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    BAEN 580B (2015)


    aka The design and fabrication with 3d printers, waterjet cutters, and laser machines.


    P1000357 Selection_009 Selection_008 Selection_007


    Contacts – the UBC Engineering Physics Project Lab


    Update History:

    • 2015 March 9 – cleanup before first class
    • 2015 Jan 28 – revising material for release to MBA students and potential undergrad participants in the course.
    • 2014 Dec 19 – stub for course in Period4 (March-April 2015)    Material below is for 2014 version of the class, and will be updated prior to March 2015.



    What is this course?   and Who is the target audience?

      • An introduction to various tools for producing physical and software prototype ideas.
      • An emphasis on mechanical design and fabrication using 3d printing, laser cutting, and waterjet cutting.
      • Includes some software prototyping for web and mobile applications.
      • Focus on development of prototypes for a specifically targeted audience for specifically targeted feedback and usage.
      • 6 week course (1.5 credits, two 2-hr meetings per week), from early March to end of April.
      • Formal course descriptions [ BAEN 580B – Sauder School ]    [ BAEN 580 – UBC SSC ]
      • Target Audience
        • MBA students in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship stream
        • Other MBA students looking for a first design experience for future interactions with designers, engineers, and potential clients.




    Tools for the course

    CAD Software

    • Recommended:  
      • Solidworks – great software, free for UBC students. See this pdf for a quick start using it.
      • SketchUp  – free program! Lots of plugins, relatively stable, and can produce STL files for 3D printing.  See this link for some in-depth info
      • TinkerCAD – very fast CAD program, works in your browser, can make models in minutes. Limited to simple shapes, but a good way to get started.
    • Other possible packages:


    Wireframing / User Interface Software

    • Recommended:
      • HotGloo is the recommended software prototyping tool for class, useful in generating very fast mockups of working websites and mobile apps which you can share through the web.
    • Other possible packages:
      • Moqups is a very fast tool to use to develop interfaces for both mobile and web applications
      • Justinmind Prototyper is a more powerful tool.  The free version allows for a fair amount of interactivity and graphical control, and the ability to test on both mobile and web devices.   A paid version of the software ($29/month, not required for the course) adds a lot of visual elements and interactive touch elements (e.g. touch and pinch, swipes, etc).
      • Read here about the conceptual differences between Wireframing and Prototyping


    Available Equipment

    • Waterjet cutting –OMAX 3652 waterjet cutter. Hebb room 48 Capable of cutting anything.   Costs us $1/min in cutting charge.
    • 3D printing –two  UP! 3d printers, prints in ABS or PLA plastic.  Hennings room 115.   4 inch cubic workspace.  Costs $0.10 per gram.
    • Laser cutting and engraving –  Universal Laser VLS 4.60.  ChemPhys A040.   Able to cut through paper, cardboard, acrylic, and some other plastics.    No costs for cutting.    Check online for laser cutter-compatible materials.

    Other UBC resources:

    • Professional-level 3D printers in UBC Electrical and Computer Engineering (Objet Alaris 24 and Alaris 30).    Printing costs$1/gram, to be funded directly by student groups.
    • ZCorp 3d printer in UBC School of Architecture.   The printer uses a powder-based technique to produce fine detailed but very delicate pieces.  



    Available Materials


    • Fabrication and material costs for the course will be covered by Project Lab (within reason!).






    LaserCutter (50W)

    3D Printer



    Laser cutting

    No, gets wet.

    Yes.  Corrugated cardboard doesn’t cut very well all the way through the material.




    Yes, but will split.  Use for structural elements only

    Yes, upto ~1cm thick, depending on density.  Burns too much if too thick.


    Acrylic / plexiglass

    Most common plastic for laser cutter usage.  Can shatter. Flat surfaces can be bonded with appropriate solvent, or with silicone.  Laser-cut edge has just enough ripple to prevent solvent bonding.

    Yes, with a sacrificial thin layer of metal on top.

    Yes, upto 3/8″ on a single pass.


    Lexan / polycarbonate

    Bullet-proof plastic.  Strong and resists shattering but scratches easily.   Cannot use on laser cutter (bad fumes, burns)


    No (fumes)


    ABS Plastic

    Can be bonded using acetone solvent.   Surfaces can be reworked with light sanding.



    PLA Plastic

    More flexible than ABS plastic.  Some claim it has a nicer touch-feeling than ABS.   Slightly lower print quality?




    Cannot be spot welded.  Does not rust.


    No (power too low)


    Stainless Steel

    Can be spot-welded.


    No (power too low)


    Mild Steel

    Will rust, so must be powder-coated or similar.   Can be spot-welded.


    No (power too low)


    Anodized / Powder Coated Surface Treatment

    Can be laser-etched to leave white lettering.

    Yes, for engraving surfaces



    Submitting Files by Email

    Email should include:

      • CAD file (original file, STL file)
      • Desired material (material type, thickness)
      • Info on actual component (critical dimension, screen capture of CAD component)

    We will aim to have parts ready for pickup from the Project Lab within 1-2 business days.












    Items Due



    Tues Mar 10

    • Course Overview  (0.25h)
      • 4 Class projects + 2 Peer Reviews
      • Last project due Week 5 rather than Week 6.
      • Lab Tour of Hebb / Hennings (0.75h)
    • CAD part 1 of 2  (show 3 options)   (0.25h)
    • Examine fabricated parts. Use calipers to get measurements.  (0.25h)
    • Discuss options for Project 2.



    Thurs Mar 12

    • Collect Project 0 files  (0.25h)
    • Lab tour of Hebb, Hennings (0.5h)
    • Design Philosophy Discussion (0.25h) (idea generation to sketch to model to prototype, targeting audience)
    • 3D capture of physical items (multiple photos, laser scanner if available)  (0.25h)
    • Discuss Project 2 (0.25h)
    • CAD part 2 of 2 (0.5h) 

    Project 0    1 digital file of Lego



    Tues Mar 17

    Project 1 (1 original file for 3d printer,   1 file for waterjet/laser)   



    Thurs Mar 19




    • Project 3 –  general discussion  
    • Soldering / Easy Electronics Demo 
    • Project 2 – classwide update  




    Tues Mar 24



    Thurs Mar 26

    • Finish assembly of Project2 items (0.5h)
    • Presentation and Group discussion of Project2 results  (1h)


    1-page writeups:

    • Project 1 – Jason Bradbury, Devin Durrant, Ryan Monsurate   
    • Project 2– Theodore Lau   
    • Project 3 (updated) – Kayle Mather   
    • Project 4 – John Gracey, Renate Diggelmann, Ryan Smith   
    • Project 5 -Justin Penney   
    • Project 6 – Cameron O’Neil   
    • Project 7– Kamal Marghlani, Chi Huang   
    • Project 8 – Scott Mather   



    Project 2 (prototype, common project)




    Tues Mar 31

    • Company Tour (Boreal Genomics) 

    PeerReviewA (review of Project2 results)



    Thurs April 2

    • Group demos of Project3  (1h)
    • Discussion of Project4 Ideas, confirmation of Project Topic (0.5h)
    • Working day (Project4)


    Project3 (software prototype)




    Tues April 7

    • Discussion of Project4 Ideas (0.5h)
    • Working day (Project 4)




    Thurs April 9

    • Group demos of Project4.
    • Last scheduled class.

    Project4 (free-form)




    Tues April 14


    PeerReviewB (review of Project4)













    Make your own Lego Piece

    Submit 1 file of an existing Lego piece for 3d printing (STL format)

    You will be supplied Lego pieces and measuring tools (calipers) for measuring and producing appropriate CAD files.

    An exercise primarily to ensure you can do basic CAD drawings with the software.




    Your First Set of Prototype Files

    Submit two files – one for 3d printing, one for waterjet / laser cutting


    ·       Both sets of files must be designed to interact with a rigid real-world objects (e.g. clip for top of pen, cell phone holder, custom Lego piece), good practice for understanding manufacturing tolerances.

    ·       3d printed object must be “small” (e.g. less than 3cm x 3cm x 3cm)

    ·       The 3d and waterjet cut pieces do not have to be related to one another.



    Class-selected Project

    Submit one prototype which incorporates parts supplied to the entire class

    Also submit one Single Page Summary (letter-size, suitable for mounting next to object) explaining the audience and the project.

    Can work individually, or in groups of 2 or 3.  



    • Clear identification of target audience (who is the prototype intended to be shown to?)
    • Appropriateness of prototype for target purpose (engineering or marketing audience, functional vs. appearance)
    • Basic technical competence of CAD tools and manufacturing technique (e.g. consideration of physical tolerances and manufacturing techniques)
    • Incorporation of experiences from Prototype 1 and class discussions
    • Use both text and photos in Summary Page



    Software Prototype

    A software mock-up for a web or mobile-based application.  

    This is a project for individual students, no group work. 



    • Can be based on an original idea, or an improvement to an existing website or app.
    • Work must be in a format able to be shared with others on their own machines and devices.
    • Must demonstrate some level of functionality of the system


    • Appropriateness of Prototype for target purpose (engineering or marketing audience, functional vs. appearance)
    • Basic technical competence using software prototyping tool.



    Physical Prototype, Free Choice

    Submit one physical prototype object, free-choice.   

    Also submit one Single Page Summary (letter-size, suitable for mounting next to object).

    Can work individually, or in groups of 2 or 3.  



    • The topic must be discussed with the course instructors at least 1 week prior to submission
    • The work must not be an extension of work done in Project 2.
    • The work may be done in a group.   A follow-up email will ask each group member about their contribution to the project.


    • Appropriateness of Prototype for target purpose (engineering or marketing audience, functional vs. appearance)
    • Basic technical competence of CAD tools and manufacturing technique
    • Design consideration to physical tolerances and manufacturing techniques
    • Incorporation of experiences from previous class Projects and class discussions


    PRA,   PRB

    10 (5 each)

    Peer Review of Project 2 and   Project 4

    Submit 2 or 3 bullet-points of suggestions for each of your classmates projects. 



    • Each person will receive the bullet-point feedback from all classmates, with names removed.  Each person will then generate a mark based on the insight and constructiveness of each group of received comments.   These student marks will be combined with the instructor marks for an overall Peer Review mark.




    Class Participation


    • Quality of participation you exhibit during class (relevance, insight and clarity of your remarks, questions or presentations).
    • You are encouraged to share insights based on your work experience, research, or business sector.
    • Work habits, such as punctuality, attendance and preparation.



    Further Readings

    Prototyping Guides:



    1. Square(used techshop for first prorotype)
    2. Dyson (
    3. firstgoogle server.  First apple computer, first GoPro cameras

    Useful rules for Electronics fabrication:




    End of Page.