Solid Freeform Fabrication Research In Engineering Education

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Crockett, R.S.
Gervasi, V.R.

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Because Solid Freeform Fabrication (SFF) has an extremely wide range of potential applications, crossing traditional engineering and science boundaries, it is a technology that lends itself to multi-disciplinary activities and projects. SFF is an ideal mechanism to present scientific concepts including materials science and mechanics, as well as larger-scope engineering topics such as agile manufacturing. At Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), we are using SFF technologies as a means to teach engineering concepts to undergraduate students through multidisciplinary research. MSOE was awarded a five-year grant under the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program (EEC-9619715) to facilitate student exploration in the field of Solid Freeform Fabrication. Sixty undergraduates will participate in summer and academic year programs by the year 2001. Eighteen students from around the country have participated in the program to date, bringing with them a diverse background of university experience, skill level, and interests. Working closely with a faculty advisor possessing expertise in a particular research area, they have performed research on Solid Freeform Fabrication applications in the biomedical, aerospace, architectural, manufacturing, and electronics industries. Some ofthe keys to the success of this program include: • Hands-on access to Solid Freeform Fabrication equipment through the facilities ofthe MSOE Rapid Prototyping Center (SLA 250, LOM 2030, and FDM 1650). • Close partnerships of the students with faculty and industry mentors in specialized areas of expertise. • Teaming with other educational institutions. • Significant cross-pollination between projects; faculty from diverse departments. • Encouraging students to publish and present results at national conferences and symposia.


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