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A Simple Method Allowing Students to Improve Their 3-D Visualization Skills

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Engineering Design Graphics Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

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Paper Authors


Dan G. Dimitriu San Antonio College

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Dan G. Dimitriu has been practicing engineering since 1970 and taught engineering courses concurrently for more than 20 years at various institutions. In 2001, he joined San Antonio College full-time as the Coordinator of its Engineering program. He has been involved with several engineering societies and became a member of the Two-year College Division of ASEE in 2002. His research interests are in engineering graphics, 3-D Visualization, fuel cells, plastics, and engineering education. He received the 2015 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.

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Dana Corrina Dimitriu University of Texas at San Antonio

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Dana Dimitriu is a third-year mechanical engineering student at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is currently working on receiving her bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Psychology. She has interests in biomechatronics, prosthetics, 3D visualization, and graphic design.

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Spatial visualization skills and attention to detail can be effectively improved using various specialized methods. Starting in the 1990’s multiple researchers observed that improving 3-D visualization leads to better performance in engineering graphics and in most other engineering coursework resulting in improved retention and graduation rates. There are multiple methods used to help students improve their 3-D visualization skills using objects in isometric views, or folding patterns, or objects to be mentally manipulated, reflected, or rotated. Other exercises present real 3-D objects that are easily recognizable in multi-view projections with missing views asking students to correlate the 2-D images with the ones in 3-D and find the missing view. The newly proposed method uses a different approach. It uses the standard multi-view projections to show a number of rectangular bricks arranged in various patterns. The viewer must count the exact number of bricks that form the structure. To do this the viewer must visualize each brick in its 3-D arrangement and count it only once despite the fact that the same brick may show up in more than one view. The major advantage of this method is that it does not require any prior engineering graphics training which makes it suitable for the opening classes of any graphics course. This method was used for over nine years with demonstrated success for students with a wide variety of visualization skills. It is intended as a tool to help Engineering, Architecture, and Art students and faculty who want to increase their 3-D visualization skills and improve their attention to detail.

Dimitriu, D. G., & Dimitriu, D. C. (2020, June), A Simple Method Allowing Students to Improve Their 3-D Visualization Skills Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34050

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