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Recently we have seen the rapid transformations of companies as they adopt information technology. Today, the use of rapid prototyping and manufacturing is becoming a critical competitive edge for economic development in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industries. AEC designers are adopting the use of CAD/CAM technology originally pioneered by mechanical and industrial engineering firms. Leading edge building design firms (such as Norman Foster LLC, and Frank Gehry) employ rapid prototyped models in the production of building designs. As small and middle size firms in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation follow, this will have an enormous impact.
Designers use off-the-shelf geometric CAD software for rapid manufacturing production. This powerful software requires the designer to create highly detailed and precise representations, and to operate a complex model-making interface. This has two consequences: (1) designers must invest a great deal time and effort in mastering the use of this software, and (2) it is difficult to quickly make rough prototype designs. These two consequences limit the effectiveness of rapid-manufacturing in conceptual design, and needlessly restrict its application to designers who are willing and able to become experts in CAD/CAM modeling. This project will develop strategies-both technological and pedagogical-to eliminate these two obstacles.
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last updated 11.2.2005 by Ellen Yi-Luen Do