Cambridge, MA | June 17 - 19, 2018

This special meeting of the SCF, hosted by the Center for Bits & Atoms (CBA), focuses on the developments today that we predict will guide developments in this area for the next 50 years. This special meeting was inspired by the previous CBA Science of Digital Fabrication meeting. This year, SCF is will be held coincident with a special event honouring Fab Lab pioneer Mel King.

In order to provide a general framework for the diverse topics encompassed by SCF, we are organizing this year’s sessions around the following themes:

  • Conception: design inception, representation, discovery process, and refinement
  • Implementation: hardware and software tools and materials to realize designs
  • Application: what is the real-world relevance of realized designs
  • Implication: what are the broader social impacts of applied designs

Please visit last year's website: SCF 2017, for an overview of all previous keynote speakers and submissions.


Chuck Hoberman (incomplete)

Amit Nambiar

Sherry Lassiter

Caitlin Mueller (incomplete)

Ole Untzelmann

Osman Yirmibesoglu

Ben Jenett

Ryan Schmidt

Dan Aukes

Sam Calisch

Jenny Lin

Yue Hao

Ella Moora

Ayelet Karmon, Tom Shaked

Santanu Chaudhuri

Zjenja Doubrovski, Jouke Verlinden, Changyo Han, Athina Panotopoulou
Yifei Li, Wenzhong Yan, Nathan Melenbrink, Katia Zolotovsky

Shawn Douglas (missing)

Matt Keeter (missing)

Rohit Ramesh (missing)

John Glass (missing)

Amira Abdel-Rahman (missing)

Andrew Spielberg (missing)

Adam Feinberg

Jeffrey Lipton

Jake Read

Jeeeun Kim

Victor Leung

Tico Ballegas

Devon Merrill

Will Langford

Erik Demaine

Neil Gershenfeld, David Levin, Rob MacCurdy, Jim McCann


Santanu Chaudhuri

Argonne National Laboratory

Rethinking Fabrication in a Continuum between Edge and Petascale supercomputing

Abstract: Seamless access to supercomputing and multiphysics simulation capabilities are currently restricted to researchers and engineers engaged in design, testing, and fabrication of complex machineries. As the cost of CPU cycles and access continues to fall, we need to pursue a strategy for democratizing the access to supercomputing to fabrication facilities across the world. We frame this problem as a challenge to grow HPC integration in the design and fabrication of jet engines to a paper clip. In the presentation, the connection between computing capabilities and improved design and performance of products will be explored using examples. In wide ranging problems, computers can iterate and predict new designs. In a slightly more complex case, computers can design new materials which can support a more complex design. Fab labs across the world can follow this iterative cycle of one-upmanship between materials and products design to create entirely new products. National supercomputing centers such Argonne’s leadership computing facility (ALCF) are not designed for seamless flow of problems with hierarchy of complexity between edge and petascale computing. We are advocating for change in this model. Examples from our ongoing effort in embracing this paradigm of integration of edge to petascale computing in manufacturing will be discussed.

Bio: Santanu Chaudhuri is the Director of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, Argonne’s program that develops capabilities to use high-performance computing-based mesoscale simulation tools to accelerate the development and adoption of new materials for manufacturing.

Dr. Chaudhuri earned his Ph.D. in Materials Chemistry and Chemical Physics from SUNY Stony Brook in 2003. As a graduate student, he received a NATO scholarship to work at Oxford University developing simulation methods for ionic conductors, catalysts, and battery materials. From 2003–2006, Chaudhuri worked at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Center for Functional Nanomaterials on theory-guided design of hydrogen storage materials for automobile applications. Subsequently, he joined Washington State University, where he led the development of Applied Sciences efforts and served as an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. In 2014, Chaudhuri moved to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and established the Accelerated Materials Research program as part of the Applied Research Institute.

Prior to joining Argonne, Dr. Chaudhuri served as the Associate Director of the Applied Research Institute (ARI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), responsible for engineering design and simulations. His research group worked on applications of high-performance computing in energy, environment and manufacturing applications for improving efficiency of materials insertion and deployment. He maintains a joint appointment as a Professor in the Civil and Materials Engineering Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Rethinking Fabrication in a Continuum between Edge and Petascale supercomputing

James Coleman

Zahner R&D

James Coleman currently acts as Lead Research and Development Engineer at A. Zahner Company, a company that specializes in computational fabrication and mass customization at an architectural scale. He is involved in the production of 100,000s of unique parts for large scale projects as a digital design and manufacturing specialist.

James holds master’s degrees in both architecture and mechanical engineering from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His current research is centered around parametric design-to-fabrication workflows and one-off automation strategies in both hardware and software.

He has worked internationally as a design engineer on architectural projects of a variety of scales and as a Product Development Engineer at the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. He currently balances working on large scale high profile architectural projects with being one half of the design studio James and the Giant Peek.

With a diverse suite of manufacturing equipment, industrial robots, and custom-made CNC machinery James makes things, breaks things, and invents things with varying levels of success and sophistication.

Keynote: To be announced

Erik Demaine


Fabrication through Folding

Bio: Erik Demaine is a Professor in Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Demaine's research interests range throughout algorithms, from data structures for improving web searches to the geometry of understanding how proteins fold to the computational difficulty of playing games. He received a MacArthur Fellowship as a “computational geometer tackling and solving difficult problems related to folding and bending—moving readily between the theoretical and the playful, with a keen eye to revealing the former in the latter”. He appears in the origami documentaries Between the Folds and NOVA's The Origami Revolution, cowrote a book about the theory of folding (Geometric Folding Algorithms), and a book about the computational complexity of games (Games, Puzzles, and Computation). Together with his father Martin, his interests span the connections between mathematics and art, including curved-crease sculptures in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Renwick Gallery in the Smithsonian.

Fabrication through Folding

Shawn Douglas


Computational tools for designing, simulating, and thinking about biomolecules

Abstract: Biopolymers such as DNA, RNA, and polypeptides are extremely powerful and versatile building materials found in all living organisms. If we can master the art of design and nanofabrication with biopolymers, we will overcome many longstanding technical challenges in materials science, computing, and medicine. To that end, our group is developing software, simulation models, and experimental methods to design, fabricate, and optimize tools and devices built from biopolymers. We are also creating nontraditional simulation tools to lower barriers to characterize, understand, and communicate about these nanoscale materials.

Bio: Shawn Douglas is interested in inventing new methods to construct and manipulate biological molecules at the nanometer scale. To learn more, visit the Douglas Lab at UCSF in the department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology.

You might also check out BIOMOD and cadnano.

Computational tools for designing, simulating, and thinking about biomolecules

Adam W. Feinberg

Carnegie Mellon University

FRESH 3D Printing of Liquid and Soft Materials: New Applications from Regenerative Medicine to Wearable Sensing

Abstract: Over the past decade, 3D bioprinting has rapidly expanded from a niche technology and in to a versatile platform for fabricating tissues with complex geometries and features ranging from the cellular to organ length scales. Here we will discuss our recent progress in the additive manufacturing of complex structures using hydrogels and various thermoset resins that are otherwise impossible to additively manufacture using alternative approaches. These structures are built by embedding the printed material within a temporary, thermoreversible, and biocompatible support fluid. This process, termed freeform reversible embedding of suspended hydrogels (FRESH), enables additive manufacturing of hydrogels with an elastic modulus less than 500 kPa. FRESH 3D printing also enables fabrication with thermoset and composite resins such as epoxies, acrylates, and siloxanes, and can host a range of polymerization mechanisms depending on the printed material, including ionic crosslinking, enzymes, pH change, heat/light exposure, and time-sensitive gelation approaches. We will demonstrate recent advances towards a range of new applications, including 3D printing of collagen for bioengineering functional tissue constructs and of silicone elastomers for patient-specific, wearable medical devices.

Bio: Dr. Feinberg earned a BS in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University in 1999, followed by a Masters (2002) and Ph.D. (2004) in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Florida, where his doctoral work was focused on engineering cell-material interactions to prevent and enhance adhesion. He was then a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University from 2005 to 2010, where he developed new biomaterials and cardiac tissue engineering strategies for 3-dimensional myocardial regeneration, with a focus on stem cell-based approaches. Dr. Feinberg joined CMU in the fall of 2010 as an Assistant Professor with joint appointments in Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering.

FRESH 3D Printing of Liquid and Soft Materials: New Applications from Regenerative Medicine to Wearable Sensing

John Glass

J. Craig Venter Institute

Genomes as software: An operating system for a minimal bacterial cell

Abstract: Living cells, like computers, can be seen as material implementations of Turing machines… Consider two of the signature accomplishments of the new field of synthetic biology. In building what has been called a synthetic bacterial cell and in designing and building a synthetic bacterial cell that encodes only a minimal set of genes necessary for cellular life, we have come to view living cells through the metaphor of a computer. The hardware is the membrane envelope, the protein synthesizing ribosomes, the proteins, metabolites, and the cytoplasm. The software, i.e. the operating system of the cell, is the DNA genome. The cell is capable of replicating itself. From this formalism of the Turing machine metaphor for a living cell, the question of “what are the tasks that a living cell must perform?” will be discussed to provide a somewhat utilitarian answer to the question of “what is life”?

Bio: Dr. John Glass is a Professor and leader of the JCVI Synthetic Biology and Bioenergy Group. His expertise is in molecular biology, microbial pathogenesis, RNA virology, and microbial genomics. Glass is part of the Venter Institute team that created a synthetic bacterial cell. In reaching this milestone the Venter Institute scientists developed the fundamental techniques of the new field of synthetic genomics including genome transplantation and genome assembly. Glass was also leader of the JCVI project that rapidly made synthetic influenza virus vaccine strains in collaboration with Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Inc. and Synthetic Genomics, Inc. At the JCVI he has also led the bacterial outer membrane vesicle based vaccine, genome transplantation, and Mycoplasma genitalium minimal genome projects, and projects studying other mycoplasma and ureaplasma species. Glass and his Venter Institute colleagues are now using synthetic biology and synthetic genomics approaches developed at the JCVI to create cells and organelles with redesigned genomes to make microbes that can produce biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and industrially valuable molecules. Glass is an adjunct faculty member of the University of Maryland at College Park Cellular and Molecular Biology Program, and member of the Global Viral Network Scientific Leadership Board.

Prior to joining the JCVI, Glass spent five years in the Infectious Diseases Research Division of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. There he directed a hepatitis C virology group and a microbial genomics group (1998-2003).

Glass earned his undergraduate (Biology) and graduate degrees (Genetics) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His Ph.D. work was on RNA virus genetics in the laboratory of Gail Wertz. He was on the faculty and did postdoctoral fellowships in the Microbiology Department of the University of Alabama at Birmingham in polio virology with Casey Morrow and mycoplasma pathogenesis with Gail Cassell (1990-1998). On sabbatical leave in Ellson Chen’s lab at Applied Biosystems, Inc.(1995-1997) he sequenced the genome of Ureaplasma parvum and began his study of mycoplasma genomics.

Genomes as software: An operating system for a minimal bacterial cell

Chuck Hoberman

Harvard University / Hoberman Associates

Bio: Chuck Hoberman, internationally known for his transformable structures, seamlessly fuses the disciplines of art, architecture and engineering, Through his products, patents, and structures, Hoberman demonstrates how objects can be foldable, retractable, or shape-shifting.

Keynote: To be announced

Caitlin Mueller


Caitlin Mueller is a researcher, designer, and educator working at the interface of architecture and structural engineering. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Building Technology Program, where she leads the Digital Structures research group.

As a researcher, Mueller focuses on developing new computational methods and tools for synthesizing architectural and structural intentions in early-stage design. She also works in the field of digital fabrication, with a focus on linking high structural performance with new methods of architectural making. In addition to her digital work, she conducts research on the nature of collaboration between architects and engineers from a historical perspective. Mueller also aims for interdisciplinary learning and integration in her teaching efforts, which include subjects in structural design and computational methods.

Keynote: To be announced

Nadya Peek

University of Washington

Nadya Peek develops unconventional digital fabrication tools, small scale automation, networked controls, and advanced manufacturing systems. Spanning electronics, firmware, software, and mechanics, her research focuses on harnessing the precision of machines for the creativity of individuals.

Nadya is an assistant professor at the University of Washington in the Human-Centered Design and Engineering department where she directs the Machine Agency. She is VP of the Open Source Hardware Association, half of the design studio James and the Giant Peek, and plays drum machines and synths in the band Construction. She completed her PhD on "Making Machines that Make" at MIT in 2016, advised by Neil Gershenfeld. Machines and systems Nadya has built like the "Modular Machines that Make" are shared widely including at SIGGRAPH, CHI, Guggenheim Berlin, and the White House Maker Faire, and she has given keynotes at Chaos Computer Congress, SolidCon, and H.O.P.E. Nadya is an active member of the global fab lab community, making digital fabrication more accessible with better CAD/CAM tools and developing open source hardware machines and control systems.

Nadya is equally comfortable eating street food in China or gathering mushrooms in a Siberian forest, but thinks McMaster-Carr is a great reason to take up residence in the US.

Keynote: To be announced

Ryan Schmidt


Making Legs and Practicing Neurosurgery with Maker Software

Abstract: Computational Tools for Digital Fabrication have vastly expanded the spaces of what can be made and who can make it. While Fabrication Research tends to focus on creative and/or amateur Making, there is increasing use of "Maker Tools" by professionals for serious applications. Autodesk Meshmixer is a Maker design tool that has been downloaded over a million times by a userbase that includes aerospace engineers, dental surgeons, and fourth graders. I will describe how this software has been used to address real-world problems in digital prosthetics and neurosurgery. This usage is being driven by the growing acceptance of Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) in many industries. I will discuss some of the current challenges in the adoption of Additive techniques, and suggest some ways in which Fabrication Research could have a significant impact in advanced manufacturing.

Bio: Ryan Schmidt is the founder of Gradientspace, a 3D software studio developing Advanced Manufacturing and VR-based design tools in Toronto, Canada. He previously led the Design & Fabrication Group at Autodesk Research, after a PhD at the University of Toronto. His 3D design/print tool Meshmixer, acquired by Autodesk in 2011, has been downloaded over 1 million times. He also works with Nia Technologies to bring 3D-printed prosthetics to the developing world.

Making Legs and Practicing Neurosurgery with Maker Software


Sunday, June 17 Location: Mel King Festschrift
6th floor, MIT, Building E14, 75 Amherst St. Cambridge, MA
12:30pm Badge Pickup
2:00pm - 2:15pm SCF & Mel King Festchrift - Opening Remarks
2:15pm - 3:15pm Leading
3:15pm-4:15pm Living
4:15pm - 4:45pm Break
4:45pm - 5:45pm Learning
5:45pm - 6:45pm Making
6:45pm - 7:00pm Mel
7:00pm Reception
Monday, June 18 Location: MIT, Building E14, 6th floor, 75 Amherst St. Cambridge, MA
8:00am Badge Pickup Opens (Coffee available)
8:30am - 9:00am Opening Remarks
9:00am - 9:45am Keynote: Chuck Hoberman
9:45am - 10:00am 5min Abstract/Vignette: "Personal Fabrication (S. Lassiter)"; "Framework for Parametric Furniture Design on the Web (A. Nambiar)"
10:00am - 10:30am Coffee Break
10:30am - 11:15am Keynote: Caitlin Mueller
11:15am - 11:30am 5min Abstract/Vignette: "Robotic Fabrication (B. Jenett)"; "Near-Constant Density Wireframe Meshes for 3D Printing (O. Untzelmann)"; "Silicone 3D Printing of Soft Mechanisms and Architectures (O. Yirmibesoglu)"
11:30am - 1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm - 1:45pm Keynote: Ryan Schmidt
1:45pm - 2:00pm 5min Abstract/Vignette: "Folded Fabrication (S. Calisch)"; "Scripted Strategies for Foldable Robotics (D. Aukes)"
2:00pm - 3:00pm 15 Minute Papers - Session 1
3:00pm - 3:30pm Coffee Break
3:30pm - 4:15pm Keynote: Santanu Chaudhuri
4:15pm - 4:30pm Poster Previews (1 minute per poster)
4:30pm - 5:30pm Poster Session
6:00pm - 9:00pm Banquet
Tuesday, June 19 Location: MIT, Building E14, 6th floor, 75 Amherst St. Cambridge, MA
8:30am Badge Pickup Opens (Coffee available)
9:00am - 9:45am Keynote: Shawn Douglas
9:45am - 10:00am 5min Abstract/Vignette: "Design Fabrication (M. Keeter)"; "Constraint Based Computational Fabrication (R. Ramesh)"
10:00am - 10:30am Coffee Break
10:30am - 11:15am Keynote: John Glass
11:15am - 11:30am 5min Abstract/Vignette: "Game Fabrication (A. Abdel-Rahman)"; "Autosaw: Robot Assisted Carpentry for Mass Customization (A. Spielberg)"
11:30am - 1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm - 1:45pm Keynote: Adam Feinberg
1:45pm - 2:00pm 5min Abstract/Vignette: "Fabricating Fabrication (J. Read)"; "Handed Shearing Auxetics (J. Lipton)"
2:00pm - 3:00pm 15 Minute Papers - Session 2
3:00pm - 3:30pm Coffee Break
3:30pm - 3:45pm 5min Abstract/Vignette: "Assembly Fabrication (W. Langford)"; "Echidna: A Mix-domain Computational Design System (D. Merril)"
3:45pm - 4:30pm Keynote: Erik Demaine
4:30pm Closing Remarks

Paper Sessions

Paper Session #1:

Efficient Transfer Planning for Flat Knitting

Jenny Lin, James McCann and Vidya Narayanan

Making Easily Foldable Nets

Yue Hao, Yun-Hyeong Kim and Jyh-Ming Lien

Precision control of tensile strength in fabric for computational fabrication

Ella Moore, Michael Porter, Ioannis Karamouzas and Victor Zordan

KNITIT: A Computational Tool for Design, Simulation, and Fabrication of Multiple Structured Knits

Ayelet Karmon, Yoav Sterman, Tom Shaked, Eyal Sheffer and Shoval Nir

Paper Session #2:

Expanding & Supporting Workflows Towards Compositional 3D Printing

Jeeeun Kim, Clement Zheng, Haruki Takahashi, Mark Gross, Daniel Ashbrook and Tom Yeh

Prototyping Non-Developable Paper Models without Gluing Tabs

Pok Yin Leung

Computational Design of 3D printed objects

Tico Ballegas (HP)

Other Presenters

CBA Vignettes:

Design Fabrication

Matt Keeter

Fabricating Fabrication

Jake Read

Assembly Fabrication

Will Langford

Game Fabrication

Amira Abdel-Rahman

Folded Fabrication

Sam Calisch

Personal Fabrication

Sherry Lassiter

Robotic Fabrication

Ben Jenett

Extended Abstracts:

Echidna: A Mix-domain Computational Design System

Devon James Merrill, Jorge Garza and Steven Swanson

Near-Constant Density Wireframe Meshes for 3D Printing

Ole Untzelmann and Leif Kobbelt

Silicone 3D Printing of Soft Mechanisms and Architectures

Osman Dogan Yirmibesoglu, Steph Walker and Yigit Menguc

Constraint Based Computational Fabricationn

Rohit Ramesh and Prabal Dutta

Handed Shearing Auxetics

Jeff Lipton

Folded Fabrication

Dan Aukes

Autosaw: Robot Assisted Carpentry for Mass Customization

Andy Spielberg

Framework for Parametric Furniture Design on the Web

Amit Nambiar


Fabricating the Foliage Dress: Computational Design in Couture

Zjenja Doubrovski, Iris van Herpen, Drim Stokhuijzen, Petra Schuddeboom, Noor Aberle and Jouke Verlinden

Constructive composing with a digitally enhanced toy train

Marieke Van Camp, Jouke Verlinden, Lukas Van Campenhout, Guido De Bruyne and Regan Watts

Autosaw: Robot Assisted Carpentry for Mass Customization

Andy Spielberg

BumpMarker: 3D printed marker for simultaneous tagging and weight measurement

Changyo Han and Takeshi Naemura

WatercolorWoodblock Printing

Athina Panotopoulou, Sylvain Paris and Emily Whiting

Algorithmic Quilting Pattern Generation for Pieced Quilts

Yifei Li, David Breen, James McCann and Jessica Hodgins

Fabrication-aware design for furniture with planar pieces

Wenzhong Yan and Ankur Mehta

Low-cost Force-sensing Methods for Evaluating Strength and Stability in Large-scale Unsupervised Construction

Nathan Melenbrink and Justin Werfel

Digital Computation and Fabrication for Guiding Growth of Living Materials

Katia Zolotovsky, Merav Gazit, Ron Weiss and Christine Ortiz


All Events: MIT, Building E14, 6th floor, 75 Amherst St. Cambridge, MA


General Chairs


Neil Gershenfeld

Center for Bits and Atoms


David I.W. Levin

University of Toronto

Rob MacCurdy

University of Colorado, Boulder

Steering Committee


Wojciech Matusik



Bernd Bickel

IST Austria


Daniela Rus



Stefanie Mueller



Stelian Coros

ETH Zurich

Technical Programme Chairs


Emily Whiting

Boston University


Rob Shepherd

Cornell University


Daniel Aukes

Arizona State University


Laura Devendorf

University of Colorado, Boulder

Treasurer | Web | Local Arrangement Chairs


Gavin Barill

University of Toronto


Lawson Fulton

University of Toronto


Lillian Chin