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Engineering Design, Cad And Fabrication Skills Within A Biomedical Engineering Context

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Design in BME Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.482.1 - 15.482.15



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Paper Authors

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Eric Kennedy Bucknell University

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Donna Ebenstein Bucknell University

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

Engineering Design, CAD and Fabrication Skills Within a Biomedical Engineering Context

Abstract The challenge of exposing biomedical engineering (BME) students to the broad array of core engineering and biology topics often makes it difficult to adequately address supporting skills such as computer-aided design (CAD) and fabrication in the undergraduate curriculum. This paper will present a six-week module from a course developed to introduce students to hands-on skills that could be important for BME students in design and their future careers.

The BME “Cube of Knowledge” is a design and prototyping project where six design teams work together to create a six-sided cube. Each team first develops a CAD model, rapid prototype, and engineering drawings for one side of the six-sided cube. After the creation of engineering drawings, each team fabricates their individual side of the cube with a conventional milling machine based on the engineering drawings. After each team has manufactured their own part, the six individual parts are assembled in class. A successful design and manufacturing experience would predicate that the six parts, or “sides,” combine to create an assembly in the shape of a cube, where each of the six sides are fabricated from a different material commonly used in biomedical engineering. Most materials used are biocompatible polymers, but metals such as stainless steel and aluminum have also been used.

Each step of this design and prototyping project has a different emphasis. For example, in the initial CAD model and rapid prototyping portion, students are required to use several advanced CAD functions to create geometries that would be difficult or impossible to fabricate using conventional machine shop tools. The CAD models are then simplified for fabrication using a milling machine, with the emphasis in the machine shop focusing on each student gaining hands- on experience machining the part.

Preliminary student assessment indicates that the students feel that designing, rapid prototyping, and physically producing the Cube of Knowledge was both a valuable and enjoyable experience. The vast majority of students agree that the project experience will be valuable for senior design and their future engineering careers. Additionally, they indicated that they would like to see the module expanded to include a larger variety of fabrication techniques and more time for basic skill development.

Introduction Given the broad spectrum of topics that must be addressed in an undergraduate biomedical engineering (BME) curriculum it is difficult to provide adequate exposure to students in design and manufacturing technology such as computer-aided design (CAD) and conventional machining [1]. These skills are vital for engineers to communicate design ideas, and a basic understanding of manufacturing technology helps enable students to consider how a design on paper might be turned into a physical prototype. Faculty observations and student and alumni feedback have indicated that these skills are vital for success in classroom design projects such as senior design, as well as for careers in industry [2].

Kennedy, E., & Ebenstein, D. (2010, June), Engineering Design, Cad And Fabrication Skills Within A Biomedical Engineering Context Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16872

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