One of the challenges for today's architectural designers is the establishment of continuous digital processes between design and fabrication. To achieve this, designers need to acquire knowledge about the production and the methods and tools involved. Two case studies organized at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) on digital timber fabrication investigate the new field of collaboration between architectural designers and fabricators. The studies demonstrate the design potential of acquiring insights into the fabricators'software and digital production machinery and reflect contemporary fabrication technology in formal expression. We identified two different approaches to formal exploration that we defined as “sophistication of the detail” and “variation of the element”.