How can digital workflows speed fabrication delivery? What efficiencies can be gained by direct to machine coding for manufacturing? What changes might the maker movement force as it pushes ever closer to large-scale manufacturing? 

These questions are just a few to be addressed by James Coleman, Lead Research and Development Engineer at Zahner, during SCF 2018: The ACM Symposium on Computational Fabrication. The event organizers selected Coleman to present a keynote address.

Zahner R&D at Symposium on Computational Fabrication


Using actual Zahner projects, Coleman will highlight processes used to create some of the world's most complex and visually interesting buildings. The presentation will illustrate how Zahner overcomes process bottlenecks in digital fabrication workflows and the opportunities that exist in ‘direct to machine design to manufacturing’ in producing high volumes of highly variable parts. Learn about the nuances between making and producing and how the maker movement is poised to disrupt large-scale manufacturing processes.


James Coleman currently acts as Lead Research and Development Engineer at A. Zahner Company, a firm that specializes in computational fabrication and mass customization at an architectural scale. He is involved in the production of 100,000s of unique parts for large scale projects as a digital design and manufacturing specialist.

Zahner R&D at Symposium on Computational Fabrication

James holds master’s degrees in both architecture and mechanical engineering from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His current research is centered around parametric design-to-fabrication workflows and one-off automation strategies in both hardware and software.

He has worked internationally as a design engineer on architectural projects of a variety of scales and as a Product Development Engineer at the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan. He currently balances working on large scale high profile architectural projects with being one half of the design studio James and the Giant Peek.

With a diverse suite of manufacturing equipment, industrial robots, and custom-made CNC machinery James makes things, breaks things, and invents things with varying levels of success and sophistication.