CAD as a Virtual Prototyping Method: Uses and Timing of Computer-Aided Design Artifacts in Hardware Design

Hannah Budinoff, Julia Kramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prototypes are critical learning tools in the design and development of innovative products. Computer-aided design (CAD) models are most closely associated with detailed design, but emerging research suggests a role for CAD to create virtual prototypes earlier in the design process. In this study, we explore the use of CAD as a prototyping method throughout the design process. We conducted a literature review of scholarly works that described designers using a 3D CAD model to learn about their design. A total of 24 studies were included in our review and were coded to identify common uses of CAD as a prototyping method. CAD was used as a virtual prototyping method from early conceptual design through detailed design but was most frequently used to create operational prototypes when a design was substantially developed, rather than as a simple mock-up. The most common use of CAD prototypes was to assess feasibility of technical aspects of the design. We also observed several examples of CAD models that were used to explore the design solution space and as means of communication with stakeholders. The benefits and limitations of using 3D CAD models as virtual prototypes are also summarized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1747-1760
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Volume38
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • CAD
  • engineering design process
  • virtual prototyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Engineering

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