How to Make (Almost) Anything
By Casey Evans
This article is about the course at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For other uses, see How to Make (Almost) Anything (disambiguation).
The MIT course How to Make (Almost) Anything, provides a practical hands-on introduction to digital fabrication, including CAD/CAM/CAE, NC machining, 3-D printing and scanning, molding and casting, composites, laser and waterjet cutting, PCB design and fabrication; sensors and actuators; mixed-signal instrumentation, embedded processing, and wired and wireless communications. Develops an understanding of these capabilities through projects using them individually and jointly to create functional systems. The course is worth 18 units.
- 1.1Introduction and Computer-Aided Design
- 1.2Project Management and Computer-controlled Cutting
- 1.3Electronics Production
- 1.43D Scanning and Printing
- 1.5Electronics Design
- 1.6Computer-Controlled Machining
- 1.7Embedded Programming
- 1.8Molding and Casting
- 1.9Output Devices
- 1.10Machine Design
- 1.11Input Devices
- 1.12Interface and Application Programming
- 1.13Networking and Communications
- 2Final Project
Where I started (ie my application)
My name is Casey Evans and I am a first year graduate student in the Technology Policy program. I am also pursuing a dual degree with EECS. For the next two years I will be a military fellow working at Lincoln Laboratory on brain imaging technologies (fNIRS, fDCS, miniaturization, wearable devices, BCI applications). After getting my degree(s) I will attend pilot training. I am interested in this course both for its ability to provide me with a solid background to set up our testbed this year and also for the long term practical experience it will afford me. As a pilot in the US Air Force, I feel this course will help me be an active problem solver and add depth to Test Pilot School and (hopefully, eventually) astronaut training applications. I also think this would be an amazing set of tools to pursue my interests in film making, gaming, and education. I have worked at a rudimentary level in Adobe Fireworks, AutoCAD, SolidWorks and COMSOL, done some woodworking (custom saber case, birdhouse, assembling IKEA furniture), soldering and messed around with some chip design software. I also worked framing and siding with Habitat for Humanity, if that counts.
Where I am now (ie my take-aways)
Still thinking. "The class starts next week, it takes years to unpack what you've learned here."-Neil. So true. I feel like I can use much of what I learned here to learn more. I hope I get the time to try it out. I now have many doors revealed to me as possible paths to take to learn more about making things. This section was meant to be a kind of summary but I don't really have time for that so I guess the table of contents is a good enough synopsis of the doors that are available. Basically, I'm no master at anything right now but I see loads of places where I can work and get better that I didn't even really know existed or thought were some mystical impossibility before this class.
Feedback, recommendations, thoughts. These sections are short because I'm running out of time, but our lab could have been open more frequently, training could have been done like right after class instead of Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun which left very little time to actually do the projects. TAs could look over weekly projects and give feedback about whether or not we're on the right track (I can see how it's kind of our responsibility to ask but it's also kind of strange to ask so if it was an expectation it would be better). Otherwise and anyways, awesome course and I'm glad to have taken it!