Asee peer logo

Utilization of Freeware and Low Cost Tools in a Rapid Prototyping and Reverse Engineering Course

Download Paper |


2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Innovations in Additive Manufacturing Education

Tagged Division


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Daniel J. Walter Robert Morris University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Mechanical Engineering, Undergraduate
Robert Morris University

visit author page


Arif Sirinterlikci Robert Morris University Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Arif Sirinterlikci is a University Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering and the Department Head of Engineering at Robert Morris University. He holds BS and MS degrees, both in Mechanical Engineering from Istanbul Technical University in Turkey and his Ph.D. is in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Ohio State University. He has been actively involved in ASEE and SME organizations and conducted research in Rapid Prototyping and Reverse Engineering, Biomedical Device Design and Manufacturing, Automation and Robotics, and CAE in Manufacturing Processes fields.

visit author page

Download Paper |


In this Rapid Prototyping and Reverse Engineering Course, the rapid enrollment growth makes teaching more challenging due to having two sections with a total enrollment of eighty three students. The enrollment has increased from a single section of twenty four students in 2014 to its present condition.

Even though the Rapid Prototyping Laboratories are equipped with three FDM/FFF (UPrint SE, CubeX, CubeProDuo), two Powder-based (Prometal RXD and Projet 460+), and one SLA (Projet 1200) printer, maintenance issues and time sharing of the equipment with other courses including the capstone projects reduce the availability of 3D Printers. Therefore, multiple new machines including a Mendelmax and Prusa Mendel were built to utilize in the class. Since the SLA Viper machine was replaced with a Projet 1200, the old but comprehensive software tool of 3D Lightyear had to be replaced with new tools used for both processing of the STL files and printing. These new tools are easier to use but not as comprehensive as the old ones. Thus, a low-cost software such as Simplify3D was acquired and being employed for teaching improved support generation through editing.

On the contrary, the Reverse Engineering capabilities of the department include three scanners, a Konica/Minolta 910, a FARO Platinum arm, and a Creaform Handyscan complemented with multiple perpetual Geomagic Studio licenses for data acquisition and handling. The department also have perpetual licenses for Mimics and 3-Matic, however it chose to replace the Magics software for STL file editing and manipulation with Meshlab and Meshmixer software which are freeware. This decision was made based on the outcome of a student project. In addition, the applications such as 123D Catch and Remake, both by AutoDESK are being employed for more 3D Scanning exposure. After the scan, students are able to send their still pictures taken by their smart phones to a cloud server for 3D image generation and then use Meshlab or Remake in handling the scan data by editing including removal of noise and undesired segments, patching of holes. Remake software can also prepare the scanned geometry for a set of commercial 3D printers available.

This paper will detail use of freeware and low-cost tools including the smart phone applications. These tools do not substitute the industrial 3D Printers or Scanners or their software, but allow greater number of students to be exposed to the current technologies in both fields. Upkeep of these tools are also free or comes with a very low-cost. However, the use of Rep-Rap machines is more challenging than desktop printers that lie within the $2K – 4K cost range and their associated quality. The paper will conclude with an analysis of student feedback and the impact of student learning with assessment of the ABET student learning outcomes.

Walter, D. J., & Sirinterlikci, A. (2017, June), Utilization of Freeware and Low Cost Tools in a Rapid Prototyping and Reverse Engineering Course Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29096

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015