Critical Making in 3D
After learning to use a 3D printer, making an LED blink or using an Arduino, then what?

What if technology-making creates aws many problems as it solves? (How) can DIY makers and engineers be critically engaged with culture, history and society through making? Can design, art, engineering and crafts practitioners be agents in alternative types of knowledge production related to the politics of man-made artifacts? Can objects be political? What if design objects stopped trying to solve problems and instead highlighted their complexity? (Hertz)

We will address these questions by exploring some of Garnet Hertz' writings and projects on Critical Making, a maker practice that questions values and assumptions in built technological artifacts.

Hertz, G. () “What is Critical Making?” Current.

Hertz G. ed. (2016) Disobedient Electronics. Conceptlab.

Jolliffe, D. (2012) “Eight Missing Projects of the Maker Generation” in: Garnet Hertz, ed. (2012) Critical Making Zines: Projects. Conceptlab. Retrieved at:
In pairs, create a 3D product design for one of the eight missing projects suggested in Jolliffe’s article. The goal of the assignment is to think of ways to communicate the concept in the design of the object and its packaging, and to explore ways to make the hardware fit inside, without moving around, and buttons can be pressed without them disappearing into the object. We will break open electronic toys to study their insides in class. It should be possible to open the project and reach the electronics (no glue).

Print your object, and present it on Monday by explaining why this dummy project would be an example of critical making. What does it critique? How does its form (and packaging) convey that?

1. Study the project brief, try to understand what it wants to critique, why it’s important
2. Make a sketch and clay model of the product, think about what it should look like to convey the right message
3. Study and measure the hardware required and decide how to place it inside the design
4. Explore ways to keep the hardware in place (study other electronics objects)
5. Design your object using a 3D modelling software
6. Print your product, and assemble (it doesn’t have to work electronically!)
7. Bonus: design and create the packaging