Preparing to Use Rapid Prototyping: Lessons Learned from Design and Manufacturing Projects

6064 Words Jun 28th, 2015 25 Pages
Dr. Hung-da Wan, University of Texas, San Antonio
Hung-da Wan is an Assistant Professor of the Mechanical Engineering Department and the Director of
Machine Shop of College of Engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He has been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of computer integrated manufacturing systems, Six Sigma and lean methodologies, and manufacturing systems engineering. He also manages two rapid prototyping systems at UTSA. His current research interests include sustainability of manufacturing systems and web-based applications in manufacturing.
Mr. Firasath Ahmed Syed,
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In some cases, functional mechanical components can be made directly, which is especially useful for capstone design projects.
While RP has become a beneficial addition to engineering curricula, it can also be a burden to the instructors and students. In engineering, RP is typically introduced with an emphasis on the special features it can provide (e.g. freeform shaping and direct manufacturing), while the limitations and practical issues of RP often do not receive equal attention. Without a proper preparation, students’ knowledge about RP can be superficial or even incorrect. As a result, students often overlook the constraints and fail to use RP appropriately.
This paper investigates the use of RP in design and manufacturing courses with a focus on preparing students and instructors to use the technology properly. With the experience of managing two different RP machines (i.e. fused deposition modeling and 3D printing), the authors have documented a collection of failures of student projects involving RP. The causes of failure have been categorized into Dimensional, Functional, Operational, and Economical.
Finally, a guideline is provided for preparation of using RP in design or manufacturing courses in hopes of helping the readers create a more enjoyable and effective learning environment.
In recent years, an increasing number of engineering educators have adopted Rapid Prototyping
(RP) as a

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