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  3. ExLab: Robotic Clay 3D Printing

ExLab: Robotic Clay 3D Printing (ABPL90412)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeABPL90412
Availability(Quotas apply)
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

ExLab explores design through a focus on experimentation with making processes, machines, and materials as a generative design process inspiring the design for a functional item. This subject explores this theme by focusing on making with clay 3d printing robots. Students will be introduced to clay 3D printing and robotic fabrication through a range of hands on design and making exercises. The major project designed and made by each student will be a functional object for the home. The final project should be exemplifying how the constraints of materials and making processes can, in fact, be manipulated and used to the designer’s advantage, driving the design process to result in creating an innovative, beautiful, unusual and functional object.

Students will be provided with plug-and-play grasshopper scripts to allow easy engagement and making with the robotic clay 3d printers. Specific training will also be provided to further develop the robotic making capabilities for each student’s project. While a high level of technical support will be provided by subject tutors and Robotics Lab technical staff, students will be required to have an understanding of digital design tools, in particular Rhino 3d and Grasshopper. No knowledge of coding or computer programming is required.


This subject is a quota subject and places are limited. Students who have provisionally enrolled in the subject must provide a short portfolio of their design work and a statement outlining why they are interested in the subject to be considered for selection. Submission is to be emailed directly to the subject coordinator by July 12 -2019.

Costs to Students:

Students will be required to purchase all materials used for the development of their design and the production of the final piece.

All fabrication costs will be provided for free if the student chooses to use the facilities with the ABP makerspaces.

The typical costs to students is $200 - $500 and is determined by the materials selected by the student for their project.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Develop a design agenda and concept from an experimental, iterative process that focuses on making techniques and material qualities
  • Demonstrate a deep understanding of the chosen material qualities and take advantage of these in the design of the final project.
  • Show a thorough understanding of making processes and how the selected processes take advantage of the material qualities used for the final project.
  • Create a highly resolved and functional project finished to a high quality standard with refinement of details.
  • Communicate and test ideas and design propositions through iterative use of prototypes, material and making tests, orthographic drawing, 3D-modelling (digital or physical), photomontage, renderings, and animations;
  • Apply critical thinking to the assessment of design proposals, and to make changes and improvements based on that assessment through iterative design processes

Generic skills

  • Critical design thinking and analysis;
  • Introduction to and advanced use of a range of fabrication and making techniques
  • Ability to work with different design methodologies
  • Physical and digital prototyping and its translation process
  • Time management and project management
  • Constructive acceptance of feedback and criticism.
  • Ability to integrated digital tools and physical prototyping in design process

Last updated: 3 August 2019