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Integration Of A Rapid Prototyping System In A Met Curriculum

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.359.1 - 3.359.6

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Jack Zecher

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

Session 3549 Integration of a Rapid Prototyping System in a MET Curriculum Jack Zecher Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)


Rapid Prototyping is a process that quickly transforms a CAD model into a physical part. This new technology has made a dramatic impact in industry by helping to speed up the product development cycle. Opportunities also exist for this new technology to have a sizable impact in the educational environment. Unlike the type of impact that this technology has had in industry, the educational benefits of incorporating this technology lie primarily in the student’s improved comprehension of three-dimensional CAD models. By allowing students to physically grasp the results of their work, rather than to merely view an image on a CRT, also raises the students’ level of interest in their coursework and adds a level of excitement to the learning process.

This paper examines how a Genisys rapid prototyping system, that was partially funded by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Undergraduate Education through grant DUE-9650418, was introduced into the MET curriculum at Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis. The approach taken was to introduce this technology into several different courses rather than to devote a single class to this technology. By gradually introducing students to this new technology in several different courses, rapid prototyping is used to reinforce other components of the courses. The experiences of introducing this new technology into the curriculum during this first year are discussed, along with other positive impact that the system has made.


Users of CAD systems have always desired a means to produce three-dimensional hardcopies of their CAD models. Manufacturers of rapid prototyping equipment have finally provided this capability. There are currently several different processes used in commercially available systems: stereolithography, laminated object manufacturing, selective laser sintering, fused deposition modeling and 3D printing are the most prevalent. Industrial firms have been making use of rapid prototyping for a variety of purposes. Several of these include: production of patterns for use in the casting industry; construction of concept models used in design reviews or to communicate with subcontractors for quotes; and usage of models in client presentations.

Incorporation of a rapid prototyping system in an educational setting provides several opportunities that are similar to industry. Students are able to fairly quickly build mock- ups of their designs, in order to evaluate their fit, functionality and in some cases use as

Zecher, J. (1998, June), Integration Of A Rapid Prototyping System In A Met Curriculum Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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