FabSlam – Version 3

Register Your Team Here

What is FabSlam?

FabSlam is a multi-week, team-based, digital fabrication challenge where youth learn and practice design, iteration, and production skills primarily focused on 3D Design and 3D Printing.

Youth participants learn the basics of digital design and modeling and use industry-based tools and equipment to produce objects from those designs and models. Each team works with a Coach to help guide the team through the challenge and aid in documentation of multiple design iterations throughout the challenge.

FabSlam culminates in a FabSlam Showcase where teams will present their their products to a panel of judges and a public audience for review and feedback.

What is the theme for this FabSlam?

The theme for this FabSlam is “Travel”. You are open to interpret the theme in any creative way that you see fit.

When does it start?

Right now, today! Register your team.

When does it end?

April 24th, 2014 – Student teams will present their project at the Digital Harbor Foundation Tech Center in Federal Hill, Baltimore, MD. Teams will showcase their projects to visitors on tables arranged around the room (think science fair style). In addition to the table presentations, each team will be asked to present a 5 minute presentation to the public and a panel of judges.

What makes up a team? How many people can be on a team?

Up to 6 youth + 1 adult coach

What does a team have to have created by the end of the project?

  1. Physical Project – In addition to the final product, bring along prototypes, especially failed ones.
  2. A one page website documenting their project
  3. Slideshow presentation of no longer than 5 minutes to present at the showcase and to judges

What if I don’t know anything about this stuff?

That’s okay. We didn’t either before we started. Here are a number of resources that are easy to use, free, and will get you started in no time:

Design Resources

Documentation Resources

Additional Fabrication Resources

What If I Don’t Have A 3D Printer?

DHF has a number of 3D printers located at the Tech Center and you are welcome to schedule time in our Tech Center to use the printers and test your designs.

Please email us if you need help finding a 3D printer to use: grimes@digitalharbor.org

Can I use more than just a 3D Printer?

Yes, you are encouraged to use as many other resources as you can get access too. Including but not limited to: CNC machines, Laser Cutters, electronics and circuits, etc.

Program Milestones

Here are some suggested milestones for your team to make sure that your team is on track for having their project ready.

  • March 7th – FabSlam Start
  • March 14th – Ideas have been brainstormed and project idea has been selected
  • March 21st – 3D Design tools practiced and idea has been sketched out on paper
  • March 28th – Initial prototypes of idea have been created in design software
  • April 4th – Initial prototypes have been printed
  • April 5th-18th – Prototype refinement
  • April 21st – Final product prototype printed
  • April 22nd – One page webpage documentation completed and live on the Internet
  • April 23rd – Final slideshow ready and practiced
  • April 24th – Showcase – arrive at DHF 5:30pm, Showcase will open for public at 7:00pm

FabSlam Team Roles & Responsibilities


On each team, students are the “makers” and bear most of the responsibility for completing the project in time for the FabSlam Showcase event. These responsibilities include:

  • Attending meetings / work times and participating by sharing ideas, giving feedback, and contributing talents to get the work done
  • Using 3D design software and following tutorials to learn the basics of 3D design and how to use the software
  • Using 3D design software to design and model the agreed-upon product you are trying to prototype
  • Working to reach milestones and complete the project on time
  • Documenting your process, any challenges you had to overcome, and the iterations of your product in a digital media format of your choice (we have provided a few suggestions)
  • Explaining specific details about how your product was designed, printed, and enhanced
  • Practice talking about the process your team used to develop your product
  • Each team member should have an area of specialty they are prepared to discuss with judges and others, as well as the ability to speak about the project in general in order to demonstrate ownership of the project
  • Attending the FabSlam Showcase prepared to show and speak about your project intelligently
  • Creating the presentation for the FabSlam Showcase
  • Assigning presentation responsibilities to your youth team members


Each team will have a teacher, in-school sponsor, or community member who works with the team and will be the point of contact for communications with the DHF team. The Coach’s responsibilities include:

  • Registering the team with DHF
  • Ensuring that all school-required permission slips and DHF forms are completed by youth
  • Coordinating with youth to set up meetings and work times for them to complete their project
  • Guiding youth through the problem solving / design thinking process
  • Ask questions about their designs / prototypes
  • Prompt them to think about certain use cases they have not considered
  • The goal is to have the youth solving the problems and creating the product, with some guidance and encouragement from Coaches
  • Managing behavior of the youth
  • Keeping the team on the timeline
  • Planning with youth for documentation, aiding in documentation by recording or photographing youth working or explaining their project
  • Ensuring youth attend the FabSlam Showcase event and are prepared to share their project and speak intelligently about their project

FabSlam Sponsors




Shawn Grimes