Applications for additive manufacturing (AM) continue to increase as more industries adopt the technology within their product development processes. There is a growing demand for designers to acquire and hone their design for AM (DfAM) intuition and generate innovative solutions with AM. Resources that promote DfAM intuition, however, historically default to physical or digitally non-immersive modalities. Immersive virtual reality (VR) naturally supports 3D spatial perception and reasoning, suggesting its intuitive role in evaluating geometrically complex designs and fostering DfAM intuition. However, the effects of immersion on DfAM evaluations are not well-established in the literature. This study contributes to this gap in the literature by examining DfAM evaluations for a variety of designs across modalities using varying degrees of immersion. Specifically, it observes the effects on the outcomes of the DfAM evaluation, the effort required of evaluators, and their engagement with the designs. Findings indicate that the outcomes from DfAM evaluations in immersive and non-immersive modalities are similar without statistically observable differences in the cognitive load experienced during the evaluations. Active engagement with the designs, however, is observed to be significantly different between immersive and non-immersive modalities. By contrast, passive engagement remains similar across the modalities. These findings have interesting implications on how organizations train designers in DfAM, as well as on the role of immersive modalities in design processes. Organizations can provide DfAM resources across different levels of immersion, enabling designers to customize how they acquire DfAM intuition and solve complex engineering problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112001
JournalJournal of Mechanical Design
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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