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Adoption and Expansion of a 3D Printer Selection Engine

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

ETD Manufacturing/3D Printing

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

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Paper Authors


Ranjeet Agarwala East Carolina University

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Dr. Ranjeet Agarwala serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Technology Systems at East Carolina University. He holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the North Carolina State University. Since 2001 he has taught courses in Engineering Design, Digital Manufacturing, and 3D printing, GD&T, Electro-Mechanical Systems, Statics and Dynamics. His research interests are in the areas on Advance and Digital Manufacturing and its integration with the renewable energy sector.

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Robert A. Chin East Carolina University

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Robert A. ”Bob” Chin is a member of the Department of Technology Systems faculty, College of Engineering and Technology, East Carolina University, where he has taught since 1986. He is the Engineering Design Graphics Division’s vice chair and in 2015, he completed his second term as the director of publications for the Engineering Design Graphics Division and the Engineering Design Graphics Journal editor. Chin has also served as the Engineering Design Graphics Division’s annual and mid-year conference program chair, and he has served as a review board member for several journals including the EDGJ. He has been a program chair for the Southeastern Section and has served as the Engineering Design Graphics Division’s vice chair and chair and as the Instructional Unit’s secretary, vice chair, and chair. His ongoing involvement with ASEE has focused on annual conference paper presentation themes associated with the Engineering Design Graphics, Engineering Libraries, Engineering Technology, New Engineering Educators, and the Two-Year College Divisions and their education and instructional agendas.

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Many 3D printer suppliers provide their printer specifications in disparate formats making an “apples to apples” comparisons difficult. The purpose of a recently launched selection engine was to display printer specifications in a common format so users are able to make appropriate comparisons. The engine, along with the website interface, is currently hosted on a university webpage. Since it was launched, user data on the usability and value of the webpage has been collected. Users are responding to a survey to gauge the ability of the engine to match 3D printers based on user inputs; it will gauge the effectiveness of the selection engine in matching the print build volume, print material, and color capabilities, as examples, of commercially 3D printers. The 3D printer selection engine will be expanded and improved upon based on the survey results. Initially data will be collect through a two-semester cycle—fall 2016 and spring 2017. Data will also be collected over the summer of 2017 and the fall of 2017. The selection engine will be advertised through campus and engineering and technology list serves to promote wider engagement. A web counter will be programmed on the main webpage of the selection engine to track the number of users who visit the webpage to gauge the adoption rate. It is anticipated that users will save time by using the 3D printer selection engine and webpage in contrast to visiting the hundreds of 3D printer supplier webpages available to match their design requirements with appropriate 3D printers. It is also anticipated that this selection engine will be adopted by users around the world.

Agarwala, R., & Chin, R. A. (2017, June), Adoption and Expansion of a 3D Printer Selection Engine Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27543

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