4.500 / 4.512
Introduction to Design Computing

Permission of instructor
UG: 4.500, G: 4.512; Limited enrollment
Required of: 
BSA, Design Minor students
Preference Given to: 
Course 4 majors and minors


Product designers, engineers and architects use 3D modeling programs to model, render and fabricate ideas and products. A growing trend is 3D printing of geometric models by expert designers and novices alike to build ordinary items such as jewelry, toys and replacement parts (Making). Unfortunately for those new to modeling many questions arise when considering which modeling method works best for a given modeling task. Today there are least four ways to generate geometric models from a wide array of commercial CAD programs. To add to the confusion there are many questions related to best modeling practices for each type of output, trending software systems and emerging techniques related to plugins.

In response to these and many other questions this course teaches the fundamentals of geometric modeling for a variety of output methods and devices. Each week we explore a specific modeling method geared towards design output. We will cover the fundamentals in the first four weeks to build skills. Next we focus on design processing and a specific product. Students are required to complete museum quality models that will be evaluated by experts at various times throughout the term.

Learning Objectives

Grades are based on mastery of the following:
  • Three principle methods of geometric modeling (Surface, Solid & Mesh)
  • Rendering techniques (Images)
  • Prototyping (Objects)
  • Modeling in detail


  • Mastery of design and computing skills
  • Quality of geometric modeling and digital output
  • Response to questions related to process
  • Time to complete assignments & attendance


  • We meet 27 times within the semester
  • More than 3 absences can lead to a failing grade, this includes lab times


  • Final grading is an average of the 4 Small Projects and Exercises
  • Paper submissions only (no emailing) through Stellar Courseware
  • Late Assignment – Minus 10pts one week, Minus 20 pts second week
  • I do not accept assignments that are more than three weeks late

Course Fee

  • All students will be charged $35 after the third week in the term

 Class Format

The class meets twice a week and attendance is required for a passing grade. Students are expected to work with their own laptop in class. Lectures and labs happen together without distinction.