Course Profile

Goals of the Course

Heuristic learning of a structured design process through application to a two-semester, open-ended, group design project.

Who is it designed for?

Mechanical Engineering Seniors.

Learning Objectives

Engineering ethics, engineering design methodology, design process, project planning, decision making, materials selection, economic analysis, quality control, finite element analysis.

Maker skills it develops

Design projects require working prototypes. Students learn rapid prototyping for bench level experiments as well as traditional manufacturing (milling, turning, welding, etc.)


Statics, Dynamics, Design of Mechanical Elements, Introduction to Mechanical Design.

Skills, Tools and Technologies Used

CAM – assumed known

FEA - Introduced

Traditional machining – assumed known

Rapid prototyping – Introduced

Composites manufacturing - Introduced

Key Examples and Prior Work

Students have made vehicles and airplanes to compete in various SAE competitions, medical products, components for testing satellites, and air cargo containers to name a few.

Key Resources

FUNdaMentals book, lectures, and spreadsheets; Previous team’s design wikis.

Example Assignment

Develop a working prototype to solve an open-ended design problem. This is the crux of engineering. The point is put all the previously learned theory to work and make something useful.

Lessons Learned

Student design teams, without any really command structure authority, have significant team dynamics problems. Each semester I add more emphasis to team building and team dynamics, trying to find a way to reduce these problems.