Rapid Prototyping: Projects in 3D Design Curriculum


The Industry Approach to Teaching Design, Autodesk Inventor/SolidWorks, and 3D Printing

This project and process based course allows you to guide students as they learn to think and prototype like designers.  Students go beyond buttonology to see measuring tools, design software, and 3D Printers as part of a larger process powered by their imagination.  They become innovators not just users.

You can offer a program to your students that caters to today’s industry needs.   Smaller companies and individuals are performing full service prototyping from idea to production in house.  Furthermore, the types of companies using 3D Design have expanded from manufacturers and engineering firms to firms in biology and other sciences even fashion.  This means you can prepare your current students for many industries as well as attract students from STEM and agriculture.

Why Is an Industry Approach Important for Students?

  • First, digital design and 3D printing are clearly useful for new products, but industry uses 3D Design in many more applications. An authentic industry experience will include evaluating current designs, creating custom tools, designing mates, designing parts to be assembled, manufacturing, and more.  We’ve partnered with industry and asked them what types of questions and problems do they address regularly.  Many of the problems they encounter are in current products and current machinery.  Your students should be prepared to use 3D printing departments outside of research and development.
  • Second, individuals and small teams can now prototype and even manufacture products cheaper and more efficiently. But that doesn’t replace the need for planning, documenting, evaluating and modifying.  While an individual can do technically what a whole engineering department did in a small space, they also have to take on those project management roles of a large team.  The key to managing is learning the Prototyping Process.  This is a unique process tailored to the needs of rapid prototyping and 3D printing that includes ideation and Gantt charts to reporting and presentations.

How Does It Work?

Students solve design challenges over 5 units using a process that helps them design with purpose. Each unit focuses on an industry question and provides step by step instruction on unique software and hardware considerations necessary to complete the challenge.  As students progress new tools are added to build their knowledge of prototyping, project management to various projects.  We want future designers and industry professionals to see more than a set of software and hardware tools; we want them to understand how those tools can be managed and utilized to bring their imagination to reality.

Tool topics include:  Autodesk Inventor or SolidWorks; calipers, 3D printing, soldering and electrical design, 3D printing, Spreadsheet and word processing for planning and presentation; and more

Unit Topics include:  Custom Tool Creation (Clamp Design); Part Duplication and Modification (Ranger Boat and 3Rd Party Parts); New Concept Designs (Coffee Cup Holder); Electrical and Shell Designs (Working Flashlight Design); and Assembled Prototypes (Trebuchet)

Course Design

Ideal Classes:  Tech Ed, Manufacturing, 3D Design, Advanced Manufacturing, Rapid Prototyping, Industrial Design, CAD, 3D Printing, Architecture, Engineering, Construction

Time:  Semester or 90 contact hours.  Maybe taught continuous or integrated into existing course structure.  As instructor chooses design time can be expanded beyond 90 hours.

Course Materials

Course Materials Include:3DPrinting_PageImage_96_large

  • Semester Course in 3D Design
  • Measuring Tools
  • Student Manual
  • Teacher Manual
  • Lesson Plans
  • Presentations and Notes
  • Videos

Required Components:
Use existing materials at the school site or May be purchased as part of the course.

  • SolidWorks or Inventor
  • 3D Printer
  • Computer lab (1:1 Ratio to students or groups)


For more information, visit: http://www.digitalquest.com/prototyping.html

Manufacturer: Digital Quest
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