Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Dissertation (CMU Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering


Levent Burak Kara


Almost seventy percent of final product forms are determined at conceptual shape modeling and exploration stages which involve generation of a rich set of geometric proxies with the assistance of various computer-aided design (CAD) and engineering (CAE) tools [1]. This practice facilitates existing computational tools in congruent with visual and physical references such as rough sketches, 2D line drawings, prototypes or 3D wireframe drawings. Although these initial proxies can be ample to capture the intended forms with sufficient accuracy, design practice is impeded by current CAD tools as they require careful and laborious dictation and control of the geometric data for digital content generation and recovery. The root cause is lack of computational support for utilization of design content from primitive proxies that moves designers’ focus from aesthetic shape ideation to laborious digital model construction or modification. In this research, we propose new computational tools to remedy technical challenges that prevent utilization of geometric content from primitive proxies in construction or recovery of approximate geometrical models for rapid exploration and reverse engineering purposes. The overarching objective of this Ph.D. research is identification and utilization of geometric design content that is common among alternative form candidates in a conceptual design activity. If this can be achieved, novel computational tools that will enable rapid generation and modifications of digital forms by alleviating redundant and laborious work flows required by existing CAD tools can be developed. To achieve this objective we identified three main technical goals: (1) rapid conversion of design information contained in primitive shape proxies without any topological or geometric constraints into a digital data that is suitable for further beatification and refinement using conventional CAD tools, (2) an automatic computational tool for deformation transfer from physical prototypes to expedite digital shape exploration and design recovery from physical prototypes (3) sketch-based computational techniques that allow rapid topology insertions and modifications to provide effortless transitions between physical and digital media for final product form quest.