June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
In this paper, the importance of incorporating Additive Manufacturing (AM) as part of manufacturing curriculum in engineering education is emphasized. A new senior level elective course on Additive Manufacturing has been developed and offered as part of the manufacturing sequence to students of all engineering discipline. To provide hands-on experience to students taking this course, a low-cost rapid prototyping (RP) lab has also been developed consisting of CAD software, 3D scanners, 3D printers, CNC mill, and digital measuring devices.
The course curriculum includes the following: basic principles of AM, difference between traditional manufacturing processes (subtractive manufacturing, SM) and AM, recent advances in the AM technologies that specialize in rapid prototyping of three-dimensional objects such as photopolymerization, powder bed fusion, extrusion, beam deposition, sheet lamination, direct write technologies, and direct digital manufacturing; design for AM, process selection, post-processing, software issues, rapid tooling, applications of AM, business opportunities, and future of AM. Web resources are extensively used in the theory classes including the use of YouTube videos of AM processes and applications.
The open-ended hands-on lab work includes the following: design and make simple to complex parts using both CNC mill and 3D scanning/3D printing machines and compare SM and AM process parameters that include material, speed, complexity, accuracy, geometry, and programming; 3D scanning of objects, editing with proper CAD software, and printing the objects using 3D printers (reverse engineering); casting of 3D objects using basic casting principles; and rapid prototyping challenge among student teams that includes designing, making, marketing, and selling the products that we all use. The difficulties encountered in developing the low-cost RP lab to provide hands-on experience to students taking this course, some of the lab projects completed by the student teams using AM technologies, student learning outcomes and assessment, challenges and lessons learned, and recommendations for improving the course contents (both theory and lab) are also presented and discussed.
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