Additive manufacturing in 3D product design and development practice: an interdisciplinary shift



Product & Industrial Design


  • multi-disciplinary education, 3D CAD, design knowledge, digital tools


This paper reflects on aspects that impact on an interdisciplinary shift motivated by technology‐transfer within a University of Technology (UoT). Discussion focuses on the integrated use of Additive Manufacturing (AM) as automated layer by layer 3D printing product design and development technology within a 3D Art and Design studio-practice environment. As emerging technology, AM’s impact has redefined the procedural framework and required knowledge coherence for the development of 3D objects.

The paper takes a subjective approach to education and a culture of practice by identifying required knowledge coherence embedded in various interdisciplinary procedural actions that facilitate the use of AM technology in 3D product design and development studio-­practice. The underpinning theoretical framework is located within a Constructivist paradigm marking a shift from discipline based learning to interdisciplinarity. This suggests that “procedural, student-­centred” actions are defined by applying an inductive approach to knowledge generation, structured around emerging theoretical concepts. The paper explores synthesizing, constructing and producing as constructs that determine 3D studio-­practice actions. Within each, a causal relationship exists between the actions that students take and the learning outcomes achieved.

In conclusion the paper proposes that students should be stimulated to engage in autonomous non‐linear ‘procedural, student-­centred’ actions, governed by technology driven improvisation, modification and evolution methods affiliated with 3D AM product design and development. Therefore, as reflexive practitioners students should demonstrate the facility to generate problem solving interdisciplinary incubation spaces rather than merely act on a discipline specific technology based problem solving strategy. Findings from this paper make a theoretical contribution to knowledge that expands on the interdisciplinary technology‐transfer of AM technologies at a UoT.

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