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Rapid Prototyping In An Electromechanical Engineering Technology Program

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Capstone/Design Projects: Electr-Mech ET

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1051.1 - 10.1051.15



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Paper Authors

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Andrew Vavreck

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Rebecca Strzelec

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

Rapid Prototyping in an Electromechanical Engineering Technology Program Rebecca A. Strzelec, Andrew N. Vavreck Pennsylvania State University, Altoona College


Fused deposition modeling (FDM) is one of many prototyping techniques available today for building three-dimensional tangible models of mechanical parts for use during the design process. In the senior capstone course for electromechanical engineering technology (EMET) students at Penn State Altoona, a FDM system is used to create part concepts and test them for fit and function. The FDM ABS components are also often incorporated in completed design projects, as functional and aesthetic elements. But the FDM has much broader applications throughout the program and across the campus, as the centerpiece of a unique partnership between art and engineering faculty. “CAD for Artists”, an introductory level art course that includes the use of the FDM machine, is taught concurrently with the capstone design course. Ongoing faculty research in conjunction with the FDM machine provides invaluable “real world” models for the students. In addition to the use of rapid prototyping technology among undergraduate students, and for faculty research, outreach occurs each spring in the form of a program for several dozen middle school (11-13 year old) female students from south-central Pennsylvania, with an interest in science and engineering. In teams, the students design their own consumer product and use the FDM to make the parts, which the students can handle and discuss.

The paper describes • the history of the collaboration between art and engineering faculty; • experiences with EMET students and their use of the design tool; • observations of the impact of the FDM outreach effort; • operation, benefits and limitations of the FDM; • interesting senior project applications; • mechanical properties of FDM ABS copolymer; and • planned future directions for the design collaboration.


Penn State Altoona, one of 24 Penn State campus locations in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is located in the south-center of the state, about an hour’s drive southwest of the main campus in State College. The campus is undergraduate and residential, with an enrollment of around 4,000 students. Penn State Altoona is a College of the University, and offers three engineering technology degrees: associate degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering technology (ME T and EE T) and a baccalaureate degree in electromechanical engineering technology (EMET). The EMET degree, a 2+2 program, graduates about 30 students a year, most of whom have graduated from one of the associate technology courses at the campus. The

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Vavreck, A., & Strzelec, R. (2005, June), Rapid Prototyping In An Electromechanical Engineering Technology Program Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14178

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