ES305: Virtual Tools in Engineering Design

Course Syllabus -- Fall 2006

Catalog Description: This course introduces students to the engineering design process including: determining a market need, creating design specifications, concept generation, evaluation of concepts and final specifications of a particular design. Emphasis will be on the virtual tools engineers use in this process, such as developing CAD models, simulating the operation of the design, developing a virtual environment including a human-computer interface, and presentation of the resulting design. Appropriate software will be used throughout, including CAD software such as AutoCAD and Solid Edge, modelling software such as 3D Studio Max and Maya, analysis software such as a FEM package, virtual environment software such as Virtools, and computer graphics/video production and presentation software such as Adobe Photoshop and Premiere and/or Macromedia Flash.

Prerequisites: Sophomore, junior or senior status, an introductory calculus course, and consent of the instructor.

Textbooks: None. Handouts will be provided throughout the semester.

Reference Texts:

  1. Howard C. Crabb, The Virtual Engineer: 21st Century Product Development, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, 1997, ISBN 0872634914.
  2. Jean-Marc Gauthier, Building Interactive Worlds in 3D, Elsevier Science & Technology Books, 2005, ISBN 0240806220.
  3. Wolfgang F. Preiser and Elaine Ostroff, Universal Design Handbook, McGraw-Hill Professional, 2001, ISBN: 0071376054.
  4. Steven C. Wheelwright and Kim B. Clark, Revolutionizing Product Development, Free Press, 1992, ISBN 0029055156.

Meeting Time & Location: Monday and Wednesday, 4:30 to 5:45 pm in CAMP 163

Name Office Phone Email
James Carroll CAMP 164 7726
Steve Doheny-Farina BH Snell Hall 176 6489
Mike Ensby BH Snell Hall 117 6571/3849
Jan Searleman Science Center 375 2377
Ken Willmert CAMP 367 2323

Teaching Assistant: Andrew Strong,, CAMP 155, office hours TBA

Course Learning Objectives:

  1. To become familiar with the engineering design approach.
  2. To apply virtual tools to the design process.

Course Learning Outcomes:

  1. Use the design process to create new concepts.
  2. Apply CAD and animation tools to these concepts.
  3. Be able to analyze the design.
  4. Use tools to create a virtual environment for market research, etc.

Grading Policy:

Homework 40%
Quizzes & Assessment 40%
Project 20%

Quizzes will be given during class periods as topics and computer tools are covered, with the exception of Adobe Premier where you will by assessed by the instructor as you work on your projects. The grade for a quiz will be weighted by the length of time spent on that topic during class. Any quiz which is missed (only for excused absences) must be made up.
There is no final exam in the course -- the project is a substitute. Your team will be expected to give a 10-15 minute oral presentation of your project at the end of the semester and to submit a final written report.


Attendance is required and will be taken at the beginning of each class period. Any student with two or more non-excused absences will have their final grade for the semester reduced by one half letter. I expect you to let me know ahead of time if you will miss a particular class session, especially if it is a scheduled quiz, so we can establish a plan for making up graded work. Attendance also means coming to class prepared to participate and contribute. I reserve the right to give "pop quizzes" at any point and/or reduce any or all student(s)' grades for failure to live up to expectations. Please turn off your cell phone (if you have one) -- no exceptions!

Academic Integrity:

The University's Student Code of Conduct is in effect for this course, to include reporting of violations to the Academic Integrity Committee.


A schedule of topics, readings, and assignments will be posted on the course calendar (available by clicking here). Readings and assignments are to be done prior to the class period when it is due. Class time will primarily consist of lecture, although discussion is highly encourages. In addition, there are specific sessions for "hands-on" computer skills development. During computer lab periods, you will use no other computer applications. Failure to follow these guidelines will result in a reduction in points from your final grade.

Performance Ratings:

Outstanding A 92-100 total points
Superior B+ 86-91.99 total points
Excellent B 80-85.99 total points
Above Average C+ 76-79.99 total points
Average C 70-75.99 total points
Below Average D+ 66-69.99 total points
Marginal D 56-65.99 total points
Fired! F less than 56total points

Tentative Course Outline: (subject to change)

Topic Instructor(s) Approximate Time
The concurrent engineering design process
    Determining market need
    Creating design specifications
    Concept generation
    Design for 6 Sigma
Ensby & Carroll 3 weeks
CAD, animation and design analysis tools
    Solid Edge
      parametric solid modelling
    3D Studio Max
      modelling and animation
    Visual NASTRAN 4D
      Strength & Dynamic Analysis
Willmert 5 weeks
Video Production and presentation
    Adobe Premiere
Doheny-Farina 1 week
Introduction to Virtual Environments
    Virtools & Maya
      virtual development platform
Searleman 3 weeks
Project Development   remainder of the semester

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