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Recent Architectural Engineering Projects Using Rapid Prototyping

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Technical Issues in Architectural Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1043.1 - 9.1043.8



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Paper Authors

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Michael McGeen

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

Session 2406

Recent Architectural Engineering Projects Using Rapid Prototyping

Michael McGeen, AIA Milwaukee School of Engineering


In today’s construction industry, with the introduction of new materials, free-form shapes of buildings, special problems with historical preservation, LEED Certification of buildings and even buildings with very large components that move, there are many new challenges for architectural engineers. This paper highlights some of the work done at Milwaukee School of Engineering by undergraduate students in summer of 2002 and 2003 that links architectural engineering with our Rapid Prototyping Center. This work started as research under the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Solid Freeform Fabrication program at MSOE. This is a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. In the past projects have ranged from replication of historical decorative plaster details, writing code to translate drawing files into a form that can be read by the rapid prototyping machines, to modeling a building designed for Milwaukee School of Engineering by Santiago Calatrava. More recent projects have explored the use of Visual Basic to translate drawings into a form that can be utilized by rapid prototyping (RP), a method of using RP and photo stress analysis in the design of point supported glass, and two projects that utilize GIS data and RP to study the Milwaukee River Watershed. An encouraging side benefit of this undergraduate research has been a high percentage of our REU students going on to graduate school.

I. Introduction

Milwaukee School of Engineering Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) is a private, coeducational nonsectarian university located in a metropolitan center. It provides a balanced education -- undergraduate and graduate -- for men and women in the disciplines of engineering, engineering technology, business, communication, construction management, medical informatics, nursing and perfusion ( The mission is accomplished through an organized environment that places carefully recruited students among highly qualified faculty, a dedicated support staff and strategic partners in business and industry - all committed to meeting the ultimate objective of a graduate fully prepared for immediate productivity and advancement.

II. REU Program and Rapid Prototyping

The REU program at MSOE is funded by the National Science foundation and provides undergraduate students an opportunity to gain hands on experience in doing research. Topics of research at MSOE include biomedical, bio-molecular, aerospace, architecture,

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

McGeen, M. (2004, June), Recent Architectural Engineering Projects Using Rapid Prototyping Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13179

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