Understanding the scope for a product design education discourse on additive manufacturing

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Archives of Design Research, 2018, 31 (2), pp. 15 - 23
Issue Date:
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© 2018 Korean Society of Design Science. Background Additive manufacturing has the potential to disrupt conventional manufacturing. The argument presented in this article is that because product design students need to be achieving an advanced level of design for additive manufacturing to effectively utilise the technology in the near future, product design academics need to be researching the development of more advanced, discipline specific, learning objectives for designing to their constraints and opportunities. These need to address designing for complex technical applications and critically engage with implications for the future of design for manufacturing. The rationale underpinning this argument is based on a systematic quantitative literature review of research addressing design for additive manufacturing education. Methods The systematic quantitative literature review provides a survey view of a sample data-base (Scopus), focussing on peer reviewed journal articles and conference papers, and also analysis of two leading design research journals, Design Studies and Design Issues based on searches capturing data on additive manufacturing or 3D printing, product design and education. These were refined by date, authority (based on publication source) and relevance. The analysis provides an overview of the product design discipline's response to the topic and highlights issues. Results An initial scoping search of the terms for title, abstract or keywords in Scopus identified 3720 published articles, from 2009-2017 rising each year: 59, 67, 84, 125, 192, 358, 666, 949, 1220. The data from a systematic quantitative literature review was analysed through the lens of sociotechnology theory, to foster a perspective on educational research at the intersection of technology and society. The results showed the majority of peer reviewed publications were written by engineering and architecture researchers, rather than product design academics (11%). Analysis of design publications showed an emphasis on 3D printing as a prototyping tool supporting other learning activities, rather than a focus in itself. A small proportion of publications advanced design for additive manufacturing education, both technically and in a broader economic, environmental and social context. Conclusions Overall, product design academics are not demonstrating the same level of engagement with research into additive manufacturing other discipline faculty members are, for example engineering and architectural. The implications are that a body of knowledge specific to product design is not being developed at the same pace and the potential disruption of design for manufacturing principles, practice and organization by additive manufacturing not yet addressed.
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