Training M.E.T.H.O.D.S.

Author - Logan L. Masterson

• M.E.T.H.O.D.S is a cyclical process that begins and ends with manufacturing, enabling precision and repeatability in digital fabrication projects.

• Engineering enables new possibilities for improving productivity and stretching creative limits.

• Technology provides tools to fabricators for giving form to their ideas, allowing them to stay ahead of the curve in innovation and productivity. 

• Hypothesis is the foundation of innovation – an idea needing testing before becoming reality. 

• Observation can provide answers to questions like “how does it work?” or “what kind of product do my clients need?” 

• Design allows for the refinement of mechanisms and the creation of functional and beautiful projects from inception to completion. 

• Systemization leads to maximum productivity throughout the fabrication process, from material acquisition to bookkeeping.

Manufacturing, Engineering, Technology, Hypothesis, Observation, Design & Systemization

M.E.T.H.O.D.S is an acronym describing the learning and development process practiced by digital fabricators. It is cyclical in nature, meaning that once the end is reached, the process starts all over again, whether for the refinement of a project or the beginning of a new one.

Manufacturing is what fabbers are all about. The entire process begins with determination of materials and the methods by which they are manipulated, from deposition printed polymers to good old-fashioned wood. Both the beginning and end of the METHOD cycle, manufacturing is the key to improving productivity, stretching the limits of possibility, and opening the door to opportunity.

Engineering takes us one step farther in the cycle by enabling precision, capacity and repeatability. Sure, you could put this in first, but then METHOD would become EMTHOD, and really, this flow represents the way most of us work. We use our base knowledge to bring an idea to fruition before testing and refining it into a finished product. Either way, engineering is fundamental to the fabber community.

Technology represents the tools we use and build to give form to our ideas. The field grows literally every day, and mastery of even the basic principles takes a lot of maintenance. As technology grows, so does our own ability to contribute to that expansion. “Early adopters” prove to be ahead of the curve not just in innovation, but also in commerce and productivity.

Hypothesis is a word used in science to indicate a proposed explanation for a certain phenomenon. For our purposes, it is essentially an idea in need of testing, and so represents the foundation of innovation.

Observation can tell us most of what we need to know. It answers questions like “how does it work?” and “what kind of product do my clients need?” Many technological developments have arisen as a result of observation. Take, for example, the honey-comb. A hexagon can be used to “tile” a plane with minimal material while still providing strength. This technique, used every day in deposition printing, is the direct result of observation.

Design brings us near the apex of our cycle, allowing for the addition of features, the refinement of mechanisms and, ultimately, the creation of projects that are both functional and beautiful. From inception to completion, this step is always in mind, and allows for an elegant end product.

Systemization is the end, and in a way, the beginning of the M.E.T.H.O.D.S cycle. It is the refinement not of parts and pieces, but of process. Without systemization, no factory could operate. Every aspect of fabrication should be systematized to provide maximum productivity. From the acquisition of material to the bookkeeping, a systemic outlook can help smooth and speed your process.