June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies
24.932.1 - 24.932.23
New Inexpensive 3D Printers Open Doors to Novel Experiential Learning Practices in Engineering EducationAbstract Early laboratory demonstrations of rapid prototyping systems were conducted almostthirty years ago (1984). However, their acceptance in undergraduate engineering curricula wasrelatively slow due to the high cost of the equipment, the high cost of the materials used, andhigh maintenance costs. Only a few engineering departments could afford such machines. Eventhen, they were mostly used for demonstrations or limited number of student projects. However,recently this changed. Namely, a new breed of rapid prototyping machines, the inexpensive 3Dprinters, based on the fused deposition modeling (FDM) process emerged. Such 3D printers“build” three-dimensional objects by depositing multiple layers of molten plastic, one on top ofthe other. Instead of paying $100,000 for a single rapid prototyping machine as of a couple ofyears ago, an engineering department can now equip a whole rapid prototyping laboratory withten 3D printers for under $20,000. This affordability creates a number of new possibilities for 3Dprinters’ use in engineering education.This work describes a set of new inexpensive 3D printers and their application in experientiallearning as a part of engineering education. The value of experiments, laboratory exercises, andother hands-on experiences in undergraduate engineering education is well established throughthe Kolb’s experiential learning cycle theory. The use of rapid prototyping machines and moreexpensive 3D printers in aiding visualization in engineering graphics courses, teaching additivemanufacturing methods in manufacturing courses, and building of prototypes in engineeringdesign courses are described in literature. This work will address some of the applications ofinexpensive 3D printers in those areas as well as their applications in teaching mathematics. Anintegration of 3D printers in a multidisciplinary engineering curriculum will be presented.Assessment of student learning due to the implementation of 3D printers will be addressed. Anumber of student projects will be analyzed, and a conclusion on the acceptance of thistechnology by undergraduate students will be derived.
Jaksic, N. I. (2014, June), New Inexpensive 3-D Printers Open Doors to Novel Experiential Learning Practices in Engineering Education Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22865
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015