In this work we present the results of hands-on design experience implemented in an undergraduate mechanical engineering design course. This work is motivated by the need to provide students with more design-decision making experience to enable them to be ready to engineer upon graduation. Students were guided through the process of designing learning aid prototypes to be used in general engineering education. Three significant results of this work are that: 1) 3D printing was a critical technology for enabling authentic learning environments; 2) Student’s grasp of fundamentals is improved through construction of learning aids compared to their typical classroom use; and 3) Setting limits on resources and client’s time are necessary but require flexibility to enable “learning through failures.” Overall this work demonstrates a structured approach to using additive manufacturing as integrated technology in engineering education.

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