Form5 Fall 2023 CO-FAB

October is the ideal time of year for pumpkin carving, apple picking, football… and 3D printing!

This fall, Form5, a Columbus-based non-profit on a mission to make custom prosthetics accessible, successfully organized its sixth exciting and inspiring CO-FAB (Collaborate and Fabricate) program. Over the course of five weekends, two teams, consisting of students and industry mentors, came together to create a bespoke device for an individual with a limb difference. Students benefit from this month-long educational workshop by improving CAD skills, learning more about 3D printing, and networking with industry mentors.

Design Central is grateful for the opportunity to be among these talented industry mentors. In fact, team members have developed a strong connection with Form5 over the years thanks to the encouragement of Form5 board member and Design Central vice-president Jay Perkins. For designers such as Brian Bjelovuk, this is his third time mentoring a CO-FAB workshop.

“What keeps bringing me back is the opportunity to make a small intervention in someone's life that could help unlock so much potential. Teaching design skills to students in this context is also a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

In addition to mentorship, Design Central had a unique opportunity this past CO-FAB. During the workshop’s second Design Sprint segment, Design Central designers and engineers presented on prototyping, emphasizing various methods and the cutting-edge technology driving this process forward.

“The main lesson I try to emphasize with students at CO-FAB is that ideas need to be tested," Brian explains. "There are a number of tools in the designer's toolbox to facilitate this, but it usually starts with a pen and paper. If you can draw it, you can probably make it!"

He adds, “Ideas can be extremely powerful, but only as good as their execution. CO-FAB is a place where design students can get instant feedback from a user with a very specific and relevant need.”

With the conclusion of this past CO-FAB, the cohort delivered five thoughtfully crafted bespoke device concepts (three more than they initially set out to design). A recipient is chosen each CO-FAB to be the beneficiary of these designs. As a result, this individual’s everyday actions are drastically made more accessible. Design Central is excited to see how the 2023 Fall CO-FAB cohort will continue to make a difference with their passions and skills.

Are you interested in learning more about Form5 or participating in the Spring 2024 CO-FAB? Visit: