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Examining the Integration and Motivational Impact of Hands on Made4Me: Hands-on Machining, Analysis and Design Experiences for Mechanical Engineers

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.706.1 - 26.706.16



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Paper Authors


Jeremy John Vaillant University of Massachusetts Lowell department of Mechanical Engineering

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Ph. D candidate with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering with a Design and Manufacturing Concentration who develops CNC technology for academic research and education. He also designs experimental hardware, electronics and software coding to automate mechanical systems.

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Christopher J Hansen University of Massachusetts, Lowell Orcid 16x16

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Jonathan D. Stolk Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering


Stephen Johnston University of Massachusetts, Lowell

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Stephen P. Johnston is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plastics Engineering at the UMass Lowell. His research interests include process monitoring and control for injection molding, plastic product design, and injection mold design. He is an inventor on three patents and author of over thirty publications.

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Sammy G. Shina University of Massachusetts, Lowell


David Joe Willis University of Massachusetts, Lowell

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David Willis is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at UMass Lowell. His interests are in aerodynamics and engineering education. He works on projects ranging from parachutes to bio-inspired flight and CNCs in the undergraduate classroom.

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Examining the Integration and Motivational Impact of Hands on Made4Me: Hands-on Machining, Analysis and Design Experiences for Mechanical Engineers By: J. Vaillant*, D.J. Willis*, C.J. Hansen*, S.P. Johnston+, S. Shina*, and J. Stolk^ • * Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Lowell ^ • Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Olin College + • Department of Plastics Engineering, University of Massachusetts Lowell This paper will present our integration and implementation of hands-on machining, analysisand design experiences in the freshman, sophomore and capstone design courses in theDepartment of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The paperwill report on the progress made in the second year of the deployment of inexpensive desktopcomputer numerical control (CNC) prototyping machines/stations. These machines have bothmilling and 3-dimensional printing capability – though the majority of projects performed to dateare based on milling. Although these desktop prototyping tools are lower-accuracy and restrictedto prototyping materials (machining wax, wood, ABS plastic, etc), they provide an opportunityfor real, hands-on prototyping and advanced machining experiences for engineering students thatmay not be otherwise possible with more expensive, manufacturing machines that often demandmore experienced operators. With these lower cost machines, we are able to introduce thescience and engineering behind modern prototyping and manufacturing while allowing studentsto explore, experience and understand these concepts in a hands-on, design oriented manner. Our poster will highlight how these desktop prototyping systems have been introduced andintegrated into freshman and sophomore courses and will highlight several examples ofengineering projects that have been performed by the students using these CNC machines. Theseexamples will show how desktop CNC machines can enhance student experiential learning inengineering and fundamental science. In addition, we will present the strategies used toencourage more widespread use of the machines to other engineering disciplines as well as theexperience with a preliminary deployment of CNC machines at a local community college.Results of student engagement and motivation survey studies in the courses that make use of theCNC machines will also be presented. These student motivation results will be compared withtraditional lecture-based courses as well as other project-based courses to provide insight into onhow these hands-on prototyping experiences can foster engineering student motivation. Ourquantitative survey results show that, on average, students in the hands-on courses experiencedhigher intrinsic motivation and found more value in their learning compared to students in moretraditional lecture-based courses. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under GrantNo 1245657. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in thismaterial are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NationalScience Foundation.

Vaillant, J. J., & Hansen, C. J., & Stolk, J. D., & Johnston, S., & Shina, S. G., & Willis, D. J. (2015, June), Examining the Integration and Motivational Impact of Hands on Made4Me: Hands-on Machining, Analysis and Design Experiences for Mechanical Engineers Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24043

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