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Spatial Demonstration Tools for Teaching Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) to First-Year Undergraduate Engineering Students

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Engineering Design Graphics Division Technical Session 2: Instructional

Tagged Division

Engineering Design Graphics

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Paper Authors


Myela A. Paige Georgia Institute of Technology

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Myela Paige is a first-year graduate research assistant in the Engineering Design Research Lab at Georgia Institute of Technology. She is pursuing her Master of Science and PhD in Mechanical Engineering under the advisement of Dr. Katherine Fu. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2015. Myela is passionate about helping students from all walks of life receive the same opportunities. Her research interests include engineering education, education policy, and educational solutions for low-resource communities. Myela enjoys volunteering with local Atlanta-area schools to engage students in STEM and talking to them about college and the opportunities she has been given.

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Katherine Fu Georgia Institute of Technology

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Dr. Kate Fu is an Assistant Professor at Georgia Institute of Technology with a joint appointment in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Design. Prior to this appointment, she has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). In May 2012, she completed her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. She received her M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon in 2009, and her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University in 2007. Her work has focused on studying the engineering design process through cognitive studies, and extending those findings to the development of methods and tools to facilitate more effective and inspired design and innovation.

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Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) is a design tool and symbolic language that allows design engineers to communicate design intent and requirements, with particular attention to function and relationship of the part features, to those manufacturing the parts. GD&T can help save money by reducing waste parts, increasing uniformity, completeness and interchangeability of parts in manufacturing. GD&T is a topic that many employers consistently request that undergraduate students know and understand, both at graduation and during undergraduate summer internships and coops, as early as the summer after their first year. GD&T can be a particularly tricky topic to teach, due to complexity, breadth of information, required spatial reasoning, and common lack of prior exposure to the topic. To assist students in developing a spatial understanding GD&T at a basic level in a first year undergraduate engineering CAD, sketching, and visualization course, a set of hands-on demonstration tools have been developed. This paper presents those tools and how to make your own set, along with a few additional activities to help students engage with and retain the concepts. The tools can be made with inexpensive materials, requiring only clear plastic sheets (PVC, acrylic, etc.), clear tape, permanent marker, and colored paper. These materials have been used in a course with 9 sections of 50 students each, and indicate appropriate feasibility for classes of a similar scale.

Paige, M. A., & Fu, K. (2017, June), Spatial Demonstration Tools for Teaching Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) to First-Year Undergraduate Engineering Students Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28835

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