University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Art & Design
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Digital Fabrication + Design


The Digital Fabrication + Design Program is devoted to a simple goal, to move the art and technology of Craft forward by building on the past. Our students are artists, with the hands of a craftsman, the mind of an engineer and the imagination of a dreamer. Our students blend traditional hand crafted artistry with cutting edge technology using methods from industry, the tech lab, metalsmiths, machinists, computer programmers, and “blue sky” inventors. We fuse the history of Object Making with the future of Craft; leading Craft and Design to places no one thought possible.

Our students get to do one of the most wonderful things imaginable, and that is, create new and innovative objects. Taking everyday materials, metal, silicon, binary code, we mold, shape, and transform them into living Objects, with vitality, emotion and soul. We believe in the power of these living Objects to help tell a story. Bold, distinctive and enduring stories that make a difference in the lives of the people who use them.

Digital Fabrication + Design BA

The BA in Digital Fabrication + Design synthesizes programmatic experiences that exist across the Department of Art & Design. They are brought together to form a cohesive curriculum in research into applications of design thinking and object making using digital fabrication. The BA in Digital Fabrication + Design makes design for digital fabrication its focus, rather than as an auxiliary exploration in the related curricula of Jewelry and Metalsmithing, Design and Visual Communication, Sculpture, Ceramics, Fibers, and Digital Studio Practice.

Digital Fabrication + Design Certificate

The Certificate in Digital Fabrication + Design is related to the  BA in Digital Fabrication + Design. The Certificate takes the 6 required core courses of the BA and creates the stand-alone certificate so that the content is available to students who are pursuing other majors that are relevant to Digital Fabrication + Design. Students do not need to be a double major or pursue a second degree to experience the coursework.


ART 277 Design for Digital Fabrication
ART 278 Introduction to Industrial Craft
ART 378 Industrial Processes & Fabrication
ART 478 3D Digital Fabrication & Craft
ART 578 Research in Digital Fabrication and Craft
ART 527 Research in Universal Design and Fabrication


  • The Digital Craft Research Lab (DCRL) see facilities
  • Active Visiting Artist Program: recent artists have included Arthur Hash and Nicole Jacquard
  • Artist in Residency Program: artist Leo Berk, recently utilized the DCRL and with assistance from DF+D student workers created three art works for an exhibition at INOVA contemporary art gallery
  • Frequent collaborations with students and faculty in Architecture, Engineering, and Health Sciences
  • Participation in exhibitions and collaborative projects within the Milwaukee Maker community such as Maker Fest and Maker Faire
  • Field trips to local prototyping facilities
  • Involvement with Engineers Without Boarders to create solar rechargeable reading lamps for children in Guatemala
  • Involvement and frequent collaboration with the e-NABLE group on the design and development of 3D printed experimental prosthetic devices.
  • Summer workshops in digital fabrication



The Digital Craft Research Lab (DCRL) is housed in the Kenilworth Square East Building on the third floor. The lab is made up of two separate spaces:

A 2,500 ft2 CAD/FAB LAB contains eighteen PC workstations with 3D Connexion mice, a digitizing arm, a Sense handheld 3D scanner, a Next Engine HD 3D Scanner, several Rep Rap based 3D printers, three Makerbots, a Form 1 SLA printer, a ZCorp 402C 3D printer, a Wacom tablet, a vinyl cutter, two Potter 20 ton hydraulic presses, two Shapeoko CNC routers, three mini lathes, two mini milling machines, an acrylic bender, a bending brake, a bench shear, a drill press, two flex shafts, a powder coating set-up, anodizing baths and dies, and basic hand tools.

A 625 ft2 CAM/FAB LAB contains a vertical metal cutting bandsaw, a horizontal metal cutting bandsaw, three Beaumont metal grinders, a drill press, a manual tool room lathe, two vacuum formers, a sandblast cabinet, several numeric controlled machines such an 4’x8’ CNC router, an Epilog laser cutter, and a Tormach PCNC 1100 (capable of machining aluminum, steel, and titanium), and basic fabrication equipment.

Collaborative Program Partners

Hubei University of Technology 3+1 Collaborative Program