-yourself areas. The course will provide great emphasis on participating in online communities about making, and through the instructor, students will have opportunities for online exposure and access to a stellar network of innovators, hackers, hobbyists, and crafters producing DIY projects.

Course Objectives
Makers today have all the resources available to them to fully develop a product idea into a small business. Methods of fabrication like laser cutting, CNC milling, and 3D printing— once only available to large corporations— have recently become easily accessible for just about anyone. Likewise craft techniques like sewing and knitting can be simple to learn and open up a wide new ability to express creative ideas. This course will offer an introduction to many kinds of making, including electronics/physical computing with Arduino, and will give the student the confidence to move well beyond ideation and concepts to creating products of design that are fully realized and fully functional.

Course Outline
Schedule may change to accommodate visiting instructors and field trips. Unless stated otherwise, assignments are due via class blog post by 8pm the night before class.

Week 1 Sept 7 Intros, syllabus & class blog overview, Project 1 assigned (Teardown)
Week 2 Sept 14 Arduino workshop
Week 3 Sept 21 Project 1 discussion, introduction to Project 2 (plush night light)
Week 4 Sept 28 In-class work session with sewing/soldering workshop
Week 5 Oct 5 In progress critique
Week 6 Oct 12 Project 2 presentations
Week 7 Oct 19 Arduino workshop, introduction of Project 3 (innovative switch)
Week 8 Oct 26 In class work time – midterm dossiers due

*class changes from Thursday nights to Tuesday mornings*

Week 9 Oct 31 In class work time/1-1 meetings
Week 10 Nov 7 Project 3 presentations, Video documentation presentation, Final Project discussion
Week 11 Nov 14 Arduino workshop/in class work time
Week 12 Nov 21 Peer-supported writing workshop/1-1 meetings
Week 13 Nov 28 Final Project in-progress critiques
Week 14 Dec 5 Final Project presentations
Week 15 Dec 12 Final Project presentations
Dec 19 Final dossiers due (required for passing grade)

Learning Outcomes

Experience new methods of making
Develop knowledge and hands-on skills in basic electronics and physical computing
Develop hands-on skills in student-selected crafts: sewing, soft circuits, knitting, jewelry,
laser cutting, 3D printing
Create portfolio-building products and projects
Engage with a huge online maker community through sharing projects, groups, blogs, and
Document projects through photography, video, and writing
Release tutorials online
Experience publishing projects as how-to manuals
Learn to self-promote online
Cultivate resources and confidence for creating a business around independent making

Required Reading

The course Arduino exercises will loosely follow the Instructables Arduino Class and Internet of Things Class.

The course book is Getting Started with Arduino. Use it to look up Arduino terms and questions, and read the background chapters at your own pace— you will not be explicitly assigned readings from the book, yet are expected to read the entire book during the course.

Students are encouraged to use an RSS reader to research DIY and maker-related blogs.

Some texts may also be assigned. They will be handed out in class or sent out by e-mail for discussion in future class meetings.

Materials and Supplies
You will need access to a digital still and video camera for this course. Access to lighting equipment, microphone, and tripod are highly recommended. The computer(s) you use for this course must be capable of internet access, photo manipulation, and video editing. Use of platform-agnostic and open source technologies are highly encouraged. Materials and supplies will vary based on each student or team project’s needs and may be available directly through the VFL. However, in the case of a workshop, supply acquisition may be organized by the instructor for convenience.

For our Arduino workshops, the department has prepurchased your electronics components.

Some resources for further shopping/downloads/services:
Tinkersphere – local NYC shop

instructables.comfree premium acct for students

Autodesk Fusion 360

Criteria for Evaluation
Participation and communication: Your participation in class will be evaluated not just in the classroom through discussions and group project work, but also online through the class blog and other sharing outlets including photo, video, tutorial, and social media sites. Plentiful, frequent, high-quality, and well-organized contributions to class and the web are essential.

Individual and group assignments: You will be evaluated on your production of four projects over the course of the semester. Your projects will be evaluated based on cultural merit (benefit/relevance to target community), writing, photography, videography, and documentation online.

Project Dossiers
In addition to other requirements for the course, a passing grade will require the submission of a project dossier one week after the final class. (For courses that are a full 15 weeks in duration, an additional midterm dossier is required on week 8.)

For 15-week courses, two project dossiers will be required: One dossier due on week 8 of the course, and one dossier due one week after the last class of the semester

For 7-week and 5-week courses, one dossier will be required, one week after the last day of class. Please make it clear to your students that they will not receive a passing grade unless they provide the dossier on time, and please include the paragraph above in your syllabus so students are well prepared.

Each Project Dossier must include:
• A completed Project Dossier PDF Form.
• Five process images that fit the photography specs for the department.
• Five final images that fit the photography specs for the department.
• Any other applicable assets such as pdfs, slideshares, etc.
• Proper citation of all sources.
• Delivery: You must send a link to your Dossier via your email address—not directly through Dropbox. The email must be addressed to your instructor, with the Director of Operations and the Department Chair on copy by the date specified, and must be located in the appropriate Products of Design Dropbox dossier folder.

Instructor Addendum
Schedule office hours with me in person or by email— I can meet with you at SVA or via Skype/Google+ Hangout. Please let me know in as far advance as possible if you must miss a class or will be late (by email or text message if necessary).