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Saturday, October 6 • 10:45am - 11:25am
Design for Additive Manufacturing Education: The Power of Informal Learning Experiences

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The true power of Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies lies in their layer-wise approach to fabrication, which provides unsurpassed design freedom in both the geometric topology and the material composition of a product. However, this potential is limited in part by designers’ lack of knowledge on how exactly to fully exploit the process capabilities. A lack of knowledge of how to design products specifically for AM (DfAM) is often viewed as a barrier to industrial adoption of the technologies. In a 2014 NSF Workshop on “Additive Manufacturing Education,” participants from industry, government, and academia stressed the need for integrating design into an AM curriculum in order to educate students on how best to take advantage of the design freedoms offered by the technologies.
In addition to introducing formal curricula and AM design methodologies, there is potential in addressing this need by leveraging informal learning experiences; i.e., extracurricular activities such as internships, design competitions, and student engineering professional societies, which have been shown to positively contribute to students’ engineering education. In this talk, Williams will present two novel informal learning experiences to engage students in DfAM principles: (i) the DreamVendor, an AM “vending machine” system, that provides students open access to automated AM systems, and (ii) the AM Vehicle Design Challenge, an open extracurricular design competition that challenged students to design, 3D Print, and pilot air/ground vehicles.  In addition to describing these informal DfAM learning experiences, assessment results of their impact on student learning will also be presented.

avatar for Christopher B. Williams

Christopher B. Williams

Associate Professor, Virginia Tech
Christopher B. Williams is an Associate Professor and Electro Mechanical Corporation Faculty Fellow in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. He holds affiliate faculty positions in the Department of Engineering Education and the Department of Material Science... Read More →

Saturday October 6, 2018 10:45am - 11:25am EDT
Conference Room A