The University of Windsor has moved to an “essential service only” model. Learn More.

Dinosaur modelling gives students lesson in industrial engineering

Omar Wasfy, Jordyn McDonald and Usama Saeed look over their model dinosaur

To get a lesson in modern manufacturing processes, students in a third-year course taught by engineering professor Jill Urbanic had to look back in time—about 65 million years.

Teams of students were tasked with creating a model of a Tyrannosaurus rex, which ruled the earth in the late Cretaceous period. They will present the results today—Thursday, November 28—at 9 a.m. in room 2101, Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation. The campus community is invited to watch the presentations.

Dr. Urbanic gave the students an AutoCAD file of the model, and the students had to determine appropriate materials, produce the parts, and assemble the dinosaurs.

“The whole idea is to expose them to a number of different processes,” she said. “Besides the actual manufacturing methods, they also had to develop their project management and teamwork skills.”

The teams had only a few weeks to complete the project, giving them hands-on experience in dividing responsibilities and running parallel tasks. Some used waterjets to cut parts in aluminum or plexiglass; some cast parts in moulds; some used three-dimensional printers to create plastic prototypes—and joined them with everything from epoxy to stitch welds.

Student Jordyn McDonald said the project proved very educational.

“You can study all the processes, but until you work with the knowledge, you don’t know what you’re missing,” she said. “I learned so much from this. We are turning classwork into reality.”

Her teammate Usama Saeed agreed: “When you apply the theory, it makes more sense to you.”