Asee peer logo

Constraint Based, Three Dimensional Solid Modeling In An Introductory Engineering Graphics Course: Re Examining The Curriculum

Download Paper |


2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.296.1 - 6.296.8



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Eric Wiebe

author page

Theodore Branoff

author page

Nathan Hartman

Download Paper |

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

Session 2538

Constraint-Based, Three-Dimensional Solid Modeling in an Introductory Engineering Graphics Course: Re-examining the Curriculum

Theodore J. Branoff, Nathan W. Hartman & Eric N. Wiebe North Carolina State University


The content of engineering graphics courses has remained the same for many decades. When three-dimensional modeling became available, many educators considered the new technology a novelty. Industry, however, realized the potential of using the 3D model as the center of the design process, deriving from it drawings, documentation, and other technical information instead of seeing it as an end in and of itself. If educators are to prepare able practitioners to accompany this change in industry, the current curriculum content must be re-evaluated. The Graphic Communications Program at North Carolina State University is exploring ways to better prepare students by examining the content of the introductory courses in an effort to determine core concepts that adhere to a solid modeling-based curriculum. During the spring 2001 semester, a pilot study was conducted in an introductory engineering graphics course using a proposed alternative curriculum focused on constraint-based, 3D solid modeling. This paper will introduce a rationale for the proposed curriculum, and outline the main topics of the curriculum.

I. Introduction

The engineering design graphics curriculum is at a crossroads. Computer technology is enabling engineers and technicians to design and manufacture parts without relying on two-dimensional drawings. The curricula at many universities and community colleges still spend a great deal of time focusing on 2D documentation drawings. This is even truer at the high school level. There are several possible reasons why some programs have not changed to a curriculum that focuses on constraint-based, three-dimensional solids modeling. One obstacle to this type of change has been the cost of hardware and software. Some constraint-based programs can cost tens of thousands of dollars and cannot realistically be purchased by small education departments. Within the last several years, however, the cost of these types of programs has come down 1. Since some 3D modeling programs are as low as $150 and student editions of constraint-based modelers can be purchased for as little as $300, cost can no longer be an excuse for not including 3D modeling into introductory courses 2 .

Another excuse for not revising the curriculum has been that students must understand 2D

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Wiebe, E., & Branoff, T., & Hartman, N. (2001, June), Constraint Based, Three Dimensional Solid Modeling In An Introductory Engineering Graphics Course: Re Examining The Curriculum Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9035

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: © 2001 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