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“Toying” To Learn For 21 St Century Product Development Environments

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Using IT to Enhance Design Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1325.1 - 8.1325.15



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Paper Authors

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Karthik Ramani

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Anderson David

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Alexander Lee

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

Session 1061

“Toying” to Learn for 21st Century Product Development Environments: Computer-Aided Design, Collaboration, and Rapid Prototyping

Alexander Lee, David Anderson, Karthik Ramani∗

School of Mechanical Engineering Purdue University


A successful hands-on learning environment has been developed for a computer-aided design and prototyping class (ME444). The goals for this course are a) to help students learn multi- dimensional aspects of advanced product design and b) to allow them to practice in a collaborative environment while prototyping a working toy. The learning environment combines (1) hands-on use of the Intranet for computer-based learning, (2) a team-based project to prototype a real product, (3) virtual design and assembly of the student-created toy using CAD, (4) realistic budgeting and design constraints, and (5) advanced prototyping techniques. The first phase of the course focuses on learning advanced CAD tools using web-based learning software. Both the instructor and teaching assistants help students in the laboratory. The students design a toy conceptually as they become familiar with CAD tools. In the second phase, each group designs a toy using a budget to buy standard parts such as motors and controllers. The complete design, assembly, and simulation of functionality of the toy are performed using advanced CAD tools. The constraints of the rapid prototyping process are included in the design criteria. In the last phase, a working prototype of the toy is created using a laser-based rapid prototyping process for the end-of-semester product fair. The course creates a sense of ownership of the project by allowing students to design their own project.


An observation made in 1965 by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, was that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented. Data density has doubled approximately every 18 months, which is the current definition of Moore's Law. Most experts, including Moore himself, expect Moore's Law to hold for at least another two decades. The improvement of computation power has spawned many innovations in software in diverse areas. Early Computer-Aided Design (CAD) was used for time-consuming computations in the shipbuilding and aerospace industry. However, it was cumbersome to use and accessible to only a few large corporations. In time, computers became cheaper, and interactive software was enabled through the commercialization of the mouse and

∗ Primary author to whom correspondence should be sent.

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Ramani, K., & David, A., & Lee, A. (2003, June), “Toying” To Learn For 21 St Century Product Development Environments Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11411

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