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Introducing Sheet Metal Design And Manufacturing Using Catia V5 And Cnc Equipment In An Aircraft Materials Course

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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

Teaching Topics in Aircraft Manufacturing

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

12.978.1 - 12.978.9



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Paper Authors

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Ronald Sterkenburg Purdue University

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Sergey Dubikovsky Purdue University

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

Introducing Sheet Metal Design and Manufacturing Using CATIAV5 and CNC Equipment in an Aircraft Materials Course Abstract

Students of the Aviation Department at Purdue University enroll in a computer graphics course (CGT 162) during their freshmen year, and in this course they learn how to use the CATIA V5 Solid modeling software. CATIA V5 solid modeling software is used extensively in the aerospace industry to design aircraft and aircraft parts. The authors of this paper have incorporated a new project in the AT166 Aircraft Materials II course to reinforce the knowledge gained in the introductory course and to apply this new skill set to design, and manufacture an aluminum alloy formed wing rib using CNC equipment and conventional sheet metal equipment. For this project students select a wing airfoil using commercial available software based on assigned parameters like gross weight, cruise speed and stall speed. An airfoil for a small piston powered experimental aircraft is selected with a maximum gross weight of 500 pounds, cruise speed of 150 mph, and a stall speed of 50 mph. Airfoil optimizer software is used to download the drawings of the selected airfoil. The CATIA V5 part design workbench is used to model the wing rib form blocks, and the sheet metal design workbench is used to model the formed wing rib. A complete set of engineering drawings is generated to manufacture the parts. The flat pattern layout of the wing rib is cut with a CNC mill, and the wing rib is formed by using form blocks, and a press brake. The authors have noticed that students quickly lose the knowledge acquired during the introductory CGT course, if they don’t use it. By introducing new coursework that builds on existing knowledge, they hope to improve the student’s knowledge of design software and CNC machining. The students are introduced to a complete manufacturing cycle from conceptual design to the actual manufacture of the part.

The importance of using CATIA V5 software for technology students

CATIA V5 solid modeling software is used extensively in the aerospace industry to design aircraft and aircraft parts, and it is important that technology students learn this new software early on and expand their knowledge during subsequent course work. The program is too large and complicated to master in one course, and if you don’t use the program regularly the knowledge will disappear soon. Our students are required to take an introductory computer graphics course during their freshmen year. CATIA V5 is the program used in the course, but this course is focused on learning how to use the program1. There is not an output application besides creating engineering drawings. There is only enough time in this course to teach students the parts design, assembly, and drafting work benches. Specialized workbenches like sheet metal design or prismatic machining are not covered. We feel that the introductory course is only the first step, and the knowledge needs to be reinforced and expanded in specific aviation courses where CATIA V5 will be used to fabricate parts with CNC equipment. We also encourage students to pursue a minor in computer graphics to further polish their CATIA skills, if they are interested in aerospace manufacturing careers.

Many of the freshmen students who are required to take the introductory computer graphics course have indicated that they don’t like it; they don’t like to sit behind a computer and would rather be involved in a more practical application. They don’t feel that they produce something

Sterkenburg, R., & Dubikovsky, S. (2007, June), Introducing Sheet Metal Design And Manufacturing Using Catia V5 And Cnc Equipment In An Aircraft Materials Course Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2037

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