The Art of Digital Fabrication: STEAM Projects for the Makerspace and Art Studio

by Erin E. Riley


Learning by making with the heart of a scientist and the critical eye of an artist.

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Integrate STEAM in your school through arts-based maker projects using digital fabrication tools commonly found in makerspaces like 3D printers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, and CNC machines. Full color pages showcase the artistic and technical work of students that results from combining art with engineering and design.

The Art of Digital Fabrication: STEAM Projects for the Makerspace and Art Studio makes the case for designing and making art with digital technology and provides the resources for bringing that work to life in classrooms and makerspaces. Written by an educator with extensive experience in art and maker education, this volume contains over twenty-five makerspace tested projects, a material and process inventory for digital fabrication, guides for designing with software, and how-to’s for using digital fabrication machines. This book will inspire those new to technology to get started with the tools for making, while offering experienced makers approaches for fabrication with materials found in the art studio.

School makerspaces can integrate technology into the curriculum while preserving the experimental approaches to materials found in the art studio. Merging art, design, and engineering process equips our youth with a broad vocabulary for creative and technical skills for making.

*I love this book!!* It provides a vision of maker education that is completely original and mind expanding. The book is gorgeously designed, as well as brimming with ideas and projects. The projects themselves are wonderful—Erin’s work, and that of her students, is utterly unique and beautiful. And, there is so much here! Each project is full of revelations—particularly about inventive uses of tools and materials—and there are so many of them! It would take years of exploring to do justice to all of the ideas and techniques covered in this book. – Leah Buechley. Inventor, artist, educator.

More great reviews….

Available at and Barnes & Noble online.

For volume sales, PO purchases, or international sales, contact CMK Press.
 Also available from Ingram wholesale.

This book is available in Australia from Education Technology Specialists.

Book information

  • MSRP $39.95 USD paperback
  • MSRP $59.95 USD hardcover
  • 180 pages, full color
  • Publisher: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-0-9975543-3-5 (paperback)
  • ISBN: 978-0-9975543-9-7 (hardcover)
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 11 inches
  • Full carton quantity: 21/17
Beautiful full-color photos, directions, and ideas for innovative projects using digital fabrication technology.

Features Inside the Book

  • Over 25 Digital Fabrication Projects with color photographs of steps and student work. All projects offer extension ideas, resources, and connections to STEAM curriculum.
  • The Project Cross-Reference lists projects by digital fabrication tools, supplies, and software. Color coding highlights certain process details in each project chapter.
  • An Art Material and Process Inventory intended to spark creativity and encourage the mixing of materials and processes within digital fabrication.
  • An Overview of the Digital Fabrication Machines commonly found in school labs or makerspaces.
  • Photocopy-friendly Design Guides and Checklists for the main design software programs demonstrated in this book can be given to students as they self-guide through each design program.
  • A Maker Powers Classroom Poster (free to download!)
  • Curriculum Connections of digital fabrication experiences with skills and curriculum subjects.
  • Introductory articles supporting STEAM learning, where the Arts is integral to deep understanding of content and student empowerment.

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More Great Reviews…

The Art of Digital Fabrication a must-have book for any maker space, studio, or classroom. This book is jam-packed with photos, diagrams and sharing inspiring examples of what STEAM-fueled thinking can inspire in any learning space. Beautifully designed, clearly written by Erin Riley, these projects will encourage you and those around you to “create bravely!” Another excellent resource from CMK Press.” – Peter H, Reynolds, author of The Dot, Founder of FableVision

“Erin is a passionately curious educator whose ability to tinker we greatly admire. Her new book is filled with inquiry into fabrication tools and materials as well as ways of incorporating this spirit of curiosity into the classroom. Extra tip: Follow her on Twitter.” – Karen Wilkinson, Tinkering Studio Director, Exploratorium 

“Riley makes a compelling case for integrating arts education and digital fabrication across disciplines. Her projects are accessible, meaningful, and will inspire you to push your students in new directions.” – Aaron Vanderwerff, Director of Learning, MakerEd

The Art of Digital Fabrication is a beautiful book and will prove to be highly useful for art teachers who want to bring digital tools into the art studio, as well science, math, technology, and engineering teachers in PreK-12 who want to bring art and creativity into their classrooms. There is so much potential for expansion on these ideas by teachers and students–bravo for leaving space for creativity within the creative projects! True STEAM education demands engagement in the four fundamental creative practices of imagination, investigation, construction, and reflection. This book pulls these creative practices together with STEM content in a manner that is intriguing and fun, as well as appropriately challenging.” – Anne Bown-Crawford, Executive Director, California Arts Council