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Digital Prototyping by Multidisciplinary Teams

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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

Professional Skills and Teaming in Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


James M. Leake University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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James M. Leake joined the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems (formerly General) Engineering in August 1999. His educational background includes an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering (1993) from the University of Washington, a B.S. in Ocean Engineering (1980) from Florida Atlantic University, and a B.A. in Art History (1974) from Indiana University. His current research interests include engineering education, integration of CAD/CAE software in the engineering curriculum, building information modeling, spatial visualization, and reverse engineering. Professor Leake’s publications include two books, Engineering Design Graphics: Sketching, Modeling, and Visualization, 2nd edition, published by John Wiley and Sons in 2013, and Autodesk Inventor published by McGraw-Hill in 2004. Prior to coming to Illinois, Leake taught CAD and math courses at UAE University in the United Arab Emirates. He is a returned Peace Corps Volunteer, where he served in Tunisia from 1983 until 1986. Leake worked as a naval architect in the Pacific Northwest for 10 years. He is a registered professional engineer in naval architecture in the state of Washington (1990).

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David Weightman MDesRCA IDSA University of Illinois,Urbana-Champaign

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David Weightman is a Professor of Industrial Design at the School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. After obtaining both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Industrial design ( Engineering) from the Royal College of Art in London, he taught on the Industrial Design Transport program at the Coventry University and later, was the Dean of the School of Art and Design at Staffordshire University. He was a consultant to Yamaha, Massey Ferguson, British Rail, BBC television and the Tate Gallery London. Now in the U.S., his teaching and research involves exploring the new relationship between product users and the design/ manufacturing process with a focus on the effect of new technology. In that regard he was an IDEA Studio fellow at Autodesk LLC in San Francisco and is one of the Autodesk faculty Fellows. He was a member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design working group on the future of design education and served recently as Midwest District Vice President of the Industrial design Society of America. He is currently a member of the Core Planning committee for the new Seibel Center for Design at UIUC

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Baigalmaa Batmunkh University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Baigalmaa Batmunkh received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering and Technology from Mongolian State University of Agriculture and a Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She also completed a training program in Agriculture Management at Weihenstephan Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences in Germany. Through her experience of pursuing a global education, she noticed a gap in the education system of developing and developed countries, and became interested in science education. Her current research interests revolve around next generation CAD tools and their impact on the engineering design process and learning. She currently works as a fabrication consultant and instructor at Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab and develops learning curricula for teaching students design and computer-based design tools.

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Digital Prototyping by Multidisciplinary Design Teams This paper reports on research conducted in order to learn about and improve the performance of multidisciplinary design teams using digital tools for design development and collaboration. A computer-aided product realization course and associated product design lab serve as a testbed for conducting this research. In this design course students are initially familiarized with a common set of digital tools, and then formed into teams. The digital prototyping tools include a cloud-based CAD platform, iterative 3D printing, and 3D scanning and scan data processing software. The CAD platform includes cutting edge freeform modeling capabilities. The multidisciplinary teams include students, mostly seniors, from systems engineering, mechanical engineering, bioengineering and industrial design. The design projects consist of biomedical products and devices, and each project includes a sponsor from the healthcare industry. The instructors include faculty from systems engineering, industrial design, and bioengineering. Using this testbed, in the fall of 2015 research data was collected on reflective practice, design thinking, and how students engage in and use digital tools for design and collaboration. The following research questions were addressed: (1) what activities do multidisciplinary student teams pursue in the early stages of the design process? (2) what benefits and challenges with regard to multidisciplinary design collaboration do students frequently note? (3) how do students view the effectiveness of the cloud-based CAD platform on team collaboration and design concept development? and (4) what are the students’ perceptions of using 3D printing for design concept development? A combination of methods, including audio recordings, reflection journals and surveys were employed to address the research questions. The results show that the course participants had a very positive view of the multidisciplinary composition of the design teams. Another result of this work is that the use of the digital prototyping tools, in particular the use of the cloud-based CAD tool and 3D printing was helpful in promoting collaboration as well as in improving the likelihood of successful design outcomes. Another key finding from reviewing design literature was the role and importance of reflection in design education and practice. The results of this study have implications for (1) promoting multidisciplinary team and communication skills among engineering and design students, (2) contributing to effective design teaching, and exploiting the capabilities of emerging 3D CAD tools in engineering design education. The paper includes a list of the 25 most influential publications relevant to the ongoing improvement of design courses that employ digital tools. A subset of these publications are currently being used as the reading list for the fall 2016 iteration of the course. Research results also include recommendations for making course improvements. These recommendations are currently being implemented, and will be discussed in the paper.

Leake, J. M., & Weightman, D., & Batmunkh, B. (2017, June), Digital Prototyping by Multidisciplinary Teams Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28181

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