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CAD Model Creation and Alteration: A Comparison Between Students and Practicing Engineers

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Electromechanical Capstone and Design Projects in Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.305.1 - 22.305.12



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Paper Authors


Michael D. Johnson Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Johnson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University. Prior to joining the faculty at Texas A&M, he was a senior product development engineer at the 3M Corporate Research Laboratory in St. Paul, Minnesota for three years. He received his B.S. in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University and his S.M. and Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Johnson’s research focuses on design tools; specifically, the cost modeling and analysis of product development and manufacturing systems; CAD methodology; manufacturing site location; and engineering education.

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Ram Prasad Diwakaran Texas A&M University

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CAD Model Creation and Alteration: A Comparison Between Students and Practicing EngineersComputer-aided design (CAD) is a powerful and ubiquitous tool in the modern engineeringenvironment. CAD databases are used throughout the development process, but to take fulladvantage of the functionality provided by modern CAD tools requires a skilled user. Studentstend to be taught CAD in a manner that focuses on declarative skills and knowledge that islimited to creating geometry in a specific program. This is in contrast to the proceduralknowledge associated with experts. Comparing student modeling procedure to that of practicingand experienced engineers could inform CAD educational activities.The results of an exercise performed by 30 practicing engineers and 67 students are presented.The exercise consisted of creating and altering a CAD model of moderate complexity. Bothstudents and practicing engineers were split into groups and asked to create the part with alteringgoals: one group’s goal was to create the part as quickly as possible; the other’s goal was tocreate the part so that it could be easily altered. These initial parts were then altered by others inthe opposing group. Model attributes and derived quantities for both groups are tabulated forboth populations.As expected, student modelers required more time to complete the initial modeling and alterationactivities. Students used more, simpler features to create their models (in both groups). Thepracticing engineers tended to produce models that followed commonly described propermodeling procedures. During the alteration process, students were more likely to delete featuresas opposed to alter them. Student and practicing engineers also had differing opinions regardingwhich modeling procedures would be beneficial.

Johnson, M. D., & Diwakaran, R. P. (2011, June), CAD Model Creation and Alteration: A Comparison Between Students and Practicing Engineers Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17586

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