A Future In Digital Fabrication

Today’s Topics:

  • What is Digital Fabrication?
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • My Interests in Digital Fabrication

What is Digital Fabrication?

In this ever changing world, one of the biggest innovations and improvements in the 21st century is the way that we use technology.

Image from Forbes

In architecture, the field has been one of the slowest of industries to evolve into this technological world.

In past times Architects would always use pen and paper to make architectural drawings.

In this day and age, digital processes are becoming more and more important.

Image from Pexels

One of the most important steps in connecting a digital world to the built environment is through digital fabrication.

If you can design something on a computer, it is so much easier to just tell a machine “this is what I want” because it gives you so much more precision and accuracy than doing the same task by hand.

I think that for the next 10 years, digital fabrication will be on a major climb as we move to live in a more sustainable world.

Additive Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing is one of the best ways to create 3D parts from a digital model.

There are multiple ways of completing this and essentially you building up your model layer by layer joining materials together to create a form.

Image from Manufactur3D

Here are a couple of different ways this can be done:

  • Binder Jetting
    • A liquid bonding agent joins powdered materials
  • Direct Energy Deposit
    • Thermal energy fusing materials by melting
  • Material Extrusion
    • Also known as regular 3-D printing
  • Material Jetting
    • Droplets of material are selectively deposited
  • Powder Bed Fusion
    • Thermal energy fuses regions of a powder bed
  • Sheet Lamination
    • Sheets of material are bonded to form an object
  • VAT Pilymerization
    • Liquid photopolymer in a VAT is cured by light activation

One of the most widely available additive manufacturing methods used at Virginia Tech is Material Extrusion.

Image from VT School of Architecture + Design

We have various labs that have 3-D printers, as well as multiple resources to help students learn more about it.

My Interest in Digital Fabrication

Growing up, I knew that I wanted to be in a career that deals with technology. Whenever I turned on YouTube, I would always be watching tech videos, or whenever we got new gadgets I always wanted to be the first to figure out how it works.

I first started learning 3-D modeling in high school, and I found a passion in doing that.

Going into college, I knew that I had to advance my knowledge and skill set through practice and finding resources to learn.

In projects I’ve gotten to use 3-D printing as a method to explore complex geometries and learning modes of creating the same thing with different processes.

This coming semester I am gearing up to take classes that will further deepen my knowledge in this subject field to gain more control over the endless possibilities that come with 3-D modeling.


Thanks for tuning into this week’s blog post. I hope you enjoyed it and learned something new! Let me know in the comments. As always, Dream Big!

Published by Alonzo Colon

Architecture Student at Virginia Tech

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