New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Engineering design is generally considered an iterative, open ended, activity that attempts to satisfy the customer’s objectives and does not violate any specified constraints. ABET Criterion 5 includes the following statement: “Students must be prepared for engineering practice through a curriculum culminating in a major design experience based on the knowledge and skills acquired in earlier course work and incorporating appropriate engineering standards and multiple realistic constraints.” Consequently, most undergraduate ABET accredited environmental engineering programs have design experiences embedded in a number of courses, and typically have a course that includes a major design experience. Designs are created to perform a specified function and they often result in objects that have a specified form, created by the designer. Environmental engineering examples range from a small orifice that inducts air into a water stream to a large anaerobic digester with most designs being large scale. Years of assessment in our one semester capstone design course revealed that many students preferred to design large scale treatment works, but they also wanted to create a hands-on visual aid, model, or prototype of their design. Due to lack of time and resources, this was often infeasible and resulted in dissatisfaction among some students. This shortcoming was largely addressed by incorporation of 3D printing into our capstone design course. Although 3D printing is common in many engineering disciplines and even grammar schools, the scale and nature of environmental engineering processes may be limiting the integration of 3D printing in environmental engineering. This paper describes how engineering graphics software and 3D printing have been used by students to create 3D visual aids or scale models of large engineering treatment works including sedimentation basins, anaerobic digesters, and in-vessel composters. Assessment data is used to demonstrate the value of this approach. Limitations of our current engineering graphics software package will be addressed along with how we plan to address them. Finally, a method for scaling models, to ensure dimensions will be sufficient to prevent breakage, will also be discussed.
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