Alphabetical List of Completed Projects:

Multi-Zone Variable Infill Tool

This project aimed to provide a simple and a straightforward software tool to facilitate the conversion of a solid CAD file, to be additively manufactured, into a variably infilled CAD file. The inputs to the software are the desired CAD files of the part to be manufactured and the infill unit cell, the infill size governing equations, and the thickness of the outside shell. This software allows for defining different infill zones out of the manufactured part, in which each zone is to be filled with a different unit cell and by a unique size governing equation. The user can define the size governing equations based on different coordinate systems such as Cartesian, a cylindrical, and spherical coordinates.  Regarding the outside shell, the user is allowed to input a CAD file for a cutting tool to and position governing equations to create a mesh-like outside surface. Finally, the tool will export the infilled part in form of an STL file ready to be manufactured. The software does not depend on any CAD platform, it is a standalone software. The software layout is shown in figure 1, while an example of multi-zone variable infill is shown in figure 2.

(2) Example of a Multi-Zone Variable Infill
(1) Flowchart of the Variable Infill Tool's Process Layout

Reverse CAD Tool for FDM

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printed parts are widely used in various applications. To avoid material and time wastage, it is necessary to assess the geometric and mechanical behavior of the part beforehand. The geometric and mechanical behavior of FDM printed parts is analyzed by various virtual and experimental approaches. The virtual approaches are based on analytical models, which take solid computer-aided design (CAD) models or STL files as input for the analysis. However, in reality, the input CAD model is converted to a combination of slices (toolpath) before it is sent to print. The difference between the CAD and the toolpath model creates a research gap for estimating the properties accurately. This project presents a novel algorithm, which is capable of converting the sliced file back to a CAD model (called the Reverse CAD model). The Reverse CAD model is capable of providing an accurate assessment of the geometric and mechanical behavior of the printed part as it also incorporates the effect of slicing parameters. In order to validate the algorithm, primitive geometries are printed, and their geometric deviation and mass properties are compared to the Reverse CAD model.

Reverse CAD Utilization Chart

Transdisciplinary Design Education for Engineering Undergraduates

Contemporary industrial product design has shifted from being mono- to transdisciplinary. Today, a collaboration of engineering specialists from different disciplines, capable of working in transdisciplinary teams with a shared understanding of design processes, are required for the development of integrated products and systems such as automobiles, airplanes, computers, industrial machines, mining plans, etc. This new reality should be properly addressed by post-secondary institutions and engineering schools in their curricula. Transdisciplinary Design Education for Engineering Undergraduates is a two-year long empirical study funded through TLEF grant from the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Alberta. The study was conducted at the Faculty of Engineering to review the current design education to establish a common understanding of design processes across all disciplines and use it to develop a first-year introductory engineering design course framework with the focus on students’ professional and cognitive development. The project involved the development of Transdisciplinary Engineering Design Education Framework (TEDEF), which accounts for the essential elements of engineering education as well as industrial and education perspectives on design, teaching methodologies and elements of Cognitive and Educational Psychology. As part of the study, Faculty professors and alumni were interviewed to explore their perspectives on engineering design, design processes and methodologies in academia and industry. The outcomes of the study included the Transdisciplinary Engineering Design Education Ontology (TEDEO), a cognitive game task to access design thinking of engineers, a transdisciplinary methodology for teaching engineering design based on Bloom’s Taxonomy, and the teaching framework for the first-year introductory engineering design course.

Transdisciplinary Engineering Design Processes

Current transdisciplinary product development in industries greatly emphasizes the need for enriching the engineering education curriculum to cope with existing industrial demands, such as providing students with a clear understanding of a generic product design process, while transcending the terminology barriers of discipline-specific terminology. Prior industrial research on transdisciplinary product development has identified the existence of a common engineering design process across multiple disciplines.
These stages are planning; concept development; system-level design; detail design; implementation and testing; and final production.
In this context, this project was based on an empirical study with the aim to identify commonalities between engineering design processes taught across engineering departments at the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Engineering.
The purpose of study was to analyze design stages, design activities and the underlying concepts from multiple disciplines and finally validate the semantic similarity between them. The data for the project was collected through structured interviews with design experts across the engineering faculty as well as analysis of design books from each discipline, as recommended by the design experts.
The integration of design was achieved by comparing design processes and the underlying concepts through literature review and Natural Language Processing Techniques (NLP). The results achieved reveal that commonalities indeed exist across disciplines irrespectively of the different terminologies and the nature of products.
Below images are taken from the study which show an interaction between semantically similar design concepts across multiple disciplines.
Image (b) shows the semantic similarities between design concepts and design stages of multiple disciplines in the form of transdisciplinary Engineering design Education Ontology which is a contribution of this study.

Hypernym Tree Showing the Semantically Similar Design Concepts across Multiple Disciplines
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