Fab Academy 2021

Learn how to make almost anything

During five months, you will learn how to envision, prototype and document your ideas through many hours of hands-on experience with digital fabrication tools in a program conducted by Neil Gershenfeld director MIT’s Center For Bits and Atoms.

Once you have read all the information, if you would like to participate in Fab Academy press the Apply button. Deadline is 23rd December 2020. Price is 7000$. 




The Fab Academy Diploma is a 5-month part-time learning experience where you plan and execute a new project each week. In that way, you will learn how to envision prototype and document your ideas through many hours of hands-on experience with digital fabrication tools, including electronics fabrication, 2D and 3D modelling, embedded programming and utilization of machines. The Academia is directed by Neil Gershenfeld director MIT’s Center For Bits and Atoms with the local support of Fab Lab Oulu instructors.


Fab Academy is a distributed (not distance) educational model providing a unique educational experience. Students learn in local workgroups, with peers, mentors, and machines; all connected globally by content sharing and video for interactive classes. Each Fab Lab that participates in the Fab Academy program is a node in the global Fab Lab network. 

You will participate in a global lecture broadcasted once per week. During the lecture, you or other students present your weekly work and Prof. Neil Gershenfeld presents basic principles for the weekly projects. During the week you must complete a small project related to a specific digital fabricaction field. You will count with the support of Fab Lab Oulu instructors. In addition, Fab Academy faculty, who are leaders in their respective field, provide global video lectures, supervise academic content and guide research.

Every Week Fab Academy focuses on a different topic, giving a global view of everything related to digital fabrication:

  • Principles and practices of digital fabrication
  • Project management
  • Computer aided design
  • Computer controlled cutting
  • Electronics production
  • 3D Scanning and printing
  • Electronics design
  • Computer controlled machining
  • Embedded programming
  • Mechanical design
  • Machine design
  • Input Devices
  • Molding and Casting
  • Output devices
  • Composites
  • Networking and communications
  • Interface and application programming
  • Applications and implications of digital fabrication
  • Invention, intellectual property and income
  • Project development
  • Project presentation

To complete Fab Academy you must present a final project in which you should show your acquired skills and the capacity of integrating different topics in the same project.


For sixth year in a row, you can do Fab Academy in Fab Lab Oulu. Fab Lab Oulu, located inside University of Oulu premises, is the second Fab Lab founded in Finland and one of the most active ones in nordic countries. It counts with a highly educated staff (among them 9 Fab Academy graduated ). Fab Lab Oulu has succeeded in educating 34 Fab Academy students in the five previuos years (95% success rate) . ALL INSTRUCTORS IN 2021 WILL BE FAB ACADEMY GRADUATED FROM PREVIOUS YEARS. Its premises host a wide set of machines enabling digital fabrication (a stack of 3D printers, laser cutter, precision milling machine, vinyl cutters, reflow oven, big milling machine for furniture, multiple electronic stations, …).


Fab Academy starts mid January 2021 and ends late June 2021.

On 10th August 2021, all students who graduated in 2020 and 2021 are warmly welcome to Fab16 in Montreal (Canada). Registration is free for students who graduate in 2020 and 2021. 

Fab Academy organizes the following events weekly that can be followed from Fab Lab:

  • Mondays: Recitation (voluntary). Global experts will give a talk to dig deeply in some of the topics.
  • Tuesdays: Local review(voluntary). You can discuss your weekly tasks with a Fab Academy Gurú and other students from nordic countries. We do not know if this would happen in 2021.
  • Wednesdays: Class (mandatory). Neil Gershenfeld will review work of the previous week and provide basic principles and guidelines to complete following week's task.

The estimated amount of time that a student should dedicate each week depends a lot on student's background. In average students should reserve around 30 or 35 hours per week to complete the tasks.



The movement of makers, fablabs or hackerspace, thanks to its exponential growth in recent years, is currently creating a radically new digital economy. It is a new digital revolution that will open totally new business opportunities.

Many Fab Academy graduates improved their career opportunities after taking the program. There's high demand in the job market for talented digital fabrication experts and fab lab managers, but the knowledge offered by the course can be applied to any profession requiring rapid prototyping. Many graduates also started their own businesses offering locally produced design objects, toys, training services and consulting.

After finishing Fab Academy you will get: 

  • The Fab Academy Diploma will be issued by a distributed Global Evaluation Committee after satisfactorily completing the course of study in the Principles and Applications of Digital Fabrication.
  • Each student documents their progress for each weekly project, resulting a personal portfolio of technical complishments that can be used to present their skills to possible employers.
  • If you are a University student Fab Academy entitles you to 25 ECTS
  • In addition, and perhaps one the most important aspects, students will be part of the Fab Lab community. They will create an international network of contacts who are digital fabrication experts.


If you are a University of Oulu students you will get 25 ECTS, corresponding to the following courses:

  • 521907S   Fab Lab Digital Fabrication
  • 521905A   Fab Lab Electronics
  • 521906A   Fab Lab Programming
  • 521904A   Fab Lab Project Management
  • 521908S    Fab Lab Project Work



Fab Academy fee for Fab Lab Oulu is 7000 USD (~6300€). Some faculties of the University of Oulu offer scholarships that might cover totally or partially the inscription fee. Please, consult Fab Lab staff for more information.

You can apply through the Fab Academy Students' application form. It is important to note that filling the form does not imply an acceptation in the program. Each Fab Lab has the final decision on the students they take. If you are finally selected, Fab Academy will contact you and give more detailed instructions. You should send your application by 23rd December 2020.



All instructors have graduated in Fab Academy. You can search their portfolios in our Fab Lab Oulu website. In addition you can see the final project video from Our vimeo account

Here you can find a selection of some of the final projects made by our students

And some pictures of our previous graduated.

Fab Academy 2017 graduated: Yrjö, Jari, Eino, Iván and Nataliya. In the center Jani Ylioja, Fab Lab Oulu director.
Fab Academy 2018 graduated: Marta, Behnaz, Heidi, Ari, Kati, Peetu and Megumi . In the back, Neil Gershenfeld (Fab Academy director) and Jani Ylioja (Fab Lab Oulu director)

Fab Academy 2019 graduation cermony in Egypt. Part of our 2019 cohort of graduated students. From left to right Lukasz, Jani Ylioja (Fab Lab Oulu director), Marjo and Gleb. Credits for the picture to Cindy Kohtala (Thanks Cindy!).

More info

If you have any question do not hesitate to contact us:

You can also check Fab Academy website.

In addition you can have a look to the information event that we organized @fablaboulu 20.11.2017: https://connect.funet.fi/p6mwwalc309/

An information event will be organized soon. 

Last updated: 10.12.2020