East Lansing, Michigan
July 26, 2020
July 26, 2020
July 28, 2020
Abstract This informational paper describes the methodology used to teach a hands-on, first-year engineering design class where Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Three-dimensional (3D) printing are introduced as tools to facilitate the creation, design and production of engineered products and systems. Additionally, students are provided insight into Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM), design for manufacturing and embedded computer control. For several years, first-year engineering design was taught at this institution using the Lego® Robotics system as the vehicle for solving engineering design problems presented to each class. While that approach proved to be effective, it was desired to extend the concept of problem-based learning to encompass a variety of realistic scenarios while fostering creativity through enhanced communication and visualization enabled by CAD and 3D printing. The new approach adds two new learning outcomes and removes one from the earlier approach. Assessment of student performance is made primarily through individual assignments, quizzes, a final team project and an exam.
Two significant challenges have arisen with the CAD/3D-printing approach. The first is a compressed timeframe for instruction in the mechanics of using design tools due to 3D printing latencies. The second challenge is that additional human effort is required for the operation and maintenance of the 3D printers. These challenges have been addressed through liberal application of undergraduate teaching assistant (UGTA) efforts in combination with instructional videos. Instructional videos (generally 10 minutes or less) are provided for each topic covered during the first several lectures, to help students prepare for class. UGTAs provide individual support to students during class while new 3D modeling capabilities are introduced, help students outside of class by providing tutoring sessions, and have a large share of the responsibility for the operation and maintenance of the 3D printing lab.
This class has been met with great enthusiasm from students, instructors and administrators; and has resulted in many creative and surprisingly complex, meticulously implemented projects. An initiative was begun in the fall 2019 semester, where embedded control capability was incorporated into many of the existing projects by students with minimal programming experience. This has proven to have had a positive impact on making projects more realistic and on capturing student interest. This paper will provide an overview of our methodology in order to allow other institutions to develop a similar model.
Lenn, J., & Menkulasi, F., & Jansons, M., & Yousif-Dickow, J. M., & Kleinschrodt, M., & Potoff, J. (2020, July), Incorporating Computer Aided Design and Three-Dimensional Printing in a First Year Engineering Design Course Paper presented at 2020 First-Year Engineering Experience, East Lansing, Michigan. https://peer.asee.org/35773
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