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Development Of A Standalone Computer Aided Tutorial To Integrate Computational Tools Into A Mechanical Design Curriculum

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Teaching Strategies in Graphics

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.520.1 - 12.520.11



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Paper Authors


Fernando Class-Morales Cessna Aircraft Company

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Fernando Class-Morales earned his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez in 2002, and his M.S. in General Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2007. He worked as an intern for UTC – Pratt & Whitney, and is currently a Mechanical Systems Engineer at Cessna Aircraft Company in Wichita, KS. In his free time, Fernando enjoys playing paintball and working on obtaining his pilot license.

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Jim Leake University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign

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Brenton Hall University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign

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


Mechanical design courses introduce fundamental concepts in the analysis and design of structural and machine components and assemblies, leaving little or no class time available to introduce students to the latest software developments in this area. In addition, instructors in these courses often lack the tools needed to help students grasp concepts that may be difficult to visualize.

Consequently, the objective of this work was to develop a parallel curriculum tool to provide supplementary instruction in mechanical design. This standalone tutorial is intended for use outside the classroom by undergraduate engineering students. The instructional package provides instruction on the use of the mechanical design and analysis software tools currently available in Autodesk Inventor , specifically, the Dynamic Simulation and the Design Accelerator modules. The tutorial provides the user with an interactive overview of different types of simple mechanisms (e.g., four bar linkage, gears) frequently found in mechanical design courses, as well as more complex mechanisms (e.g., scissor jack, cordless screwdriver, differential gear) encountered in everyday life. Virtual working models of the previously mentioned devices are created and subsequently analyzed in the tutorial. Mechanical design topic coverage includes finding the position, velocity, and acceleration of a geometric element on a mechanism, the conjugate action of involute tooth gears, and other illustrations.

The general engineering undergraduate curriculum from the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was used as the reference for this tool. By integrating the CAE experience into the undergraduate mechanics curriculum, this instructional software package should prove to be beneficial both in academia and to future design analysts.

I. Introduction

Mechanical courses in undergraduate engineering curricula introduce fundamental concepts in the design and analysis of structural and machine components and assemblies. These courses focus on engineering science, fundamentals, and first principles. However, the curriculum is so crowded that there is little or no room for instruction on the computational tools that can be used to design and analyze mechanisms. Moreover, instructors often cannot keep pace with the latest virtual technology software developments.

To address this problem, a number of universities are introducing innovative curricula with computer-aided design (CAD) modeling and computer-aided engineering (CAE) analysis tools to help promote a better understanding of engineering basics and fundamentals among students, with the ultimate goal of preparing engineers who can fully integrate computer modeling and design with analytical skills.1 Researchers at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie-Mellon University have found that self-paced and web-based CAE tutorials are a

Class-Morales, F., & Leake, J., & Hall, B. (2007, June), Development Of A Standalone Computer Aided Tutorial To Integrate Computational Tools Into A Mechanical Design Curriculum Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2157

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