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Freshman Engineering Course Module Utilizing A 3 D Modeling Tool

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.509.1 - 6.509.3



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Paper Authors

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Roger Ferguson

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Lisa Anneberg

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

Session 2525

FRESHMAN ENGINEERING COURSE MODULE UTILIZING A 3 D MODELING TOOL Lisa Anneberg Departments of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Lawrence Technological University, Southfield, MI

Roger Ferguson Department of Computer Science and Information Technology Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI


Instructors of freshman level Introduction to Engineering and Design courses are faced with numerous objectives, some of which are conflicting:

1. interesting projects - from both the professor and student viewpoint 2. projects with elements of design 3. project with the latest technology 4. retention related issues

The engineer has always been in forefront of visualization tools, since 'a picture is worth a thousand words'. Two-dimensional drawing and simulation packages are quite well established and useful. Three dimensional modeling tools take the engineer to the next level, and are far more descriptive. This paper describes a module utilized in a freshman level design course based around a 3 dimensional modeling tool. Additionally, the module is easily available on the web or on CD ROM for immediate utilization by instructors. However, other modules using other tools could be developed. We utilize a product that has an interesting demonstration program, which looks remarkably like a video game. The freshmen utilize existing skills, synthesize new problem solving mechanisms, and quickly adapt to the three-dimensional drawing capabilities - in addition to accomplishing an enjoyable new task.

Introduction to 3D design

Modeling object in 3D offers a great advantage over 2D drawing. Once the geometry of an object is expressed, it can be used to render images from any angle or distance, the object can be dimensioned, rotated, moved around and textured in an infinite number of ways. However, describing the geometry of an object in 3 dimension can be done in very different way, using various tools. The think3 tool was initially selected for the following reasons, although a number of other 3D tools exist that would also be very well suited for this module:

1. low cost

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American society for Engineering Education

Ferguson, R., & Anneberg, L. (2001, June), Freshman Engineering Course Module Utilizing A 3 D Modeling Tool Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9289

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