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Remotely Accessible 3-D Printer for Teaching CNC Programming: Lessons Learned

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Instructional technologies - Simulations, VR, Remote Education

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Sheng-Jen Hsieh Texas A&M University

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Dr. Sheng-Jen (“Tony”) Hsieh is a Professor in the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. He holds a joint appointment with the Department of Engineering Technology and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His research interests include engineering education, cognitive task analysis, automation, robotics and control, intelligent manufacturing system design, and micro/nano manufacturing. He is also the Director of the Rockwell Automation laboratory at Texas A&M University, a state-of-the-art facility for education and research in the areas of automation, control, and automated system integration.

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Remote labs can provide authentic and self-paced learning experiences and help to overcome barriers to learning such as high equipment cost and limited lab time.. The paper describes the development of a remotely accessible Ultimaker 3D printer and learning materials for learning CNC programming to enable remote learning. A 3D printer is similar to a 3-axis CNC machine in having X, Y, and Z axes, but is more affordable and versatile. Users can either run an entire CNC program as a job or run a segment of code at a time. The materials were evaluated by students during the lab time. Students responded positively overall to the remote access tool and to seeing the real-time response of the printer to the G-code; and expressed a desire for more time to play with the system. Student suggestions included providing a better view of the position of the tool tip. Future directions include splitting the program into subroutines so that a sub-routine will be executed only when requested, rather than loading the entire program at the beginning. We will also provide a better view of the 3D rendering model using multiple images from webcams positioned at different locations in the machine work envelope.

Hsieh, S. (2020, June), Remotely Accessible 3-D Printer for Teaching CNC Programming: Lessons Learned Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35141

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