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Innovative Modern Engineering Design And Rapid Prototyping Course: A Rewarding Cad/Cae/Cam Experience For Undergraduates

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Design And Manufacturing Experiences I

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.740.1 - 9.740.12

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Paper Authors

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William Nadir

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Peter Young

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Il Yong Kim

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Olivier de Weck

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David Wallace

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

Session 332

Innovative Modern Engineering Design and Rapid Prototyping Course: A Rewarding CAD/CAE/CAM Experience for Undergraduates

Il Yong Kim, Olivier de Weck, William Nadir, Peter Young and David Wallace

Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems Division Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139


This paper presents a new undergraduate design course in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. This course combines design theory, lectures and hands-on activities to teach the design stages from conception to implementation. Activities include hand sketching, CAD, CAE, CAM, design optimization, rapid prototyping, and structural testing. The learning objectives, pedagogy, required resources and instructional processes as well as results from a student assessment are discussed.

1. Introduction

A recent survey of undergraduate students in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT has shown that there is a desire for training in modern design methods using state-of-the-art CAD/CAE/CAM technology and design optimization. Individual students have suggested the addition of a short and intense course in rapid prototyping, combined with design optimization. The specific reference from the student survey is paraphrased here: "The CDIO [conceive-design-implement-operate] initiative has been well received by undergraduates, who have thoughtful suggestions for improvements. Some feeling of imbalance between fundamentals and other skills. Offerings in CAD/CAM, machining, fabrication desired."

The intent of this course is to respond to this perceived gap, while exploiting synergies with other engineering departments that have articulated similar needs. We have developed an intense 6-credit-unit IAP (independent activities period)1 course that takes students through the conception, design, and implementation of a single, complex structural component. This activity supports the learning objectives of the Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate (CDIO) initiative [1,2,3] and leverages the latest technologies in computer-assisted design, analysis, optimization, and rapid prototyping. The novelty of this course lies in its combination of rapid prototyping with design optimization in order to demonstrate the complementary capabilities of humans and computers during the design process.

The overall learning objective of this activity is for students to develop a holistic view of and initial competency in engineering design by applying a combination of human

1 IAP is a one-month alternative period during January of each academic year at MIT. The course was offered under the number 16.682 in 2004 and will carry the number 16.810 in the future.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Nadir, W., & Young, P., & Kim, I. Y., & de Weck, O., & Wallace, D. (2004, June), Innovative Modern Engineering Design And Rapid Prototyping Course: A Rewarding Cad/Cae/Cam Experience For Undergraduates Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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