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Student Design Project

Purpose of Course  showclose

This course will ask you to apply the knowledge you have acquired over the course of the entire mechanical engineering curriculum.  It draws upon what you have learned in your courses in mechanics, CAD, materials and processing, thermal and fluid systems, and dynamics and control, just to name a few.  This course is equivalent to the capstone course or senior design project that you would need to complete as a senior in a mechanical engineering program in a traditional American university setting.

This course begins in Unit 1 by introducing you to the stages of the design process.  We will then focus on tools and skill sets that are particularly important for succeeding in a design project, including design planning, teamwork skills, project management, and design reporting.

Unit 2 covers important design principles and considerations.  You will learn about economic implications (you must keep cost in mind while designing!), the ethical, societal, and environmental impacts of design decisions, and professional aspects of design work, including the process of securing intellectual property.  The unit also expands on what you learned in previous materials and processing coursework by covering material- and process-selection criteria and approaches.

In Unit 3, you will engage in a capstone design project that applies your knowledge of mechanical engineering.  You will start by identifying a problem to solve using engineering design.  You will then explore the needs of the project, developing specific metrics necessary to achieve customer requirements.  You will engage in both concept generation and refinement, applying engineering knowledge to derive potential solutions to the problem.  You will then analyze the potential solutions, arriving at an ultimate decision to move forward with implementation, analysis, and final design evaluation.  By the end of the unit and the course, you will have delivered a solution to a design problem and created a comprehensive report detailing the design, how you arrived at it, and a conclusion about its ability to meet the needs of the problem.

Course Information  showclose

Welcome to ME403.  Below, please find general information on the course and its requirements.
 
Course Designer: Michael Fuqua
 
Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials.  In particular, the course makes extended use of the following materials:
Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and complete an extensive design project, broken into individual assessments in Unit 3.  Units 1 and 2 lay the groundwork for understanding how to go forward with the design project in Unit 3.  To complete the design project, you will need to complete the following:
  • Activity 1 and Assessments 2 through 6
  • The Final Exam
Note that you will only receive an official grade on your final exam.  In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.
 
However, the design project and various assessment points along the way are of great importance.  Do not skip the actual design project or the assessments, as they represent the spirit and purpose of ME403.  The project should represent the vast majority of your time spent on this course.
 
Time Commitment: The general course work should only take you about 28 hours to complete.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on the material in each subunit.  These should help you plan your time accordingly.
 
However, the majority of your time will be spent on completing your Student Design Project.  You should expect to spend at least 117 hours on the completion of your design project, although many students find it necessary to devote as much as 300 to 400 hours to successfully complete this project.  Since design projects are variable depending on complexity, there is no absolute minimum or maximum that needs to be devoted.  However, the nature of the design project will be such that you will need to devote a great deal of time and effort in order to properly complete your project successfully.
 
Tips/Suggestions: This course is intended to be the culmination of your studies, and as such it requires an intensive application of the skills and knowledge you have obtained studying mechanical engineering.  It will take a great deal of time, but it should be an enjoyable process, since you will get to apply all your hard work to a real engineering design project.  During the course of your design project, you will encounter obstacles that may seem difficult to overcome.  Keeping an organized notebook, and following all design steps as completely as possible, should help you overcome any difficulties you encounter. 

Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  • Apply engineering design concepts and tools to create the initial design of a product.
  • Apply appropriate research techniques to refine the initial product design.
  • Apply appropriate resource-planning techniques in the product design.
  • Apply appropriate project management tools and techniques in planning the design and manufacture of the product.
  • Apply appropriate design codes and documentation in producing the design.
  • Calculate engineering costs of a product by using engineering economic tools.
  • Create designs that are safe and environmentally friendly.
  • Create designs that meet ethical standards and do not violate copyright laws.
  • Create relevant design reports and presentations that meet standards.
  • Test, validate, evaluate, and optimize engineering designs.
  • Apply the concepts learned in this course to understand the design of various engineering products and processes encompassing various technologies.

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.).

√    Have competency in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

√    Have completed these courses: ME001/MA101, ME002/MA102, ME003/MA221, ME005/PHYS101, ME101, ME102, ME104, ME201, ME202, ME203, ME301, ME302, ME303, ME304, ME402, and ME404.

Unit Outline show close


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  • Unit 1: Formulation of Engineering Design  

    In this unit, we will familiarize ourselves with the various design steps that we should follow when designing a product or process.  Design planning is a vital step in the design process; in this stage, we assess customers’ needs and conduct initial research.

    Once you are familiar with design planning, you need to understand how to effectively manage the design.  You will learn to treat every design as a project, where good teamwork and timelines are vital to success.  You will also learn the importance of properly presenting your ideas in engineering documents and presentations.

    Unit 1 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 1 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 1.1 The Design Process  
  • 1.1.1 Introduction to Engineering Design  

    Note: ME101: Introduction to Mechanical Engineering introduced engineering design in subunit 1.2.  Please reread this subunit if you want to review the information it contains.  The following reading is another introduction to engineering design, intended to refresh your memory.

  • 1.1.2 Engineering Design Process  
  • 1.1.3 Evaluating Technology and Strategy  
    • Reading: MIT: Dr. Jung-Hoon Chun and Dr. Alexander d’Arbeloff’s “R&D Management”

      Link: MIT: Dr. Jung-Hoon Chun and Dr. Alexander d’Arbeloff’s “R&D Management” (PDF)

      Instructions: This reading examines the risks of developing new technology and new products.  It will introduce you to how companies and entities look at development and design in terms of their global strategy.  Understanding these concepts will allow you as an engineer to enter a design process with a better comprehension of what your goals and approaches should be.  Please click on Lecture 14 titled, “R&D Management,” and read the entire document.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.2 Project Management  
  • 1.2.1 Project Management Tools  
  • 1.2.2 Gantt Charts  
  • 1.2.3 Time Management  
  • 1.3 Team Dynamics  
  • 1.3.1 Introduction to Teams and Groups  
    • Reading: The University of Edinburgh: Dr. Gerard M. Blair’s “Groups That Work”

      Link: The University of Edinburgh: Dr. Gerard M. Blair’s “Groups That Work” (HTML)

      Instructions: This webpage introduces you to the concept of teamwork as a means of accomplishing an engineering design project.  Because of the nature of this course, it will be difficult for you to conduct a design project with a team.  However, teamwork is an important part of engineering, and it will be part of most engineering endeavors.  Please open the webpage and read it in its entirety.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 1.3.2 Quality within a Team  
  • 1.3.3 Managing People  
  • 1.3.4 Assets of a Good Manager  
  • 1.4 Design Reporting and Documentation  
  • 1.4.1 Design Documentation  
  • 1.4.2 Design Notebook  
  • 1.4.3 Engineering Drawings  

    Note: ME104: Computer-Aided Design (CAD) should have given you a solid foundation in engineering drawings and computer-aided design.  Revisit any unit or section of this course if you feel the need to refresh your understanding.  Drawings are a fundamental part of the design process, and they are a necessity for the presentation and communication of concepts and ideas.

  • 1.4.4 Progress Reports  
  • 1.4.5 Design Presentation  
  • 1.4.6 Final Design Report  
    • Reading: University of Minnesota: “How to Write a Design Report”

      Link: University of Minnesota: “How to Write a Design Report” (PDF)

      Instructions: This reading instructs you on what to include in, and how to organize, a final design report.  A design report will be a final documentation of the design process and resulting decisions.  It is crucial that it be detailed but accessible, allowing a reader to comprehend the design and decisions made to achieve it.  Please click the “Writing Design Reports” link at the bottom of the page and then read the entire PDF.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Unit 2: Design Considerations and Principles  

    To properly engage in a design, you must be able to understand the various principles and considerations – beyond the basic solution of a problem – that should factor into your decision making.  For example, a cost analysis of the product or process must be conducted to make sure that it is economically and commercially viable.  You must also examine the impact your design will have on users, society, and the environment.  You should be aware of the legal and ethical issues surrounding your design, including its potential for intellectual infringement (i.e., copyright and trademark violations) at local and global levels.

    Unit 2 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 2 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 2.1 Economics of Design  

    Note: ME402: Design Decisions in Engineering addresses engineering economy concerns in subunit 1.2.  Please reread this subunit if you need to refresh your knowledge of this topic.

  • 2.2 Materials and Processing Decision Making  

    Note: ME 203: Engineering Materials & Materials Processing presented a solid foundation in engineering materials and material-processing techniques.  Revisit any unit or section of this course if you feel the need to refresh your understanding.

  • 2.2.1 Material Selection  
  • 2.2.2 Processing Selection  
    • Reading: MIT: Dr. Jeremy Gregory and Dr. Randolph Kirchain’s “Process Selection”

      Link: MIT: Dr. Jeremy Gregory and Dr. Randolph Kirchain’s “Process Selection” (PDF)

      Instructions: This reading introduces you to the production planning and processing used in product design.  Please click on Lecture 13, titled “Process Selection, In-class Examples,” and read the entire document.  This reading should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2.3 Design for Assembly  
  • 2.3 Design Impact and Engineering Ethics  
  • 2.3.1 Ethical Issues  

    Note: ME101: Introduction to Mechanical Engineering presented a strong introduction to engineering ethics in Unit 2: Ethics and Communication.  Revisit any section of this unit if you feel the need to refresh your understanding.

    • Reading: University of Minnesota: Dr. Joachim Heberlein’s “Engineering Ethics”

      Link: University of Minnesota: Dr. Joachim Heberlein’s “Engineering Ethics” (PDF)

      Instructions: This reading reemphasizes engineering ethics as it applies to engineering design.  This includes the importance of accurate data reporting and analysis, plagiarism and intellectual property concerns, and the societal impacts of the decisions engineers make.  These are all important considerations in any design process.  Please click the “Engineering Ethics” link located under the Spring 2012 Lecture Notes heading and read the entire PDF.  This reading should take approximately 60 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.3.2 Safety and Risk  
    • Reading: Texas A&M University: Dr. Roy Hann’s “Risk, Safety and Liability”

      Link: Texas A&M University: Dr. Roy Hann’s “Risk, Safety and Liability” (PDF)

      Instructions: This reading introduces you to the concept of safety and risk as it applies to engineering decision making.  Risk is inherent in all design activity, whether it is risk of a catastrophic event or just risk of design failure or poor performance.  Please click the “Risk, Safety, and Liability” link and read the entire PDF.  This reading should take approximately 60 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.3.3 Environmental Impact  
    • Reading: MIT: Dr. Randolph Kirchain’s “What is the Cost of Materials Usage”

      Link: MIT: Dr. Randolph Kirchain’s “What is the Cost of Materials Usage” (PDF)

      Instructions: This reading introduces you to the indirect social costs of material usage – in particular, the environmental burden that materials and processing can place upon the world.  Please click on Lecture 20, titled “Introduction: What is the Cost of Materials Usage?” and read the entire PDF.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: MIT: Dr. Randolph Kirchain’s “Impact Assessment”

      Link: MIT: Dr. Randolph Kirchain’s “Impact Assessment” (PDF)

      Instructions: This reading introduces you to the use of Life Cycle Analysis and Impact Assessment to help determine the environmental consequences of decision making in the design process.  As an engineer, it is important to recognize the impacts of all aspects of decision making in design.  This reading helps provide context on how to consider the environmental consequences.  Please click on Lecture 23, titled “Impact Assessment,” and read the entire PDF.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.4 Professional Consideration  
  • 2.4.1 Intellectual Property  
    • Reading: University of Minnesota: Leza Besemann’s “Intellectual Property”

      Link: University of Minnesota: Leza Besemann’s “Intellectual Property” (PDF)

      Instructions: This reading introduces you to types of intellectual property and their importance in protecting your ideas during the design process.  Please click the “Intellectual Property” link located under the Spring 2012 Lecture Notes heading and then read pages 1-30 of the PDF.  This reading should take approximately 60 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.4.2 Professional Societies  
    • Reading: Wikipedia.org: “Engineering Organizations”

      Link: Wikipedia.org: “Engineering Organizations” (HTML)

      Instructions: This webpage lists professional societies and organizations for engineers.  These groups provide excellent information and resources on how to gain and establish professional contacts with individuals involved in specific fields of study.  Please explore these links.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Unit 3: Design Implementation  

    In this unit, you will engage in a complete design project.  The unit goes step by step through the basics of a full design, starting with defining the problem, and moving through identifying the needs and metrics, generating and selecting the concept, and finally, implementing and analyzing the project.  While the unit presents this as a linear process, in practice it is quite iterative.  Assessments allow you to meet major milestones in the design process while consistently reexamining previous concepts and design steps as you move forward in determining the best approach to solve a problem.  At the end of this unit, you will have gone through an entire design project and will have produced a final design report and prepared a presentation of your work and design decision-making.

    Unit 3 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 3 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 3.1 Planning the Design  
  • 3.1.1 Problem Identification  
    • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Project Selection”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Project Selection” (PDF)

      Instructions: Read the activity and move forward with your choice of a suitable project.  This activity should take approximately 2 hours to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed above.

    • Reading: The University of Alabama: Dr. Jeff Jackson’s “Defining the Problem”

      Link: The University of Alabama: Dr. Jeff Jackson’s “Defining the Problem” (HTML)

      Instructions: The first step in any design is identifying a problem that needs solving.  Problems can be identified internally by an engineer seeing something in his or her life that needs fixing, or they can be introduced externally by an individual or entity that has a specific problem at hand.  This reading presents a short look at how problems can be identified.  Please read pages 7 through 10 of the slides.  This reading should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.1.2 Customer Requirements  
  • 3.1.3 Initial Research  
    • Reading: The University of Alabama: Dr. Jeff Jackson’s “Conducting Research”

      Link: The University of Alabama: Dr. Jeff Jackson’s “Conducting Research” (HTML)

      Instructions: This reading introduces you to aspects of initial research as one of the steps in design.  It is important to recognize what technology and potential solutions currently exist before engaging in your own design, and independent research is the means of learning of them.  Please read pages 11 through 14.  This reading should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.1.4 Design Specifications  
  • 3.1.5 Statement of Work  
    • Reading: University of Minnesota: Dr. Brad Bohlmann’s “Statement of Work”

      Link: University of Minnesota: Dr. Brad Bohlmann’s “Statement of Work” (PDF)

      Instructions: This reading will instruct you on how to develop a Statement of Work.  The Statement of Work defines what you are expecting to do with your application of engineering design.  It serves as the framework for your design work, keeping you directed down a specific path.  It is the culmination of identifying a problem, looking into the needs and wants of your customer(s), and establishing the design specifications to achieve your goals.  Please click the “Statement of Work” link located under the Spring 2012 Lecture Notes heading and read the entire PDF.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Statement of Work”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Statement of Work” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Read the assessment and response guidelines and then establish a time management plan and statement of your intended project scope and breadth. This assessment should take approximately 5 hours to complete. When you are finished, check your work against The Saylor Foundation’s “Statement of Work – Guide to Responding” (PDF).
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed above.

  • 3.2 Design Concept Generation  
  • 3.3 Design Screening  
  • 3.3.1 Concept Selection  
    • Reading: University of Minnesota: Dr. Brad Bohlmann’s “Concept Selection”

      Link: University of Minnesota: Dr. Brad Bohlmann’s “Concept Selection” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: This reading provides an overview of how to select a design concept to move forward with design evaluation.  This process, in conjunction with concept generation and design evaluation, is an iterative, nonlinear process. Please click the “Concept Selection” link located under the Spring 2012 Lecture Notes heading and read the entire document.  This reading should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.3.2 Estimation and Modeling  
    • Reading: University of Minnesota: Dr. Brad Bohlmann’s “Estimation and Modeling”

      Link: University of Minnesota: Dr. Brad Bohlmann’s “Estimation and Modeling” (PDF)

      Instructions: This reading will help you understand how to apply estimation and modeling to aid in design.  Estimations and models will help in determining how various concepts meet established needs and guidelines, and are thus important in both the design screening and design analysis stages.  Please click the “Estimation and Modeling” link located under the Spring 2010 Lecture Notes section and read the entire document.  This reading should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.3.3 Structural Design Optimization  
    • Reading: MIT: Dr. Olivier de Weck’s “Design Optimization”

      Link: MIT: Dr. Olivier de Weck’s “Design Optimization” (PDF)

      Instructions: This reading examines structural design optimization.  Design optimization, being a continuously implemented aspect of the engineering design process, is important in the screening and selection of design concepts.  Please click on “PDF 1” in Lecture 6, titled “L6: Manufacturing and Testing,” and read the entire PDF.  This reading should take approximately 60 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Design Screening and Midstream Report”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Design Screening and Midstream Report” (PDF)

      Instructions: Read the assessment and response guidelines and then go forward with establishing a design solution that will allow for prototyping and design validation in the next project phase.  Afterward, develop an encompassing design report that details your design-project work thus far.  You should plan to spend at least 45 hours on this assessment, although students typically devote as much as 150 hours to its completion. When you are finished, you can check your work against The Saylor Foundation’s “Design Screening and Midstream Report – Guide to Responding” (PDF).

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed above.

  • 3.4 Design Implementation and Analysis  
  • 3.4.1 Prototyping and Modeling  
    • Reading: Stanford University: Dr. Andrea Goldsmith’s “Models and Prototypes”

      Link: Stanford University: Dr. Andrea Goldsmith’s “Models and Prototypes” (PowerPoint)

      Instructions: This reading introduces you to using models and prototypes for design evaluation.  Please click on Lecture 6, titled “Models and Prototypes,” and read the entire document.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: University of Minnesota: Dr. Tom Chase’s “Prototyping”

      Link: University of Minnesota: Dr. Tom Chase’s “Prototyping” (HTML)

      Instructions: This reading provides a deeper look at how to use prototypes for design evaluation.  Please click the “Prototyping” link located under the Fall 2008 Lecture Notes section, which will take you to a webpage with a list of links.  Each link is a single slide, although if you click the first link, “Title Slide,” you can access each additional slide in order.  Please read the entire document.  This reading should take approximately 45 minutes to complete.

      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.4.2 Design Evaluation  
  • Final Exam  

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