Digital Design and Fabrication certificate program to return for fall semester

The 2015-16 academic year will see the continuation of the Digital Design and Fabrication (DDF) certificate program at SUNY New Paltz, a unique and innovative course of study that combines instruction in 3D printing and computational media with an emphasis on artful design.

The DDF certificate program began at SUNY New Paltz in the fall ’13 semester, drawing on the resources of the MakerBot Innovation Center (MIC) and the expertise of its staff to help New Paltz students and regional entrepreneurs, particularly those interested in art and design, prepare for careers that incorporate 3D printing.

“The Hudson Valley is home to amazing artists, designers, engineers and many other people who can do amazing things with 3D design and printing technology,” said Daniel Freedman, dean of the School of Science & Engineering and director of the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center (HVAMC). “The DDF Program is innovative, hands-on and practical and will help students and professionals alike learn how to apply this technology in any field.”

Participants are required to take two courses during each of the fall ’15 and spring ’16 semesters, covering topics including 3D design, printing, computational media and the use of Arduino open-source microprocessors. Full course descriptions are available online.

Some aspects of the program have been modified to keep up with advances in this rapidly-evolving technology. The principal change is the addition of a new class, Introduction to Computational Media, which incorporates more techniques specifically tailored for the digital arts and will be taught by Aaron Nelson, instructional support technician at the MakerBot Innovation Center (MIC).

“I come from an art background and I’m used to teaching artists,” Nelson said. “For this course my goal is to combine the art and engineering disciplines. It is designed to be much more pragmatic than theoretical, with a focus on what students need to do to make a good piece of art using coding language.”

Nelson and colleague Katherine Wilson, assistant director of the HVAMC, recently completed an advanced training in Rhino, a leading 3D modeling software. Both Nelson and Wilson will soon be permitted to bestow basic certification in Rhino to students who complete the Introduction to CAD Modelling I and II courses at New Paltz.

According to Nelson, being able to offer multiple opportunities for students to acquire 3D printing credentials is intended to make the process of acquiring these skills more accessible and fruitful.

“It’s a way of setting up different tiers of credentials for new students, so that they don’t see learning about digital design as an all-or-nothing proposition,” Nelson said.

To register for the DDF certification program, please send a statement of interest with a brief description of your academic and professional background to Daniel Freedman at Ideal candidates for certification will have completed some related college work, including college-level mathematics, and will have some background in art and/or design. Enrollment is limited and will be filled on a first-come basis.

More information about Digital Design and Fabrication at SUNY New Paltz is available online.