Spring 2021 - IAT 437 D100

Representation and Fabrication (3)

Class Number: 7764

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    Completion of 60 units and IAT 336.



Introduces computer-based tools for representing and fabricating designs. Covers the representation of work within a design process, the use of visualization techniques to communicate with clients, and the use of digital fabrication technology to build prototypes. Projects are chosen to highlight key representational issues in contemporary design practice.


This course introduces students to advanced computer tools for representing designs and to the techniques needed to use such tools for the accurate and precise specifications, including concepts of tolerances. It teaches how to use data from such representations as input to computer numerical control fabrication equipment (such as laser cutters, 3D printers and n-axis mills) and combine representation and fabrication into an iterative design process. Application to designing a family of related artifacts provides a context in which issues of reuse, design rules and inter-design coherence are crucial.

The course is built around interrelated conceptual and hands-on learning activities. Besides the content presented in the lecture, students will complete the following activities during the labs:

  1. Assignments: For the first nine weeks of the course, there will be weekly assignments, one focused on representation, the other on fabrication.
  2. Project: The project aims to combine what you have learned about representation and fabrication into a project that requires both.
  3. Quiz: The final quiz (for bonus marks) will test for concepts learned.


This course aims to help you discover your own personal “joy of making” physical things, as an integral part of your professional development.

By fulfilling the requirements, students will be better prepared to:

  • Represent designs digitally.
  • Make, that is, fabricate design prototypes.
  • Combine representation and fabrication in a design project.
  • Continue to develop an interest in and ability to pursue new ways to realize designs.


  • Representation Assignments (individual) 40%
  • Fabrication Assignments (individual) 30%
  • Course Mini Project (Individual or group of two) 20%
  • Quiz - Modeling (individual) 10%


Note-1: In case the course is delivered online and accessing the SIAT's computer and prototyping labs are limited or not available due to COVID-19 restrictions, the course activities will shift focus on digital representation with limited physical prototyping or modeling assignments. The lecture and lab activities will be on Canvas and other online meeting software, such as Zoom. The students are expected to access to computers capable of running Canvas, meeting software, as well as digital modeling software to be used at the course, e.g. SolidWorks or OnShape, Rhino and Grasshopper, Dynamo, etc. These will be discussed at the beginning of the term.

Note-2: The outline is subject to change.


Students are required to complete SFU Lab Safety Orientation offered by EHS, pass a test, and complete an in-lab orientation session to use the SolidSpace Lab.




A course materials lab fee of $70.00 will be collected from all students taking this course to cover the costs of consumable materials and machine use in the prototyping lab.

The SIAT's prototyping lab will provide essential prototyping tools, 3D printer, Laser cutting. The basic material for 3D printing and laser cutting will also be covered as part of the lab fee. However, we expect the students to provide their own consumable prototyping material, sketching papers and tools, measurement tools (e.g. rules, compass, protractor, calliper, etc.).


There are more good texts than you can possibly read. You should come to know your own favourites. Here are a few that your instructors think are useful.

James D. Bethune. Engineering design and graphics with SolidWorks. Peachpit Press. (Available through SFU Library as digital book) 3/4

Geoffrey Boothroyd, Peter Dewhurst, and Winston A. Knight. Product Design for Manufacture and Assembly, CRC Press 2001, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded (Available through SFU Library as digital book)

Bjarki Hallgrimssom. Prototyping and modelmaking for product design. London: Laurence King Publisher. 2012. (Available through SFU Library as digital book)

Alex Milton and Paul Rodgers. Product Design. Laurence King Publisher. 2011. (Available through SFU Library as digital book)

Donald Norman. The Design of Future Things. Basic Books Publisher. 2009.(Available through SFU Library as digital book)

Robert Woodbury. Elements of Parametric Design, Routledge. 2010.

Ibrahim Zeid. Mastering SolidWorks: the design approach. Peachpit. [2015]. (Available through SFU Library as digital book)

Yi Zhang with Susan Finger and Stephannie Behrens. Rapid Design through Virtual and Physical Prototyping. Carnegie Mellon University.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).