01: Introduction & Documentation

First Steps:

Welcome to PS70! There are quite a few onboarding steps, but you have some time to complete them. Get a head start if you can, though!

  1. Training: For lab access, please complete the Machine Shop and Makerspace Safety-Soldering Required course from the Harvard Training Portal, and send me your certificate and HUID# when you’re finished. After that, we'll schedule formal trainings in the Lyman machine shop over the first couple weeks of the semester. Once you've completed shop training, your card will be activated for 24/7 swipe access to the Science Center makerspace (room 102/103).

  2. Scheduling: Please let us know your availability for the semester so that we can schedule lab times. TAs will schedule lab times based on your availability. You must attend at least one lab session per week.

  3. Communication: The main communication channels for this class will be this website as well as a Slack workspace, for which you should have received an invite. If not, try searching for "Science Center Makerspace" on the Harvard Slack Grid. We will not need Canvas.

  4. Software: (this seems like a lot, but it's just about everything you'll need for the semester)

    • Please download and install a text editor if you don't have one already (e.g., Sublime Text).
    • Everyone will also need a GitHub account. You'll also need to download the GitHub Desktop application, open it, and link it to your account.
    • You'll need to install the Arduino IDE.
    • Finally, you'll need a 3D modelling program. We'll default to Fusion 360 for workshops and tutorials, but you're more than welcome to use other software if you're already accustomed to it.


Read about GitHub & GH Pages, HTML & CSS, Markdown & Strapdown, Static Site Generators (if you're already comfortable with command line), Images & Video in HTML, Code Tags.


3:00: Welcome: Why learn digital fabrication?
3:15: Introductions, Course Overview, Syllabus
4:00: GitHub, GH Pages


3:00: Syllabus
3:15: Final project discussion
3:30: Lab tour. Review Github, websites and HTML


Help with GitHub, GH Pages, HTML and CSS. Discuss final project ideas.


Create a website and make a page with a proposal for a possible final project. Download and install the software listed above.

You will use this website to document your work for the rest of the semester. You are welcome to use any tools you'd like to accomplish this, but if you don't have any previous web development experience, you may want to stick with one of the templates. If you're new to writing HTML, you may find it helpful to start with an online HTML converter. You're encouraged to use the HTML and CSS techniques we covered in class to cutomize your site -- even better if you research new techniques and make your own unique website design. You can also continue to update your website styling/layout for the rest of the semester. The goal for this week is to make the site functional, i.e., that you're able to use it to host your assignments in a way that others are able to find them.

Your website should include:

Feel free to discuss final project ideas with the teaching staff and with each other. The projects we showed at the beginning of class might give you an idea of the range of possibilities. It's okay to propose something ambitious; the teaching staff will work with you to scale your idea to a tractable amount of work for the course. Take a look through all of the topics we'll cover. Final projects should integrate most of the skills covered over the semester, including at a minimum:

You can choose to put your final project ideas in your "week 1" page, or you can make a separate page for "final project ideas". It's fine to present just one idea, or a few (up to three ideas) if you're undecided. Feel free to include sketches, reference images, or links to precedent projects -- whatever helps to explain your idea.


W3 Schools - HTML
W3 Schools - CSS
W3 Schools - Bootstrap
Stack Overflow