Mechanical Engineering

Non-Capstone Projects

In addition to the ME 481 Senior Capstone class, there are six design courses required of all Mechanical Engineering majors. Three of those courses participate in Design Day. For the complete competition schedules, please see the Design Day Booklet.

In ME 371 Mechanical Design I students are required to design and manufacture mechanisms that incorporate at least one linkage, one gear set and one cam-follower combination.

These projects are on display during Design Day from 9:00 until noon in Rooms 1230 and 1234 Engineering Building. The team with the best design, as voted on by pre-collegiate visitors, is awarded the Sparty Plaque.


In ME 471 Mechanical Design II students  were challenged to design, build and test a scale version of a powered folding ramp for a wheelchair. The system is to be designed and manufactured so that:

  • The system mass, energy requirements and cost are minimized
  • The motion of the system is smooth and controlled
  • Structural components have infinite fatigue life
  • The deployment and use of the system is safe
  • The system is easily cleaned and maintained
  • The system is easily installed and removed from the wheelchair

Teams are assessed according to the performance of their design, and their report detailing the concept development and selection process, kinematic analysis, structural analysis, failure analysis, fatigue analysis, cost analysis, integration of marketing elements, and recommendations for future improvement to the design.

The competition is held in Room 1345 Engineering Building from 8:00 until 12:16 pm. The winning team receives the Leonardo da Vinci Machine Design Award. Please see the Design Day Booklet for information on the competition schedule.


The ME 412 Heat Transfer Laboratory project involves heating a hot dog that has been skewered by an electrical resistance heater and the use of heat-transfer principles to predict how its surface temperature changes with time. Each team will skewer an MSU meat-laboratory hot dog with a welding rod of some other resistance heater of its own design. The team will then connect the heater to a DC power supply, applying as much as 20 V and 100 A to heat the hot dog. After five minutes, the surface temperature at the mid-point of the hot dog will be measured. The team which achieves the greatest surface-temperature increase and predicts that increase most accurately wins.

This competition takes place in Room 1252 from 8:00 until 11:30 am on Design Day. Please see the Design Day Booklet for information on the competition schedule.