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Integrating A Machine Shop Class Into The Mechanical Engineering Curriculum: Experiential And Inductive Learning

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Introducing Active and Inductive Learning and Improving the Learning Curve in ME

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.910.1 - 12.910.11



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Paper Authors


David Malicky University of San Diego

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David M. Malicky is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of San Diego. His teaching interests are in design, manufacturing, and solid mechanics. His research interests include biomechanics and engineering education. He received a B.S. from Cornell University and a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in Mechanical Engineering and an M.S. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Kansas.

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James Kohl University of San Diego

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James G. Kohl is an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of San Diego. His research interests include the study of mechanical properties, durability, and foul release behavior of silicone coatings. Dr. Kohl received his B.S.M.E. from Western New England College in Springfield, MA in 1985, M.S.M.E. from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA in 1989, and Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY in 1995.

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Ming Huang University of San Diego

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Ming Z. Huang is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at University of San Diego. Dr. Huang is a registered Professional Engineer and is actively involved in research focusing on integrating industry practices with engineering educations. Dr. Huang received his B.S. from the National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan in 1980, M.S. from the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, Rhode Island in 1984, and Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio in 1988, all in Mechanical Engineering.

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

Integrating a Machine Shop Class into the Mechanical Engineering Curriculum: Experiential and Inductive Learning

David M. Malicky, James G. Kohl, Ming Z. Huang University of San Diego


Inductive learning begins with concrete experience, observations, or a question, and then develops knowledge, skills, and theory from that basis1. Research has demonstrated it is superior to the more traditional deductive learning methods in that inductive learning promotes deep knowledge structures, critical thinking, and intellectual development1. Further, industrial employers have often called for mechanical engineers who have hands-on skills and integrated knowledge2-3. This paper examines how a Machine Shop Practices and Solid Modeling course (MENG 351) is integrated with other concurrent or future courses, utilizing an inductive and active learning model1,4. We expect that the integration of hands-on machining/fabrication, experimentation, analysis, design, and theory results in less compartmentalization of knowledge, greater student enthusiasm, and deeper learning of concepts. Integration of MENG 351 occurs across a number of courses, including Systems Laboratory, Mechanics of Materials, Machine Design, Thermodynamics, and others.

Projects were carefully chosen to achieve the learning objectives of MENG 351 and to interface with future courses in the inductive learning process. The shop portion of MENG 351 is aimed at developing skills in woodworking, manual machining, and sheetmetal fabrication. In a later course (Manufacturing Processes), students develop CNC and welding skills. Students worked in teams of 2 for almost all projects. In the shop, this buddy-system arrangement helped ensure students were attentive to each other’s safety; no significant injuries occurred throughout the course.

Woodworking Projects: Fast-Return Actuator and Acoustic Guitar

As their introductory project to woodworking equipment, students constructed a simple mechanism (Figure 1). This fast-return actuator (an inversion of the slider-crank mechanism) is then analyzed in the concurrent Dynamics class. This project taught skills on the miter saw, table saw, drill press, sander, and band-saw. The basic design was adapted and modified from Levy5. Mechanical engineering students sometimes have pre-existing skills in woodworking; this project was designed to allow both basic and advanced versions, to provide challenge to all levels. This project typically took 1 lab period.

Malicky, D., & Kohl, J., & Huang, M. (2007, June), Integrating A Machine Shop Class Into The Mechanical Engineering Curriculum: Experiential And Inductive Learning Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2227

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