I sat at the back of the SolidWorks 3D Experience Lab in Waltham, Massachusetts and watched as an oversized laser cutter engraved snowflakes into a thin sheet of metal. Flames ignited as a tiny laser beam cut its way into the molten metal that was flat on the grid. Next to this, I sat with my group. We struggled with the small Epilog laser cutter that was a quarter of the size, fighting with the right measurements to be able to cut a flattened cube into a thick piece of card stock. SCOPES-DF Master Fabricator, Daniel Smithwick, and SCOPES-DF consultant educator, Melvin LaPrade sat to my left. Melvin, absorbing the process, and Dan, tinkering with the laser settings, understanding what all master fabricators know – every machine is different and has a mind of its own. Just like students, we had to find an entry point to connect as a group before we could begin working together.

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