Additive Manufacturing (AM) is a novel process that enables the manufacturing of complex geometries through layer-by-layer deposition of material. AM processes provide a stark contrast to traditional, subtractive manufacturing processes, which has resulted in the emergence of design for additive manufacturing (DfAM) to capitalize on AM’s capabilities. In order to support the increasing use of AM in engineering, it is important to shift from the traditional design for manufacturing and assembly mindset, towards integrating DfAM. To facilitate this, DfAM must be included in the engineering design curriculum in a manner that has the highest impact. While previous research has systematically organized DfAM concepts into process capability-based (opportunistic) and limitation-based (restrictive) considerations, limited research has been conducted on the impact of teaching DfAM on the student’s design process. This study investigates this interaction by comparing two DfAM educational interventions conducted at different points in the academic semester. The two versions are compared by evaluating the students’ perceived utility, change in self-efficacy, and the use of DfAM concepts in design. The results show that introducing DfAM early in the semester when students have little previous experience in AM resulted in the largest gains in students perceiving utility in learning about DfAM concepts and DfAM self-efficacy gains. Further, we see that this increase relates to greater application of opportunistic DfAM concepts in student design ideas in a DfAM challenge. However, no difference was seen in the application of restrictive DfAM concepts between the two interventions. These results can be used to guide the design and implementation of DfAM education.

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