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Module ICE-2501:
Prototyping and Fabrication

Module Facts

Run by School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Overall aims and purpose

Understand the need to prototype and the process of designing one. Provide learners with the skills and tools needed to embody an idea in physical reality. Starting with a palette of digital fabrication techniques, developing ideas with some of the tools of the designer, finishing with a project based in a real context.

Course content

Indicative content includes:

  • Introduction to design methodology, process and techniques.
  • Converging on an idea and formulating a brief.
  • Prototypes as design tools (looks-like, works-like).
  • Introduction to design software for two and three dimensions.
  • Operating safely in the workshop environment with basic tools.
  • Simple model making: Cardboard Aided Design.
  • Plastic prototypes with 3D printing.
  • Sheet material and the laser cutter.
  • Model making with a CNC mill.
  • Considerations for industrial process.

Assessment Criteria


Equivalent to 40%. Uses key areas of theory or knowledge to meet the Learning Outcomes of the module. Is able to formulate an appropriate solution to accurately solve tasks and questions. Can identify individual aspects, but lacks an awareness of links between them and the wider contexts. Outputs can be understood, but lack structure and/or coherence.


Equivalent to the range 60%-69%. Is able to analyse a task or problem to decide which aspects of theory and knowledge to apply. Solutions are of a workable quality, demonstrating understanding of underlying principles. Major themes can be linked appropriately but may not be able to extend this to individual aspects. Outputs are readily understood, with an appropriate structure but may lack sophistication.


Equivalent to the range 70%+. Assemble critically evaluated, relevent areas of knowledge and theory to constuct professional-level solutions to tasks and questions presented. Is able to cross-link themes and aspects to draw considered conclusions. Presents outputs in a cohesive, accurate, and efficient manner.

Learning outcomes

  1. Recognise different aspects of a design process, including the role of the prototype and how design processes impact on a complete product lifecycle.

  2. Utilise the Double Diamond design tool. Understand the principle of a problem-solution pair.

  3. Prepare rapid-prototypes using appropriate methods and soft materials.

  4. Design digital models in 2D and 3D.

  5. Produce physical prototypes using digital manufacturing techniques, including 3D printing, laser cutting and CNC milling.

  6. Apply relevant workshop and industrial safety standards.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Risk Assessment 5
Double Diamond Infographic. 10
Computer Aided Design 15
Production of test pieces 15
Meeting a Brief 50
Making quick models. 5

Teaching and Learning Strategy


Practical labs to meet the project brief.


Seminars on the fundamentals of design.


Training to allow the learner to use the basic functions of a 3D printer, laser cutter and CNC mill.

Private study

Tutor-directed private study, including preparations.


Transferable skills

  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Identify emerging technologies and technology trends;
  • Apply underpinning concepts and ideas of engineering;
  • Apply knowledge and understanding of the specialist cognate area of computer systems engineering in safety-critical areas;
  • Formulate and analyse requirements and practical constraints of products, processes and services, place them in an engineering context and manage their implementation;
  • Solve problems logically and systematically;
  • Assess and choose optimal methods and approaches for the specification, design, implementation and evaluation of engineering solutions.
  • Systematically review factors affecting the implementation of a project, including safety and sustainability;
  • Appreciate the importance of designing products with due regard to good laboratory practice, health and safety considerations and ethical issues.
  • Use both verbal and written communication skills to different target audiences;
  • Communicate proposals persuasively and respond positively to feedback;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with relevant subject specific and general computer software packages.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the need to work safely and comply within relevant legislative and regulatory frameworks;
  • Knowledge and understanding of facts, concepts, principles & theories
  • Use of such knowledge in modelling and design
  • Problem solving strategies
  • Deploy tools effectively
  • Development of general transferable skills
  • Knowledge and understanding of computational modelling


Courses including this module