Things to Think With: Introduction to Modelling and Printing 3D Objects (Spring 2014)

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Week 1 | Eversion

  • Tuesday the 7th: Introductions; watch clip from Hackers; watch Robot Readable World
  • Wednesday the 8th: No class (Jentery in Chicago)

  • Note: According to William Gibson, the "eversion" turns cyberspace (or the internet) inside out. Comparable to digital objects and software, the physical or analog world becomes subject to programmability. For more on the eversion, see Chapter 1, "Eversion," in Steven E. Jones's, The Emergence of the Digital Humanities.

    Week 2 | Markup

  • Tuesday the 14th: Review the course outline; address questions/concerns about workload and expectations
  • Wednesday the 15th: Workshop on FTP, HTML5, and CSS3 (Due: install a text editor on your machine [consider TextWrangler, Sublime, or Notepad++]; also install FileZilla)

  • Note: Throughout this semester, you will be expected to author all of your content in HTML5, styled using CSS3 and pushed to your UVic webspace using an FTP client of your choice. I recommend FileZilla, and I also recommend using a simple text editor for authoring content in HTML. Wherever possible, avoid using Microsoft Word for HTML, and you'll likely find that Dreamweaver is too involved or intricate for the demands of this particular course.

    Week 3 | Objects

  • Tuesday the 21st: Workshop on your objects and their materiality (Due: Log entry introducing your object; also, be prepared to discuss your object; bring it to class, if you can)
  • Wednesday the 22nd: Physical computing workshop (Due: Read Gibson’s “Google’s Earth,” read selections from Sterling’s Shaping Things, watch this vid of Leah Buechley speaking, and review the work of High-Low Tech)

  • Note: Physical computing is central to the transduction process of 3D printing, which relies on microcontrollers to convert code into a physical object. Physical computing also helps us understand the practical applications of "spime," or objects that can be tracked in SPace and tIME. Throughout the semester, you'll likely observe how physical computing overlaps with a long history of arts and crafts, with its emphasis on play, hands-on engagement, trial-and-error experimentation (or prototyping), and embodied learning (as opposed to more abstract/conceptual learning models).

    Week 4 | Stitches

  • Tuesday the 28th: Introduction to photogrammetry (Due: Log entry on 3D fabrication in the news)
  • Wednesday the 29th: Photogrammetry workshop (Due: Read Balsamo’s “Tinkering in a Digital Age” [including the videos] and Monaghan’s “Metropolitan Museum 3D Hackathon” [including the four project links])

  • Note: The practice of photogrammetry relies heavily on knowing the computer vision algorithm with which you are working, including how that algorithm reads images. In short, learn to work with the algorithm and anticipate how it will stitch your 2D images together. Doing so will save you time in the post-production (or editing) process. In my opinion, it's much easier to start with a top shelf model (stitched together by an algorithm) than to make one by hand via 3D modelling software.

    Week 5 | Meshes

  • Tuesday the 4th: Introduction to meshing (Due: Log entry on the photogrammetry workshop)
  • Wednesday the 5th: Meshing workshop (Due: Read Elliott, MacDougall, and Turkel’s “New Old Things”)

  • Note: Before you start editing your 3D model, consider downloading and archiving (on your local machine) a "mesh package" containing all of your 2D images as well as your model in OBJ and STL formats. Applications such as 123D Catch render mesh packages via a single click, as a downloading option. One of the benefits of using photogrammetry is that you'll ultimately have your model in a variety of formats and forms, which you can reference later.

    Week 6 | Break

    No meetings this week. It’s reading break. But get in touch if you have any questions or concerns about the course. I'm happy to meet with you to help you along.

    Week 7 | History

  • Tuesday the 18th: Introduction to media history (Due: Read Sterne’s “Out with the Trash”)
  • Wednesday the 19th: Media history workshop (Due: Log entry on the meshing workshop)

  • Note: When considering the history of your object, consider the following: where did it come from? Under what conditions, and by whom, was it made? What is it made of? To whom was it advertised? Using what rhetoric and techniques? Who used it? Who disposed of it? When it is rendered obsolete, where does (or will) it go? Under what assumptions about need and waste? And to what effects on, say, environmental conditions and labour?

    Week 8 | Narrative

  • Tuesday the 25th: Doran Larson's Talk
  • Wednesday the 26th: Presentations on your objects (Due: Presentation materials)

  • Note: between the 26th and the 4th, feel free to revise or polish your presentation materials (i.e., Log 5), especially if you want to clarify or elaborate on anything after your talk. The talks were fantastic, by the way!

    Week 9 | Metadata

  • Tuesday the 4th: Introduction to the Dublin Core ontology; review final reflection assignment (Due: Log entry on your presentation)
  • Wednesday the 5th: Dublin Core workshop (Due: Read Besser’s “The Past, Present, and Future of Digital Libraries”)

  • Note: While metadata has deep implications for how we describe digital materials and discover them online, also consider how web-based discovery mechanisms affect our relationships with the everyday, physical, offline world. For example, how does serendipity happen online? How do we stumble upon 3D models and other such media that we weren't looking for in the first place?

    Week 10 | Fabrication

  • Tuesday the 11th: Introduction to 3D printing (Due: Log entry on Dublin Core workshop)
  • Wednesday the 12th: 3D printer workshop (Due: Read excerpts of Make’s guide to 3D printing)

  • Note: 3D printers are frequently represented as fail-safe and alluring devices, which simply translate code into physical objects held in hand. These representations tend to bypass how 3D printers often fail, break down, or require maintenance. Learning more about how 3D printers work should also allow us to deconstruct these popular mystifications.

    Week 11 | Prototypes

  • Tuesday the 18th: Introduction to 3D printing (Due: Log entry on representations of 3D printing)
  • Wednesday the 19th: 3D printing workshop (Due: Nothing)

  • Note: As we build the 3D printer, keep in mind how the assembly process intersects with the cultural and social questions we've been asking all semester: what assumptions do we have about "building things"? About where technologies come from? About who "makes" and who "uses" or "consumes"? Why, and to what effects?

    Week 12 | Recalibration [You Are Here]

  • Tuesday the 25th: Continue 3D printing workshop (Nothing due; take a break)
  • Wednesday the 26th: Readying your model for printing

  • Notes coming soon. We are not quite here.

    Week 13 | Reflection

  • Tuesday the 1st: Finish 3D printing workshop (Due: Log entry on 3D printing workshop)
  • Wednesday the 2nd: Final presentations and course evaluations
  • Friday the 4th: Last day of classes (Due: Final reflection)

  • Notes coming soon. We are not quite here.