Title: Acquisition steps of a Remotely Accessible Rapid Prototyping laboratory

Authors: Ismail Fidan, Nasir Ghani

Addresses: Manufacturing and Industrial Technology, College of Engineering, Tennessee Tech University, Cookeville, TN 38505-5003, USA. ' Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, Tennessee Tech University, Cookeville, TN 38505-5004, USA

Abstract: Remotely accessible laboratories are becoming increasingly popular across a wide range of disciplines. The objective of this project is to develop and disseminate a Remotely Accessible Rapid Prototyping (RRP) Laboratory at Tennessee Technological University (TTU). This laboratory facility is physically located on the TTU Campus, but internet-based controls, interactive tutorials and scheduling allow this equipment to be used across TTU, Tennessee Board of Regent (TBR) technology centres and community colleges across the state of Tennessee and eventually nationwide. Since an RP laboratory facility has already been established through a previous National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, this new endeavour increases its accessibility via ubiquitous web-based communication tools. As such, this enables many more students and instructors to develop their skills set and knowledge base with cutting-edge RP technology. This project has many wide-ranging impacts. Foremost, the work helps to promote the awareness of RP technology and to improve related teaching and learning paradigms. In particular, adding a remote access capability allows many more users to benefit from state-of-the-art RP technology, thereby better justifying the cost of purchasing and maintaining the overall facility. Furthermore, the successful development of a remote RP lab provides new insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the remote access environments, and therefore provides vital insights for both the design/manufacturing technology and distance education communities alike.

Keywords: rapid prototyping; RP education; remote access laboratories; internet; 3D printing; interactive tutorials; scheduling; web-based communication; distance education.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCAT.2007.017238

International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology, 2007 Vol.30 No.4, pp.266 - 272

Published online: 19 Feb 2008 *

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