An educational exercise examining the role of model attributes on the creation and alteration of CAD models Academic Article uri icon


  • Computer-aided design (CAD) is a ubiquitous tool that today's students will be expected to use proficiently for numerous engineering purposes. Taking full advantage of the features available in modern CAD programs requires that models are created in a manner that allows others to easily understand how they are organized and alter them in an efficient and robust manner. The results of a class-based exercise are presented to examine the role of model attributes on model creation, alteration, and student perception. Two popular CAD programs are used for the exercise: SolidWorks and ProEngineer. General results from both programs are reported. Fewer more complex features are found to be correlated with reduced modeling time. Simple features are shown to be positively correlated with the number of features retained without change. More complex features are found to be negatively correlated with the number of new features. Student perceptions of model quality and intuitiveness are positively correlated with the amount of feature reuse. Student survey data shows a preference for simpler features, the naming of features, and the use of reference geometry. The results do not allow for a generic approach regarding feature complexity to be prescribed. Overall, properly conveying design intent is shown to be positively correlated with design retention and negatively correlated with alteration time. 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

published proceedings

  • Computers & Education

author list (cited authors)

  • Johnson, M. D., & Diwakaran, R. P.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Johnson, Michael D||Diwakaran, Ram Prasad

publication date

  • September 2011