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An Examination of ME449 Redesign and Prototype Fabrication: A New Senior/Grad Design and Fabrication Course at the University of Wisconsin–Madison

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Making in Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.184.1 - 26.184.20



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Paper Authors


Kim J Manner University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Kim Manner is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He has been an instructor in the UW- Madison College of Engineering since 1988. He holds both BS and MS degrees from the UW- Madison in Engineering Mechanics. He has taught undergraduate classes in Capstone Design, Geometric Modeling, Computer-Aided Design, Product Dissection, Product Redesign and Prototype Fabrication, and Engineering Graphics. He has worked as a mechanical designer in industry and has been teaching capstone design at the UW- Madison since 1996. He has created and taught industrial outreach courses in Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) and co-manages the Metrology Lab in the department of Mechanical Engineering. He also served as a member of the ASME Y14.41 Sub-Committee charged with the development of standards for the inclusion of Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing specifications within solid model product definitions.

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Frank E Pfefferkorn University of Wisconsin, Madison

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Frank E. Pfefferkorn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Director of the Manufacturing Systems Engineering Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 2002. Pfefferkorn teaches required undergraduate and technical elective manufacturing and heat transfer courses. His work is focused on developing a strong manufacturing engineering workforce and a science-based understanding of manufacturing processes to help industry innovate. He has active research projects on micro end milling, pulsed laser polishing, friction stir welding, and resource efficiency of manufacturing processes. The U.S. National Science Foundation, U.S. Office of Naval Research, the State of Wisconsin, and industrial collaborators have funded Pfefferkorn’s work. He is a recipient of the 2007 Kuo K. Wang Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and a Machine Tool Technology Research Foundation equipment loan award.

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An Examination of ME449 Redesign and Prototype Fabrication: A New Senior/Grad Design and Fabrication Course at the University of Wisconsin –MadisonIt was determined through feedback from students of the undergraduate Mechanical Engineeringprogram and their potential employers that a more extensive design and fabrication experiencewas desired. To address these issues a new dual-level course, ME449 Redesign and PrototypeFabrication, was developed in the department of Mechanical Engineering.Students in the class receive a basic design for a Gamma-Type, Stirling Engine in the form of abill of materials, a complete set of detail drawings, and machining protocols for all fabricatedcomponents. Each student fabricates and assembles the basic design of the Stirling Engine. It isthen tested to establish benchmark values of speed at a measured temperature difference as wellas build quality and aesthetics.Course lecture and discussion covers the principals of both product design and product re-designalong with discussions of the thermal and mechanical processes occurring within the engine.Students perform a critical examination of the functions of the basic design Stirling Engine forthe purpose of identifying design changes which would provide improvements in performance.Proposed design changes are justified by defining metrics for evaluation and demonstratinganalytically a performance improvement. Students are required to fabricate the redesignedcomponents, and show a performance improvement against their benchmark values,documenting their efforts in a formal report and presentation.Despite spending in excess of 50 hours outside of class on their Stirling Engines the attendingstudents are very fond of this course. It has also been very well received by members of thedepartment’s Industrial Advisory Board and company interviewers. Students have found thatbringing their Stirling Engine to an interview is particularly impactful. Demonstrations toMechanical Engineering alumni by the students, showcasing their efforts and discussing thematerial learned, has proven to be an aid in departmental fundraising.

Manner, K. J., & Pfefferkorn, F. E. (2015, June), An Examination of ME449 Redesign and Prototype Fabrication: A New Senior/Grad Design and Fabrication Course at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23523

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