3D Printing: Improving Creativity and Digital-to-Physical Relationships in CAD Teaching

DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014

Year: 2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Barrie, Jeff
Series: E&PDE
Institution: University of Bath, United Kingdom
Section: Creativity
Page(s): 586-591
ISBN: 978-1-904670-56-8


Some undergraduate design and engineering students can struggle with many of the abstract concepts of producing a CAD (Computer Aided Design) model. Features often have to be formed linearly and logically to build up the design intent of an object. Bosses need to be ‘added’, ‘extruded’ or ‘protruded’. Holes need to ‘cut’, or ‘cored’ out of a shape. Some of these ‘building’ principles are similar to the construction of a 3D hand-drawn sketch, where features are added or subtracted to form the final shape. Both 3D sketching and 3D CAD modelling practices require good understanding and interpretation of 2D orthogonal views to understand 3D geometry. Difficulty arises when parts come together to form assemblies and relationships within a separate environment. Additional difficulty is found when students have to convert 3D objects back into 2D draft drawings. The 2D to 3D and 3D to 2D relationships can be somewhat confusing-but they are vital for engineering design and drawing. To improve the understanding of CAD practice, 3D printed objects have been introduced to enhance teaching activities. The introduction of 3D printed models has been well received, with better student engagement and an understanding of a 3D object within digital and physical space. Students are now inspired to expand their modelling knowledge as now, what was a simple vehicle modelling assignment, has developed into a creative student challenge where the end goal is a physical 3Dprinted model of their own CAD work.

Keywords: Computer Aided Design (CAD), 3D Printing, Creativity


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