Abstract

The integration of additive manufacturing (AM) processes in many industries has led to the need for AM education and training, particularly on design for AM (DfAM). To meet this growing need, several academic institutions have implemented educational interventions, especially project- and problem-based, for AM education; however, limited research has explored how the choice of the problem statement influences the design outcomes of a task-based AM/DfAM intervention. This research explores this gap in the literature through an experimental study with 222 undergraduate engineering students. Specifically, the study compared the effects of restrictive and dual (restrictive and opportunistic) DfAM education, when introduced through either a simple or complex design task. The effects of the intervention were measured through (1) changes in participant DfAM self-efficacy, (2) participants’ self-reported emphasis on DfAM, and (3) the creativity of participants’ design outcomes. The results show that the complexity of the design task has a significant effect on the participants’ self-efficacy with, and their self-reported emphasis on, certain DfAM concepts. The results also show that the complex design task results in participants generating ideas with greater uniqueness compared to the simple design task. These findings highlight the importance of the chosen problem statement on the outcomes of a DfAM educational intervention, and future work is also discussed.

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