Laboratory activity using rapid prototyping and casting

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Conference Proceeding

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ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings


Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University has been undergoing a curriculum revision in an effort to reduce the total number of hours that are required for a Bachelor of Science Degree. As part of the development, a two sequence course- materials and manufacturing processes have been combined into one course. This past fall, the course was taught for the first time to multiple sections. Both of the prior courses had laboratory components, and the new materials/manufacturing course has been developing a set of laboratory activities that combine both topics. The experiment to be described in this paper involves the rapid prototyping of a component, using that part as a mold for an aluminum casting, and finally the evaluation of the part. The experiment is performed over a several week period. The students design a small part using a solids modeling program (Currently, MEEN is using Solid Works.); the part is then used as a mold for a green sand aluminum casting. The part is constrained by the volume of the rapid prototyping machine and the ability to make a mold for casting. The students must evaluate the results to see if it meets their objective as set out during the initial design phase. One of our goals with the new laboratory activities is to provide opportunities for students to make as many decisions in the conduction of the laboratory as is practical. This activity allows the students to design the part and evaluate the results of the cast part. Examples of student work will be discussed.

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