May 09, 2018
6 min read

If you can think it, you can Dig It. Fab It. Make It!

Last week Dig It. Fab It. Make It. attendees were inspired by forward-thinking presenters, student designers and educators at the forefront of the digital fabrication movement. It’s impossible to choose one highlight so let’s break the day down:

“Today we program computers and machines. Tomorrow we program matter itself” 

Skylar Tibbits captivated the audience with his insights on the magical power of programmable matter and the emerging ability to print biomimetically with 4D printing.

Tibbits, the inventor of 4D printing, opened our eyes to a future reality where programming matter itself is as commonplace as programming today’s computers and machines. 4D printing is defined as “the fabrication of objects through the deposition of a material using a print head, nozzle, or other printer technology where the objects contain one or more additional design dimension, such as material gradation over distance or direction, response or adaptation over time, etc.”

We especially enjoyed Skylar’s visionary outlook on the positive environmental impact adaptive, self-assembling architecture and design will have. The potential benefits range from cutting down waste, to reducing the carbon footprint of making and shipping objects by enabling designs to ship flat and grow into origami-like shapes, to creating clothing and footwear that adapt according to the environment.


Want to hear more? Check out this interview of Skylar from Fast Company media on his vision for 4D printing in the future.

Heartwarming evidence of the upward climb of females in the field of engineering as they are propelled forward with access to 3D printing technology

Gina Scala speaks to New England Educators at this year’s Dig It. Fab It. Make It.

Gina Scala, Stratasys’ Director of Global Marketing for Education, presented stories from across the world of women and girls who are making notable strides in the STEM field using 3DP to innovate and inspire. What’s more, the evidence was right in the room – we were so pleased to see that nearly half of the student innovators this year were young women!



Want more? Gina provided us with this “Top 10 3D Printing Resource Guide for Educators” courtesy of Stratasys.

Best in Show? An ACL Dog Brace for Izzy takes the New England Extreme Redesign Grand Prize!

Emily Stys made Pentucket Regional High School proud with her winning ACL dog brace design. Born from a real-world problem, Emily was motivated by a desire to help her teacher’s dog Izzy heal from a debilitating ACL injury. Evidence showed it clearly worked as Izzy contentedly trotted around the WPI campus like a champ all day!

MakerBot’s Chris Franks quipped:

“When I saw her project and spoke with her it reminded me of a story that came out of Xavier University and their MakerBot Innovation Center. The community over there rallied around a dog with a leg defect to design and print prosthetic solutions for her.

The thing is, I didn’t need to tell Emily this story. Not only had she heard the story but had visited Xavier and spent time at the MakerBot Innovation Center. It was that experience and the presence of the technology that helped her make her decision to enroll at Xavier for this coming fall.”


Congrats to Emily and best of luck as a freshman at Xavier!


In second place, Aura Sofia Cardona impressed attendees with her uber-cool lightweight 3D printed Guitar design.

Congratulations Sofia!


The Arlington High School STEAM team brought home another win this year with their Makerspace Drone designed for speed.

AHS STEAM team: Juli McCabe, Ionis Kutrolli, Seiji Yoshihara, Adam Deck, Harry Averill, and Sam Overbeck along with Rebecca Kalik, Julia Toplin, and Shea O’day (not pictured).

Great work Arlington High team!!

Check out the impressive range of design projects from New England’s brightest students in the event gallery below. Innovations ranged from a “Frost- Free Eyeglass” design and a “Diabetic Insulin Carrier” to an advanced version of the “Efficient Aero-Elastic Flutter Energy Harvester” by returning student Dylan Derosier.

A Lively Guest Panel of Educators Pioneering the Digital Fabrication Landscape 

We’re so pleased to have added this new feature to Dig it. Fab it. Make it! Former high school CAD instructor and AET Labs’ own Mark Lyons deftly navigated this insightful panel discussion with trailblazing STEM advocates who graciously shared best practices, successful projects and strategies for integrated digital fabrication into the classroom.


Left to right: Shuvom Ghose – GrabCAD, Mitch Sweet – Diman Regional Vocational High School, Dustin Ricci – Windsor High School, Jennifer Harris – Southern New Hampshire University, Amy Fish – Bourne Public Schools and Paul Duplessis – Marlborough High School.

A giant thank you to our sponsors Stratasys and GrabCAD, our esteemed keynote speaker Skylar Tibbits, our friend Gina Scala and our guest panel who so generously shared their wisdom and digital fabrication knowledge with attendees. We are especially grateful to our friends at MakerBot for supporting this event again with two MakerBot 3D printer donations – one for our winning student and another for our lucky instructor, Dolly Ryan of Belmont Country Day School. Special thanks to Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) for their online STEM scholarship donation of $1000 to our winning student/team! Lastly, thank you WPI for your continued support of this special STEM event! Congratulations again to all the students who participated – your future is bright and we couldn’t be prouder!

Onward and upward next year! We look forward to seeing everyone at Dig It. Fab It. Make It. 2019!