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MAKER: Utilizing 3-D Printing of Nanotechnology Design Project Prototypes to Enhance Undergraduate Learning

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





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Richard Thomas Bannerman The Ohio State University

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Undergraduate Teaching Assistant in the Ohio State University Fundamentals of Engineering Honors (FEH) Program.

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Andrew Theiss The Ohio State University

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Andrew Theiss is a Ph.D. student in the biomedical engineering graduate program at The Ohio State University. Andrew received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at The Ohio State University in 2009. He currently works as a graduate research associate in the Wexner Medical Center and is in his third year as a graduate teaching associate in the Engineering Education Innovation Center (EEIC). His engineering research interests are focused on the development of biosensing systems utilizing field-effect transistor platform, and his education research interests include first-year experience and TA development.

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Deborah M. Grzybowski The Ohio State University

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Dr. Deborah Grzybowski is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Engineering Education and the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The Ohio State University. She received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering and her B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University. Her research focuses on making engineering accessible to all students, including students with visual impairments, through the use of art-infused curriculum and models. Prior to becoming focused on student success and retention, her research interests included regulation of intracranial pressure and transport across the blood-brain barrier in addition to various ocular-cellular responses to fluid forces and the resulting implications in ocular pathologies.

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This paper will present the application of 3D printing in a first-year engineering program to produce prototypes of a biomedical device for a first year undergraduate engineering course at The Ohio State University in sufficient detail to allow others to successfully develop a similar project. Devices were designed by four-person student groups in the second course in a sequence for the Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors program with the goal of detecting a disease in a point of care setting. A key component of these devices were both the micro- and nano- scale features which made disease detection possible.

In previous years, students were only able to design their device using computer-aided design software and did not that have the option to prototype their devices. The project was limited to a theoretical design presented through a PowerPoint-style presentation. In 2014, the option to 3D print a scale model of their device design was introduced but the format of the presentation was unchanged. In order to maximize the benefit of the 3D printed parts, in 2015 the format was changed to a poster presentation which was hosted concurrently with the senior capstone design showcase poster presentations.

Students will have the option to 3D print any component(s) of their biomedical device in order to aid in audience understanding of their work during the poster presentation. It will be suggested that students print 1:1 models of their entire devices either as a whole or as an assembly of parts. It will also be suggested that scaled-up versions of key micro- and nano-scale features are made in order to allow judges to better understand what these features do to aid in disease detection, especially since they could never been seen on a 1:1 model.

We expect students to utilize this optional resource in order to better communicate with their audience at their poster showcase. We also expect students to increase their understanding of their own devices by being able to hold and touch scaled-up versions of micro- and nano-scale features instead of being limited to an image on a computer screen. Student experiences will be reported as well as suggestions for improvement and application to other programs. Some example student prototyped devices will also be presented.

Bannerman, R. T., & Theiss, A., & Grzybowski, D. M. (2016, June), MAKER: Utilizing 3-D Printing of Nanotechnology Design Project Prototypes to Enhance Undergraduate Learning Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25653

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