MECH 251  Principles of CAD/CAM/CAE

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Course Description:

The purpose of this course is of two-folds: (1) to teach the fundamental theories and basic concepts underlying today's technologies in computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided  manufacturing (CAM), and computer-aided engineering (CAE), and (2) to provide hands-on opportunities and trainings for the students to learn some popular CAD/CAM software, in particular the CAD software SolidworksTM and the CAM software MasterCAMTM. By receiving a thorough fundamental theoretical training and mastering real CAD/CAM/CAE software, a student will be more equipped and more confident to solve difficult problems in design and manufacturing.

OBE (Outcome Based Education) Matrix


Dr. Kai Tang  Dept. of Mech. Engineering; E-mail:; Tel: 852-2358-8656; Room 2544;

                         Office hours: Wednesday, 10:00 - 13:00, or by appointment.


Grade Policy:      

Time and place:  




Syllabus and Schedule:  

 (The class note for each week is a zip file, after unzip, the entry file is part_*.PDF, where "*" is an integer between 1 and 14. Contact Dr. Kai Tang for the password for unzipping the file.)
Part 1:    Introduction to CAD/CAM/CAE Systems
  1. Overview

  2. Definitions of CAD, CAM, and CAE

  3. A case study of CAD/CAM/CAE

Download class note

Part 2:    Basic Concepts of Graphics Programming
  1. Graphics Libraries

  2. Coordinate Systems

  3. Windows and Viewports

  4. Transformation matrix

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Demonstration of solutions to homework

Part 3:    Computer-Aided Drafting Systems
  1. Traditional vs. Computer-Aided Drafting

  2. Drawing Setup

  3. Basic Drawing Functions

  4. Annotation Functions

  5. Utility Functions

  6. Compatibility of Drawing Files

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Part 4:    Geometric Modeling Systems
  1. Wireframe Modeling Systems

  2. Surface Modeling Systems

  3. Solid Modeling Systems

    • Modeling functions

    • Data structure

    • Euler operations

    • Boolean operations

  4. Non-manifold Modeling Systems

  5. Assembly Modeling Systems

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Part 5:    Representation and manipulation of curves
  1. Types of Curve Equations

  2. Conic Sections

  3. Hermite Curves

  4. Bezier Curves

    • Definition

    • Properties

    • Differentiation

    • Evaluation

  5. B-Spline Curves

  6. Interpolation

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Bezier curve demo

Curves and surfaces demo

Part 6:    Basics of finite element methods

                    Download class note

Mid-term review

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Solutions for the homework (these will be available for only two weeks online)

Mid-term exam
Part 7:    Representation and manipulation of surfaces
  1. Types of Surface Equations

  2. Basic Terminologies of Parametric Surface

  3. Bilinear Surface

  4. Coons Patch

  5. Bicubic and Hermite Surface

  6. Bezier Surface

    • Definition

    • Properties

    • Differentiation

    • Evaluation

  7. B-Spline Surface

  8. Practical Examples of Surface Constructions

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Part 8:    Finite-element modeling
  1. Node Connection Approach

    • Node generations

    • Edge generations

  2. Topology Decomposition Approach

  3. Geometry Decomposition Approach

  4. Grid-Based Approach

  5. Quadtree and Octree Approach

  6. Mapped Element Approach

  7. Improvement of Mesh Quality

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Part 9:    Optimization
  1. Treatment of Constraints

    • Exterior penalty functions

    • Interior penalty functions

  2. Search Methods

  3. Gradient-based method

  4. Simulated Annealing

  5. Genetic Algorithms

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How to solve TSP using GA

GA demo

Part 10:    Numerical Control Machining
  1. Introduction

  2. Types of NC Systems

  3. Basic Concepts for Part Programming

    • Tool axes

    • Syntax of a G-Code part program

  4. Manual Part Programming

  5. Computer-Assisted Part Programming

    • APT language

    • Other part programming language

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Part 11:    Tool Path Generation Algorithms
  1. 2D Pocketing Machining

    • Persson's algorithm

    • Zigzag tool path generation

  2. Lathe Machining

    • Configuration space

    • Minkowski sums

    • Upper-enveloping operation

  3. 3-axis Surface Machining

    • Tool-surface contact formula

    • Drive-plane+upper-enveloping algorithm

  4. 5-axis Surface Machining

    • Total ordering of sample points

    • Contact point method

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Tool paths demo

Part 12:    Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing
  1. Overview

  2. RP&M Processes

    • Stereo Lithography

    • Selective Laser Sintering

    • Laminated-object manufacturing

    • 3D printing

  3. Applications of RP&M

    • Prototyping for design evaluation

    • Prototyping for function verification

    • Rapid tooling processes

  4. Stereo Lithography Process

    • Geometry input

    • Preparation

    • Part building

    • Part completion

    • Post-processing

Download class note

Final exam review

Download class note

Solutions for the homework (these will be available for only two weeks online)

Final exam

For the instructor only: