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Prototyping via Makerspace Training in First-Year-Engineering
Updated: 10/6/2020 9:42 AM by Becky Benishek
A first-year engineering course at the University of New Haven was redesigned to add the benefits of learning in the makerspace into an existing design and customer-awareness term project. 

This card focuses on the specific training materials used to introduce students to the makerspace equipment at a first-year student level. Three 100-minute class periods were used, with one of the following technologies introduced during each class period alongside EM objectives: 
  • 3D Printer -> Rapid Prototyping for Risk Management
  • Arduino -> Resiliency and Learning from Failure
  • Laser Cutter + Hand Tools -> Exploring Creativity and Assumptions
The 3D-Printing class introduces the history of the technology, pros/cons of using 3D printers, and then walks through an introduction to Inventor. Students pass-around example of 3D printed success and failures for various design features, and discuss how rapid prototyping can minimize risk and cost for a project to quickly enable stakeholder feedback. The class period ends with students learning how to transfer a design to a 3D printable file for the Makerbot printers available on our campus, and the faculty member beginning a print of a design. 

The Arduino class starts with a brief overview of microprocessor technology and basic coding structures, but the bulk of a class is a hands-on 3-part lab in which students use the Arduino to code various LED light patterns, buttons, and a photoresistor. Students practice developing resiliency to failure as the guidelines are intentionally vague and students often ask multiple questions to prompt just-in-time logic pedagogy and teamwork development as they try to accomplish the tasks as a team. 

The lasercutter + hand tools class introduces the idea of rapid prototypes with cheap materials by asking students to create a ring-toss game. Left to their imaginations with only 5 minutes, students often reach for a popsicle stick to mount upright and a pipecleaner to bend into a circle. After first creating with craft supplies and discussing various design decisions made (what size rings? how many poles? any game rules? why horizontal and not vertical?), students are taught how to use hand-tools to create a more-refined prototype out of wood. The class ends by introducing the science and pros/cons of laser-cutting, specifically highlighting how the technology could be used if they wanted to mass-produce or engrave designs on their prototypes. 

This card includes the materials for each makerspace classroom training, including the powerpoint slides and lesson plans, as well as various hand-outs that may be useful to your students as they work with makerspace technologies.

The partner-card focusing on the EM-infused makerspace project itself (designing a customer-focused prototype of a puzzle with makerspace technology) is available at #DIY Puzzle: Makerspace Technology for Rapid Prototyping, available here.  
Learning Objectives

By the end of the three lessons, students will be able to: 

  • Demonstrate curiosity about modern manufacturing techniques as they describe and use of various maker technologies in the creation of a prototype. 
  • Evaluate various maker technologies for usefulness in prototyping, citing connections to financial, time, environmental, and customization considerations. 
  • Utilize the rapid-prototyping process to create prototype iterations, emphasizing value creation through early testing during the design process
Instructor Tips
The use of these modules may be limited by your campus' availability of a makerspace.  Ensure you have a large-enough space to bring your entire class, or you will need to re-format these trainings. As it was, having 16 students crowd around a single computer and laser-cutters was tight and students in the back could not see.

Work with your makerspace to see if you can "reserve" the space for a class period- if other students are working, it may be too loud to teach in the space. Otherwise, it may make sense to do as much of the activities in your normal class and then visit the makerspace when doing the technology demos. 

Supplies needed to run the workshops include: 
- Arduino kits (1 per team of 4 students, we used this but any kit would work: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D8KOZF4/ref=pe_2640190_232748420_TE_item )
- 1 12" square sheet of cardboard per team (hand tools + laser cut)
- 1 12" square sheets of 1/4" plywood per team (hand tools + laser cut)
- craft supplies such as construction paper, craft sticks, pipe cleaners (hand tools + laser cut)

Modification of the specific "how-to" use the makerspace technology will likely vary based on the specific software and hardware used by your makerspace. Be sure you run through the full activities in the space on your own as it is easy to forget to flip a switch or turn-on an auxiliary device. 

Our makerspace has multiple printed items that are very useful for passing around as demonstrations and discussions, including: 
-samples of various square "bolt/screw" 3D printed material sets showing fit size is important when creating pieces that will nest
-large 3D printed cylinder showing how print-setting variables can change a round circle into something with straight edges
-lasercut materials showcasing fit (i.e. a 6-piece assemble cube box)
-lasercut materials showcasing etching and "burning" effect due to various speed/power combinations

None of the specific class activities had a homework assigned to them and assessment was based on participation of the in-class activities. Students were expected to show mastery by incorporating each technology into the final team project. 
  • Demonstrate constant curiosity about our changing world
  • Assess and manage risk
Creating Value
  • Persist through and learn from failure
  • Perform Technical Design
  • Create Model or Prototype
  • Evaluate Tech Feasibility, Customer Value, Societal Benefits & Economic Viability
  • Communicate Solution in Economic Terms
  • Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • General Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering
Arduino Lab Worksheet and presentation based off of materials originally created by @Alicia Baumann.
Multiple 3D printing resources were originally created by Austin Thomas, Graduate Research Assistant at the University of New Haven Makerspace.
Orthographic Sketching and Inventor handout created by EASE team at the University of New Haven.
This module was heavily influenced by the KEEN Making with Purpose 2019 workshop.
Title Type Ext Date Size
HandTools and LaserCut Class.pptx Lesson .pptx 1/24/2020 4 MB
Lesson Plan- Hand Tools.docx Instructor Notes .docx 1/24/2020 16.7 KB
Note: The Inventor how-to guide starts on page 17 of the 'Orthographic Sketching + Inventor Guide'
Title Type Ext Date Size
3D Printing and Inventor.pptx Lesson .pptx 1/24/2020 3.2 MB
EASC1107 3D printing parts checklist.docx Activity / Handout .docx 1/24/2020 14.2 KB
Orthographic Sketching + Inventor Guide Activity / Handout .pdf 1/24/2020 12.4 MB
Fits and Design for 3D Printing.pdf Activity / Handout .pdf 1/24/2020 416.4 KB
3D Printing Reference EASC1107.pdf Activity / Handout .pdf 1/24/2020 916 KB
Title Type Ext Date Size
Intro to Arduino.pptx Lesson .pptx 1/24/2020 12 MB
Lab Worksheet- Arduino.docx Activity / Handout .docx 1/24/2020 1.5 MB
This KEEN card combines the 3 lessons here into a larger final project for a first-year engineering class, with assessment integrating both technical competencies and EM objectives through creation of a prototype, technical memo with appendices, and reflections.
Title Type Ext Date Size
Partner Card for Project Documentation Assessment / Rubric 6/30/2020 -
This card accompanies an ASEE paper that tried to assess how the integration of the makerspace in a first-year engineering course influenced students' identity and retention in engineering.
Title Type Ext Date Size
ASEE_2020_MakerspacesFYPs Journal / Article .pdf 9/24/2020 574.5 KB