Digital Design and Fabrication

We focus on finding new ways of designing that maximise the potential of the latest digital design software tools and computer-controlled manufacturing processes.

The Digital Design and Fabrication (DDF) Lab has a strong focus on advanced 3D technologies including 3D scanning, Computer-Aided Design, 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing and Hybrid-Additive Manufacturing as well as exploring other digital fabrication processes.

This includes research into new design approaches, methods, techniques and tools as well as investigating their psychosocial and economic impacts. We have world-leading research expertise in the fields of Design for Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing, medical applications and printed electronics. Our research addresses a wide range of areas including design for Additive Manufacturing, advanced computer-aided and computational design, 3D printed electronics, multi-axis and fibre reinforced 3D printing and 3D printing for custom-fitting medical devices, wearables, body armour and assistive technology.

Key projects

Our well-equipped labs feature a wide range of technologies and facilities including 3D scanners, a wide variety of computer-aided design software, more than 10 different types of 3D printer including bespoke experimental machines and associated inspection and testing equipment. DDF Lab is working with leading global corporations, local specialist SMEs and healthcare providers to develop, transfer and implement our findings, resulting in measurable societal impacts in culture, heritage, healthcare and manufacturing. Our research is funding by leading organisations including the European Commission, Arts and Humanities Research Council, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and leading research charities such as Versus Arthritis.

Our collaborative and interdisciplinary research includes 3D printing in biology, chemistry, materials science, architecture, sculpture, archaeology and heritage. DDF Lab includes active members from other Schools including Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences; Automotive, Aeronautical, Chemical and Materials Engineering; and the Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering. It is linked to the University’s Additive Manufacturing Research Group and coordinates the Loughborough University Additive Manufacturing Network.

Our current areas of expertise span the following:

  • 3D scanning and data acquisition
  • Design for 3D printing and additive manufacturing
  • Additively manufactured textiles
  • Medical device design
  • Design for prosthetics, orthotics and wearables
  • Consumer design, co-design and personalisation
  • Design for laser cutting and CNC machining
  • Design for hybrid additive-subtractive manufacturing
  • Advanced Computer Aided Design
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Medical, forensic and archaeological applications of 3D printing

Further information