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Enhancing Undergraduate Understanding of Subtractive Manufacturability through Virtualized Simulation of CNC Machining

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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

Projects in Manufacturing Curriculum

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Roby Lynn


Kathryn W. Jablokow Pennsylvania State University, Great Valley

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Dr. Kathryn Jablokow is an Associate Professor of Engineering Design and Mechanical Engineering at Penn State University. A graduate of Ohio State University (Ph.D., Electrical Engineering), Dr. Jablokow’s teaching and research interests include problem solving, invention, and creativity in science and engineering, as well as robotics and manufacturing education. In addition to her membership in ASEE, she is a Senior Member of IEEE, a Fellow of ASME, and the recipient of the 2016 ASME Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Design Educator Award. Dr. Jablokow is the architect of a unique 4-course module focused on creativity and problem solving leadership and is currently developing a new methodology for cognition-based design. She is one of three instructors for Penn State’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Creativity, Innovation, and Change, and she is the founding director of the Problem Solving Research Group, whose 50+ collaborating members include faculty and students from several universities, as well as industrial representatives, military leaders, and corporate consultants.

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Christopher Saldana


Thomas Marshall Tucker Tucker Innovations

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Dr. Tommy Tucker is the CEO and owner of Tucker Innovations. He has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has over 15 years of experience writing computationally intensive software applications for engineering, medical, and defense applications. After spending the early part of his career at high tech start-up companies, Dr. Tucker founded Tucker Innovations to facilitate his software consulting activities. Through Tucker Innovations, Dr. Tucker has aided various organizations in producing software applications from concept to product launch and continuing through multiple release cycles. Clients range from small high tech startup companies to large organizations such as 3M, 3D Systems, the US Navy, and US Air Force.

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Thomas Kurfess Georgia Institute of Technology

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Thomas R. Kurfess received his S.B., S.M. and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from M.I.T. in 1986, 1987 and 1989, respectively. He also received an S.M. degree from M.I.T. in electrical engineering and computer science in 1988. He currently is a Professor in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech where he holds the HUSCO/Ramirez Distinguished Chair in Fluid Power and Motion Control.

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Engineering students are often unaware of the manufacturing challenges that are introduced during the design process. Frequently, students will design parts that are either very difficult or impossible to manufacture; this often occurs because they are unaware of the intricacies and limitations of the manufacturing processes available. Design for manufacturability (DFM) education must be improved to help address this issue.

This paper discusses a vision for the implementation of a rapid method for facilitating DFM education in terms of subtractive and additive manufacturing processes. The goal is to teach students about how their designs impact the ease and cost of manufacturing, in addition to giving them knowledge and confidence to move fluidly between additive and subtractive manufacturing mindsets. For subtractive manufacturing, this is accomplished through a high-performance-computing-accelerated (HPC-accelerated) and parallelized trajectory planning software package that enables students to visualize the subtractive manufacturability of the parts they design as rapidly as they get feedback when using additive manufacturing processes. A similar package is envisioned to support effective decision-making for additive manufacturing as well.

The implementation of the prototype HPC-accelerated CAM package for subtractive manufacturing in a required, high enrollment, undergraduate mechanical engineering course at a large public university is described as a pilot study to test our vision. A group of forty students was selected as the experimental group from the approximately 200 total students in the course; the remaining students served as control sections. The experimental group was given training and practice with the proposed CAM package; these students were also taught how to operate CNC lathes. Both the experimental and control section students were given a number of online assessments throughout the study. These assessments were designed to measure the students’ understanding of simple concepts in both additive and subtractive manufacturability. A score comparison between the treatment and control groups reveals that the implementation of the HPC-accelerated CAM package is effective in rapidly increasing undergraduate understanding of DFM for subtractive manufacturing.

Lynn, R., & Jablokow, K. W., & Saldana, C., & Tucker, T. M., & Kurfess, T. (2017, June), Enhancing Undergraduate Understanding of Subtractive Manufacturability through Virtualized Simulation of CNC Machining Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28282

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