Conference PaperPDF Available
Proceedings of CAD’19, Singapore, June 24-26, 2019, 363-366
© 2019 CAD Solutions, LLC,
Application of VR and AR Tools for Technical Drawing Education
Omar Huerta,, University of Huddersfield, UK
Ertu Unver,, University of Huddersfield, UK
Ridvan Aslan,, Uludag University, Turkey
Abdil Kus,, Uludag University, Turkey
Dimo Chotrov,, Sofia Technical University, Bulgaria
Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Technical Drawings, Teaching and Learning.
DOI: 10.14733/cadconfP.2019.363-366
There are concerns from Higher Education (HE) institutions and industry about the decline in
standards of Technical Drawings (TD) due to the lack of understanding of basic principles and
conventions that underpin the best practices. There is growing evidence that simulations/animations
along with augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technologies can improve learners’ engagement,
competence, and skills; especially when compared to traditional didactic methods. The purpose of this
work is to develop and examine the overall effect as well as the impact of virtual and augmented
reality -based methods and tools on the teaching and learning experience of technical drawing
principles in the context of higher education settings. The development of tools and methods is based
on the findings of a previous international study in three different categories covering the perception
of TD education, assessing of TD knowledge and ability, and expectations of TD education.
TD has a been always an essential component in the formation of new product designers and
engineers. They play an important role in communicating the technical product specifications (TPS)
(i.e. material, size, shape, tolerances, etc.) for manufacturing during the new product development
process. The decline in standards due to the lack of understanding of basic principles and the
conventions of drafting skills that underpin these practices represent a challenge for HE institutions
and the traditional teaching strategies. Despite engineering and product design students are known to
prefer visual, sensing, inductive, and active learning styles; most engineering education and in
particular the teaching of technical drawing skills has relied on auditory, abstract, deductive, passive,
and sequential teaching styles [1].
The introduction and broadening of 3D tools as a key teaching component in the design process
has significantly change the teaching of TD related subjects as a result. However, HE institutions are
still left with the challenge of developing new T&L tools and methods to make sure students acquire
the knowledge and skills on TD required to meet the demands of both academia and industry [3-4].
AR/VR technologies have already found potential applications in areas of education where
students are facing some learning challenges. These applications have incorporated for example
desktop-based virtual reality technologies to stimulate learning, to teach abstract concepts, to teach
scientific inquiry and engineering subjects [2]. AR/VR offers to HE institutions an efficient way to
present complex and difficult theories/concepts to design and engineering students. Students can
comprehend complex theories and concepts with the contextually enriched interaction offered by AR
technology. For example, animations have shown to provide more enthusiasm for the learning activity,
Proceedings of CAD’19, Singapore, June 24-26, 2019, 363-366
© 2019 CAD Solutions, LLC,
better performance in understanding the appearances and features of objects and improve the spatial
visualization capabilities [5].
In this paper, the authors present development of 3D interactive AR/VR teaching system from a
design-based method to help engineering and product design students improve on critical and
complex topics related to TD skills according to an international survey and as part of a broader
European funded research project. This work shows that human-centered approaches can improve the
understanding of students needs and facilitate the development of AR/VR technology applications for
T&L within an international and multidisciplinary team.
Development of AR/VR Tools and Animations:
This paper addresses the use of low-cost mobile based AR/VR tools developed with the support of
animation and simulation tools alongside text-based teaching methods. Having several approaches to
teaching would give students a variety of options when learning technical contents. Individual
students may require different support as the concentration and abilities of the students may change
due to personal circumstances, environment, age, among other factors. In the initial stage of this
study, a comprehensive research to identify the area of TDs that require support from AR/VR
technologies in order to overcome T&L issues is carried out. 320 people from UK, Bulgaria and Turkey,
with different educational background (engineering/design, student, instructor/lecturer,
manufacturing sector employee, vocational college/ high school / university student, and
teacher/trainer), participated in a survey. This is used to identify their TD perception, knowledge and
skill levels and expectation of TD education. The research show that current teaching methods can be
further supported by AR/VR and animation technologies to improve engagement and T&L of relatively
complex subject. The program identified six aspects of technical drawings which were separated into
modules to improve the learning experience. From the analysis, the following module areas were
selected for developing AR/VR content and animations:
Dimensioning and Tolerances
Sectioning, Projections and Perspective Drawings
Dimensional Tolerances, Edge Tolerances, Shaft and Hole Tolerances
Geometric Tolerance/Form-Position Tolerances
Surface Treatment Markings/Surface Roughness
Production and Assembly Drawings
The team decided to use a Formula Student Race Car as the centerpiece of the project (Figure 1).
This car is developed by the engineering students at the Technical University of Sofia which has been
designed (i.e. CAD) and physically manufactured. This car model gave a wide range of different
components to be used within AR/VR and animation. Context/environment for each part was assigned
in AR/VR and animations to help the student understand the component and to give a more real-world
Several software packages were used to achieve the required output including the Adobe suite
(Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign) to create the storyboards, and graphics. For 3D content
generation, SolidWorks was used to model the car, which was then imported into 3D Studio Max to
start the animation process. The model was converted to polygonal data (low for AR/VR and high for
animation). Appropriate textures were then applied to the model, and various animation methods were
utilized to create the content, including camera and object movement.
Unity was used to create interactive AR/VR applications with ARCore for building the AR
experience. In this phase, multi-disciplinary knowledge and skills help to effectively create the content
that would be visually rich to be used by students and industry to engage in the modules. Interactivity
is key when creating an engaging experience. Not only should the user be able to look around the
environment, but they should also be able to interact with components and complete objectives. A
multi-disciplinary approach allows the effective and appropriate use of individual skills within
software, programming and design.
Proceedings of CAD’19, Singapore, June 24-26, 2019, 363-366
© 2019 CAD Solutions, LLC,
Fig. 1: 3D Modelling of Formula Student Race Car and TD for stearin wheel assembly.
The development of AR/VR and animation requires hardware considerations before the development
phase. The requirements for the student/teacher for this project would be:
VR headset
Competency of modelling SolidWorks or equivalent
Design for manufacture experience, experience in TD details
Some experience using AR and VR
Mobile Phone (Android 7.0+)
Powerful computer
AR/VR Technical Drawing Case Study:
Several AR applications have been developed for improving student understanding of tolerances.
Tolerancing is defined as an extension of dimensioning of TDs. It specifies a range of accuracy for the
shape, size, and position of components so that when they are manufactured all parts can fit and
function properly when assembled. Currently, tolerances covering form (straightness, flatness,
circularity and cylindricity), orientation (angularity, perpendicularity and parallelism), location
(position and concentricity) and runout (symmetry, circular runout and total runout) have been
completed. Figure 2 shows cylindricity tolerances in AR with surface parameters. Also shown is an AR
game where the car can be driven using the onscreen controls on a floor defined in AR environment on
Fig. 2: Mobile AR Applications and sample AR training simulation.
VR development includes the creation of 3d content and the programming of interaction. Depending
on the desired level of both realism and interactivity, either high-level programming languages may be
Proceedings of CAD’19, Singapore, June 24-26, 2019, 363-366
© 2019 CAD Solutions, LLC,
used; but these required extensive knowledge of programming or game engines such as Unity, Unreal
or similar.
The vehicle has been rendered with panoramic and stereoscopic cameras to be viewed in a
Samsung Gear VR. This VR device enables a decent field of view and good head tracking due to the
sensors. The controller can be used to navigate and interact with the scene. The disadvantage of this
device is that it only works with the latest Samsung phones and has a relatively low level of immersion
which would be good enough for this type of T&L activity.
Discussion and Conclusions:
The use of AR/VR in education is promising and useful in T&L. A multi-disciplinary approach is
crucial. This approach brings a different perspective to T&L methods and content development which
results in a better experience for students. Individuals from different backgrounds (engineering and
design) can offer their expertise in the content development and application of software. Running
international projects require the use of methods and tools to facilitate the communication of content.
The process of creating the AR/VR content is time-consuming if not developed using effective
design and visualisation methods. Students are more accustomed to using 3D games with a high level
of visual detail where a substantial amount of investment may have been available for commercial
projects. Therefore, a careful consideration of end-user requirements and expectations is needed to
engage students. Interactivity is essential when creating AR/VR content. While animations may not
have any interactivity, it would provide a visually pleasing platform to communicate the information.
However, large file sizes may limit its use as it would require high internet speeds to download the
animation content which could be hosted on a website, however, many educational institutions have
fast and free internet available.
Development of AR/VR traditionally requires low-polygon modelling techniques but on
multidisciplinary projects, teams normally use their daily-use software to generate 3D content which
may limit the level of interactivity as optimisation between software would reduce performance and
increase file size of any developed media. Several headsets and mobile phones (Android 7.0+) would
also be required to give each student the experience. For this reason, several platforms have been
developed to ensure that all students would have an experience with each T&L method. Projecting the
view of the VR user onto a screen may also be a solution to this problem.
Positive feedback was received from the initial pilot study where selected students used the
developed AR/VR and animation content. Further work includes the development of an AR/VR
application to other operating systems to reach a wider market. Students would be able to choose a
method tailored to their needs. These didactic resources should be easy to use and must be developed
with a good level of educational usefulness
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[2] Merchant, Z.: The Impact of Virtual Reality-based Learning Environment Design Features on
Students' Academic Achievements (Doctoral dissertation), 2012.
[3] Meyers, F. D.: First year engineering graphics curricula in major engineering colleges, Engineering
Design Graphics Journal, 64(2), 2009, 23-28.
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Design and Applications, 3(1-4), 2006, 323-330.
[5] Wu, C. F.; Chiang, M. C.: Effectiveness of applying 2D static depictions and 3D animations to
orthographic views learning in graphical course, Computers & Education, 63, 2013, 28-42.
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The Impact of Virtual Reality-based Learning Environment Design Features on Students' Academic Achievements (Doctoral dissertation)
  • Z Merchant
Merchant, Z.: The Impact of Virtual Reality-based Learning Environment Design Features on Students' Academic Achievements (Doctoral dissertation), 2012.
First year engineering graphics curricula in major engineering colleges
  • F D Meyers
Meyers, F. D.: First year engineering graphics curricula in major engineering colleges, Engineering Design Graphics Journal, 64(2), 2009, 23-28.