Personal Fabrication and Personal Design

This page contains information related to the research field of Personal Fabrication and Personal Design.
If you are interested in writing a Bachelor's or Master's thesis about topics in this research field, please contact Jan Thar.

You will learn:
- how digital fabrication machines such as 3D printers with different printing technologies, lasercutters, vinylcutters, PCB mills, and CNC mills work;
- how to use 2D and 3D design software to create digital models that these fabrication machines can use;
- how these fabricated objects can be equipped with functionality through electronics and microcontroller programming;
- how to document your designs, and work on them collaboratively;
about the economic and social potential and impact of digital fabrication technology.

You will be able to:
- design basic physical objects using a variety of 2D and 3D CAD software tools;
- build these objects in our Fab Lab using 3D printers with different materials,lasercutters, vinylcutters, and CNC mills;
- design basic printed circuit boards (PCBs) for simple electronic circuits;
- create PCBs on our mill, and solder components on them;
- write basic microcontroller programs that use sensors and actuators to make your physical object interactive.

Personal Fabrication

In the past, consumer products were created in big factories, far far away. The products were sold in shops with limited opening times.
Today, you can create almost anything in a fab lab. Devices like 3D-printers or lasercutters are the right tools for digital fabrication.
In the future, you will design and manufacture any phyisical object at home! Personal Fabrication means that you use digital fabricators (e.g. 3D-printers) at home.

Personal Design

Cheap 3D-printers are available today and it is a matter of a few years until the devices are affordable for everyone. The parts that you will print with future 3D-printers will have the same quality as parts created in factories.
But the device itself is useless! People have to learn how to create great things with them! The (software) tools for Personal Design have to be different from the ones that professionals (engineers and designers) are using today. Everybody is a designer. Everybody is an engineer!

For more information about this topic, see our Personal Design page.

Publications related to Personal Design, Personal Fabrication, and Fab Labs


  • Salsabil Hamadache. LumiCAD - Interactive Organic Generative Design for Personal Photonics with OLEDs. Bachelor's Thesis, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, July 2015.
    PDF DocumentBibTeX Entry
  • Christian Frohn. FabQR - Using QR Codes in the FabLab Workflow. Bachelor's Thesis, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, July 2015.
    PDF DocumentBibTeX Entry
  • Mario Lukas. FabScan Pi - an open-hardware stand-alone web-enabled 3D scanner. Bachelor's Thesis, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, July 2015.
    PDF DocumentBibTeX Entry
  • 2013

  • Shadan Sadeghian. ParaShape - A Web Framework for Interactive Generators for Personal Design. Masters's Thesis, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, September 2013.
    PDF DocumentBibTeX Entry
  • Tim Hemig. FabCenter - Webapplication to support users and administrators of FabLabs with creating and sharing documentation. Diplomarbeit, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, June 2013.
    PDF DocumentBibTeX Entry
  • Radek Paluszak. FabFAQ - A demand-driven learning platform for the personal fabrication domain. Diplomarbeit, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, April 2013.
    PDF DocumentBibTeX Entry
  • Verena Kuhr. Framer: A Personal Design Tool for 3D Picture Frames. Bachelor's Thesis, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, March 2013.
    PDF DocumentBibTeX Entry
  • 2012

  • Zhao He. Fabiji: A Tablet Kiosk to Facilitate Creating and Sharing Documentation at Fab Labs. Masters's Thesis, RWTH Aachen University,March 2012.
    PDF DocumentBibTeX Entry
  • 2011

  • Clio Kakoulli. IdeaBall: A Physical Artifact for Moderating and Analyzing Brainstorming Sessions. Master's Thesis, RWTH Aachen University,November 2011.
    PDF DocumentBibTeX Entry
  • Thomas Oster. VisiCut: An Application Genre for Lasercutting in Personal Fabrication. Bachelor's Thesis, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, September 2011.
    PDF DocumentBibTeX Entry
  • Francis Engelmann. FabScan - Affordable 3D Laser Scanning of Physical Objects. Bachelor's Thesis, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, September 2011.
    PDF DocumentBibTeX Entry


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