Computer-aided design (CAD) tools play a significant role in the modern product commercialization environment. As CAD and general CAx technology advances, it becomes more important to understand how engineers adapt their expertise to new environments and problems. This work examines a methodology consisting of a set of surveys, interviews, and exercises with a small group of practicing engineers to assess adaptive expertise (AE) and relate this AE to CAD modeling performance and procedures. Results detail AE survey results, a modeling and alteration exercise, and an exercise where engineers are asked to model a component using a CAD platform they are unfamiliar with. Interview and time use (from screen capture videos) results from this exercise are presented along with other data. Correlations among AE survey and interview variables and model analysis variables are presented. The epistemology dimension of the AE survey was found to be negatively correlated with both original modeling and alteration time. Overall modeling time in the different platform was positively correlated with the percentage of time a participant spent engaging in trial and error; modeling time in the different platform was negatively correlated with percentage of time spent doing actual modeling and the time spent thinking.

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