St. Louis, Missouri
June 18, 2000
June 18, 2000
June 21, 2000
5.688.1 - 5.688.10
Using Computer-Aided Design to Enhance Engineering Technology Education
Daniel M. Chen Central Michigan University
This article discusses the use of a computer-aided design (CAD) software as an enhancement to an undergraduate mechanical engineering technology program. With advances in both hardware and software, the technology in CAD is changing rapidly. Although many major software packages in the market are much easier to learn and use, they are more sophisticated in terms of capabilities. It is easy for one to know what the software is doing with visual feedback at every step. This is especially important for engineering technology students who learn best when they can see things and work with them. At Central Michigan University, the CAD software is utilized to enhance students’ learning in mechanics of materials, mechanical design and mechanism design. The mechanical/structural problems are used as vehicles to teach proper use of the software and to use it as a way of dealing with various topics incorporated in these subjects. The goal is that the student should be able to grasp the physical problem, understand how a model behaves, check results for accuracy, and know the limitations of the theory on which they are based. In order to investigate the level of success, the instructor often sits with students at the computer to offer advice and monitor their modeling skill and physical understanding of the problem. The focuses of this investigation are on: (1) how the CAD software is used as a visually driven design tool, (2) how the tool allows students to see and increase their understanding the effects of different design parameters, and (3) what difficulties students encounter while using the software.
Currently in the industry, the CAE software packages have a wide range and sophisticated capabilities. They are becoming more and more user-friendly, easier to operate and master. Some of these software packages in the market today include Unigraphics, CATIA, Pro/ENGINEER, I-DEAS, etc. The capabilities of all these software have evolved greatly and enabled designers to predict the outcome of their designs. Some of these software are currently being utilized by the largest automobile companies. In reference to the goal of reducing the total cost, companies have found that 70%  of the total life-cycle cost of a product is determined in the early concept design stage. It is important to make the right choices in this early design phase.
The various courses offered for mechanical engineering technology (MET) program at Central Michigan University have incorporated such a software called I-DEAS, which is developed by Structural Dynamics Research Corporation (SDRC). The Unix-based software employs the concept of 3D master model. As depicted in Figure 1, the 3D master model is a starting point and a shared information source containing the geometric definition of the parts and assemblies
Chen, D. M. (2000, June), Using Computer Aided Design To Enhance Engineering Technology Education Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. https://peer.asee.org/8806
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