Teaching creativity as a method to overcome limitations in design for additive manufacturing

Sergei Chekurov1*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


This paper describes the challenges and solutions of modifying a normally contact-reliant Design for Additive Manufacturing teaching approach in view of the COVID-19 outbreak. The approach has been put into practice since 2014 in the form of a student assignment that does not provide a specific functional objective but asks students to invent a unique geometry that demonstrates the capabilities of additive manufacturing and manufacture it with an entry level material extrusion machine. The students are asked to use their imaginations to develop an intricate geometry without first considering technical limitations of additive manufacturing. They are then asked to identify the issues with their designs and solve them, while modifying their original vision as little as possible. The goal of the approach is to teach students to identify the limitations of additive manufacturing and to overcome them with creativity when possible. As physical iterative testing using an additive manufacturing machine is essential to the assignment, the outbreak of COVID-19 had a major influence on it. The paper describes how the assignment was adjusted in the spring of 2020 to meet the challenges of not being able to conduct contact teaching. Although the presented exceptional measures should be avoided as the primary way to educate students, they are shown to facilitate teaching Design for Additive Manufacturing with no access to machines. Notable designs developed by students in 2020 are provided as examples of the generated results..

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesign, Systems, and Complexity
PublisherThe American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780791884539
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Feb 2021
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition - Virtual, Online
Duration: 16 Nov 202019 Nov 2020

Publication series

NameASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, Proceedings (IMECE)


ConferenceASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
Abbreviated titleIMECE
CityVirtual, Online


  • 3D printing
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Creativity teaching
  • DfAM education
  • Remote teaching


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