Asee peer logo

A Study Of Rapid Prototyping For Use In Undergraduate Design Education

Download Paper |


2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Teaching Design

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.113.1 - 7.113.15



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Chris Randell

author page

Marty Bowe

author page

John Feland

author page

Daniel Jensen

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Main Menu

Session 2125

A STUDY OF RAPID PROTOTYPING FOR USE IN UNDERGRADUATE DESIGN EDUCATION Daniel Jensen*, Chris Randell, John Feland, Martin Bowe * Department of Engineering Mechanics, U.S. Air Force Academy Department of Engineering Mechanics, U.S. Air Force Academy Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford Univ. Director of Technology, Perry School District, Canton OH

ABSTRACT Development and use of rapid prototyping (RP) has drastically expanded in the last 10 years. Although use of the technology has been predominately focused in industry, academic use has become somewhat prevalent as well. At the U. S. Air Force Academy we have been using RP to enhance our design curriculum for the last three years. In this paper we give a brief overview of RP technology, and discuss how we use both classical (non-rapid) and rapid prototyping in our design classes. Assessment results from both faculty and students are presented which provide insight into the role of RP in undergraduate education. This assessment shows that students have an initial reluctance to using the RP technology. However, after they have used RP, they report that the process is surprisingly easy. In addition, they report that prototyping significantly enhances their design and more importantly, enhances their learning of the design tools and methodologies taught. Additional, more detailed, results concerning the use of RP are reported in the paper. Finally, we provide conclusions that indicate on how other institutions might use RP technology in their design curriculum.

1. INTRODUCTION Rapid Prototyping, as defined by Cooper 1, is the layer-by layer fabrication of 3-d physical models directly from a computer aided design (CAD). For the last three years we have been using a rapid prototyping (RP) machine to facilitate design education at the US Air Force Academy. The specific type of RP technology we have employed is often referred to as a 3-d printer and is described in more detail in a following section. The RP technology has been used to enhance two of our courses in particular: 1) Sophomore Introduction to Design (ME 290) and 2) Senior Intercollegiate Design Competition Teams (ME 491 and ME 492Z). A photo of the RP machine we currently use (figure 1) as well as some items made with the RP technology (figure 2) are shown below.

This paper reports on a variety of different aspects regarding our use of the RP technology to enhance our design curriculum. First, we report briefly on current RP technology and how it fits in the design process. Next, we show how RP fits into the design process. Then, we elaborate on specific ways we have used the RP technology to facilitate our design classes, to include: exploring interfaces between different subsystems in a design, investigating human factors issues and aiding in the brainstorming process. Also, differences between RP and classical (non-rapid)

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

Main Menu

Randell, C., & Bowe, M., & Feland, J., & Jensen, D. (2002, June), A Study Of Rapid Prototyping For Use In Undergraduate Design Education Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10279

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015