IED Unit 8: Product Enhancement

Using reverse engineering to improve product design


Many engineers asked to combine their knowledge of reverse engineering with new discoveries in math, science, and design to improve products.  In this unit, you’ll investigate more specifics on how to create proper diagrams with complete dimensioning.  Then you’ll look more at tolerances and assemblies before designing a product enhancement for an Automoblox car. Our job in this unit is to look at three main ideas:

  • Drawing and Dimensioning
  • Documentation and Assemblies
  • Product Enhancements

Good engineers are able to assess ways of improving products that add new functionality.  This unit is all about communicating those ideas and developing those ideas into a real model. This unit will have three main parts:

  1. STEP 1: Learn more about the details of dimensioning, how to draw sectional views, and how to choose and label tolerances.  Together, these ideas will make our drawings even more precise.
  2. STEP 2: In this second part, you’ll practice assembly constraints in Autodesk.  These new constraints will give us a new range of tools for creating models and designing things that move.
  3. STEP 3: Finally you’ll return to your model of the Automoblox car from last semester.  Here, your job is to design an improvement or enhancement to your Automoblox car in Autodesk.  You’ll model the part and the assembly, and then 3D print your part to see if it performs the desired function.

When you’re done with this unit, you’ll have new tools for creating precise drawings, and for modeling moving parts in Autodesk. You will also have put those ideas together in the design, development, and creation of a product enhancement of your own!


(20 pts) About 4 days

So far in this course we have practiced a few different methods of sketching and dimensioning; in this first part of the unit we’ll look at more dimensioning conventions.  We’ll also look at ways of creating sectional views, and dimensioning holes and tolerances.


(10 pts) About 2 days

In the second part of the unit, we’ll look at new kinds of assembly constraints that allow for motion in the model.  Adding this tool to our assembly skills will give us the chance to make models that illustrate how parts and pieces move.


(40 pts) About 3 days

The final part of this unit asks you to use your reverse engineer skills, drawing & dimensioning skills, and modeling skills to create an enhancement to the Automoblox car you worked with last semester.  In the end, we’ll get to print a full-size 3D model of your design!

Part 1: Drawing & Dimensioning

More details about how to improve engineering drawings

Dimensioning Standards

Good diagrams and drawing help the communication of engineering ideas significantly.  To complete our list of tools for creating precise diagrams and drawings, we will take the first part of the unit to look at more dimensioning rules.  In addition to this, we’ll also look at sectional views and how they can help show more views of a complex part.  We will also get to look at how tolerances are notated as well as the types of holes that might be drilled in a part.


Watch the videos on dimensioning, section views, and tolerances and take 2 full pages of careful notes including example sketches.

Complete the Advanced Dimensioning Assignment by creating the necessary parts in Autodesk, then creating a diagram that is fully dimensioned and illustrates the use of the relevant tools.

Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your notes, sketch, and Autodesk diagram with dimensions

Alternate Views for Drawings


Dimensioning Holes

What’s Due In Part 1: Drawing & Dimensioning

  • Detailed Notes
  • Advanced Part Cube
  • Mr. Benshoof’s Confirmation

Here’s what’s due in Part 1: Drawing & Dimensioning

  1. 2 full pages of detailed notes on dimensioning, section views, and tolerances
  2. Complete the Advanced Part Cube sketching, modeling, and Autodesk diagram
  3. Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your notes, sketch, and dimensioned diagram

Part 2: Assembly Constraints

Methods for modeling motion in Autodesk through new assembly constraints

Autodesk Reference


Last semester we learned about various stationary assembly constraints.  When we assembled our Automoblox cars we did so in such a way that everything was stuck together.  In this part of the unit, we’ll learn the basics of translational constraints that allow surfaces to move and slide in relation to each other.  As our course continues, this will allow us to model motion right in Autodesk!


 Watch the video on advanced assembly constraints and take a page of careful notes

 Complete the Cam Assembly Tutorial that walks through how to use translational constraints

 Watch the short “Engineering Documentation” video and add to your notes from this unit on diagrams and documentation

 Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your notes, and Cam Assembly tutorial

Advanced Assembly Constraints


Cam Assembly Tutorial

Engineering Documentation

What’s Due In Part 2: Assembly Constraints

  • Assembly Constraint Notes
  • Cam Assembly Tutorial
  • Enginering Documentation
  • Mr. Benshoof’s Confirmation

Here’s what’s due in Part 2: Assembly Constraints

  1. You should have taken a full page of notes on advanced assembly constraints
  2. Complete the Cam Assembly Tutorial
  3. Watch “Engineering Documentation” and add to your unit notes
  4. Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your notes and tutorial

Part 3: Product Enhancement

Use your engineering skills to improve the Automoblox car

Automoblox Enhancement Overview

The last part of our unit lets you design and create your own enhancement for the Automoblox car.  In doing so, you’ll use the ideas of reverse engineering to analyze the Automoblox car, then you’ll use the engineering design process to design, develop, and model an improvement for the toy car.  Finally, when your Autodesk model is complete we’ll print 3D models of your enhancements to see if they work properly.


 Complete a reverse engineering report of your Automoblox car that includes a design, functional, and structural analysis in your engineering notebook.

 Brainstorm, concept sketch, and model your Automoblox enhancement.  Then create a fully dimensioned Autodesk diagram of your enhancement.

 3D print your Automoblox enhancement and evaluate how successful it is.

 Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your product enhancement documentation and 3D model.

What’s Due In Part 3: Product Enhancement

  • Reverse Engineering
  • Design Process
  • 3D Print & Evaluate
  • Mr. Benshoof’s Confirmation

Here’s what’s due in Part 3: Product Enhancement

  1. Document your reverse engineering in your engineering notebook
  2. Brainstorm, sketch, model, and diagram your Automoblox enhancement
  3. 3D print your Automoblox enhancement, and evaluate your success
  4.  Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your documentation and product model

Double Check: Unit Expectations

Check what you need to have completed by the unit deadline

The purpose of this unit is explain further details about how to properly dimension a technical drawing.  In addition, you should learn what a sectional view is and when it should be used, as well as how to define and label different hole types with different tolerances.  Together, these ideas are essential to making proper technical drawings for other engineers.

In addition to these ideas, this unit also gives more practice in assemblies and their constraints, introduces movable constraints, and returns to the Automoblox cars.  The unit wraps up with time to design an enhancement for the Automoblox cars, expects that you properly dimension a complete diagram, and lets you 3D print your improvement!

Engineering Notebook:

(Part 1) You should have taken 2 full pages of detailed notes on dimensioning, sectional views, and tolerances

(Part 2) You should have taken good notes on advanced Autodesk assemblies

(Part 2) You should have taken more notes on engineering documentation

(Part 3) You should have completed a reverse engineering report that includes a visual, structural, and functional analysis

Building & Making:

 (Part 1) You should complete the Advanced Part Cube sketching, modeling, and Autodesk diagram

(Part 2) You should have completed the Cam Assembly tutorial about advanced assembly constraints

(Part 3) You should have completed the engineering design process to create an Automoblox enhancement and 3D printed your design

Checkpoints & Quizzes:

(Part 1) Mr. Benshoof should have checked-off your notes, sketch, and Autodesk diagram

(Part 2) Mr. Benshoof should have checked-off your notes and tutorial

 (Part 3) Mr. Benshoof should have confirmed your design documentation and Automoblox enhancement model