Construct3D, Landmark Education in Digital Fabrication Conference held at NYU Tandon, August 1-3, 2023

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Construct3D, the pre-eminent conference for educators using 3D printing and digital fabrication will be held at NYU Tandon’s Makerspace from August 1-3. Keynote speakers include Anouk Wipprecht who combines electronics and fashion to create garments that transcend appearance to adjust to the wearer, monitoring temperature and stress levels, and Sylvia Martinez, co-author of Invent To Learn – Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, called “the bible of the classroom maker movement.”

Tickets are available for this three-day event for $450 and discounted by an additional $100 for educators. Join educators, artists, mathematicians, fabrication companies, and makers on the site of NYU Tandon’s makerspace for a transformative series of conversations and sharing of best practices.

3D printed chocolate from 3D Confectionary. Image courtesy of 3D Confectionary.

Construct3D, founded in 2017 by Matt Griffin and Lizabeth Arum of Ultimaker, and Chip Bobbert of Duke University was hosted at Duke University and led by keynote speakers Sally Coyle (Shopbot), and Skylar Tibbits, founder of MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab. Since 2017, the conference has been held at Georgia Tech, Rice University, and virtually through the pandemic. In person keynote speakers have included Dale Dougherty of Make Media, famed mathematician in 3D printing George Hart, 3D organ printing expert Jordan Miller, and generative design wizkids Nervous System.

Models made with Stratasys PolyJet. Image courtesy of Stratasys.

The inspiration for creating Construct3D was the founders’ observations of the rapid growth of makerspaces and the need to create a forum for effective education practices to be showcased and discussed. In 2020, I joined the founders of the Construct3D team, hosting the conference at Rice University’s Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK). Our facility’s educational approach was a perfect fit for the Construct3D conference, believing that the exciting explosion of tools enabling the act of creation carries a responsibility to effectively educate faculty, staff, and users inside of these makerspaces.

The OEDK was one of the early academic makerspaces to open in 2009 at the dawn of the maker movement, and the teaching needs for digital fabrication were simpler. A limited number of consumer-accessible tools for academic makerspaces produced similarly limited learning outcomes. A noble educational goal at that time would be to simply teach students how to learn and apply the toolchain of CAD to 3D printing, or how to use a small set of other tools. Fast forwarding through the maturity of the maker movement and now most academic makerspaces (including the OEDK) have adopted a wide range of tools available for making, and these tools now number more than can fit in any one space. Students previously arrived in these spaces with no experience in making skills; the majority now arrive with prior knowledge of 3D printers, having utilized them during high school (or even elementary school!). Some even bring their own 3D printers to school.

A 3D printed garment created by Anouk Wipprecht. Image courtesy of Anouk Wipprecht.

Many digital fabrication events showcase the variety and brilliance of these fabrication tools. But rather than simply featuring individuals and groups forging new paths using these tools, the focus of Construct3D has always been to provide a platform for attendees, speakers, and workshop leaders to engage in a rich discussion about best practices and how to meaningfully apply these techniques in classes and across curriculum. Past workshops have included sessions on teaching digital fabrication tools through the practice of soap making, Quickly mastering the CAD moves from TinkerCAD to Fusion360, and using a clay printer to produce typography-inspired creations.

2023’s Construct3D offers a similarly thrilling list of speakers and engaging content with the possibility to completely change how educators incorporate making into their classrooms and classes. A selection of these workshops includes the following:

On August 1, the conference kicks off with keynote speakers Anouk Wipprecht and Matthew Shomper. Following the official opening attendees will move to the Clive Davis Art Gallery for a Digital Fabrication Art Exhibition curated by Darlene Farris-LaBar, Taekyeom Lee, and Jonathan Hils. Programming and talks for Wednesday and Thursday of Construct3D will be held on-site across NYU Brooklyn’s Campus. Don’t miss the opportunity to connect, learn, and be inspired at Construct3D!

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