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 the 1200 Hallway, First Floor 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 changed to design, build and test a system of mechanisms to pick up a 5 lb cylinder from the rest position, move it to a paint can, dip it inside, take it to the blow dryer, place the painted cylinder on a Bullseye, and finally return to the starting position. Student teams are allowed to design a device that utilizes electromagnets, mechanical grips, pulleys, and one or more other mechanisms. However, the device can be operated using a maximum of 4 discrete inputs to generate linear motion (X, Y, and Z displacements) and rotation. All motions must be generated by hand cranking, push/pull on a lever, electric motors, or their combinations. The device must be operated by only one member of the team standing at the base of the device. Once the cylinder enters the Plexiglas box, it cannot be touched or interfered with by any member of the team. The device should be designed with the requisite stiffness to navigate the cylinder through the box without excessive deflection of the links, or failure.

The competition is held in the 1200 Hallway, First Floor Engineering Building from 8:00 until 11:48. 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 enhanced cooling of microprocessors. Each team is to design, analyze, build and test a heat transfer device to raise the temperature of a hot dog using solar energy. The primary objective is to maximize the surface and center temperatures of the hot dog, after heating from ambient temperature for 30 minutes. A secondary objective is to minimize the weight of the cooker’s solar collector. Temperature data for each team are recorded periodically to establish the transient performance of the solar collector and provide validation for an analytical model of the cooker that is developed as part of the final project report. Each team has 10 minutes to set up its cooker. In addition, each team prepares a YouTube video, shown to the audience during the competition that explains design decisions based on principles of heat transfer.

This competition takes place in the 1200 Hallway, First Floor from 8:00 until 11:00 on Design Day. Please see the Design Day Booklet for information on the competition schedule.


In ME 478 Product Development, the students must design and build a vehicle that climbs up and down stairs, as part of a project which integrates engineering knowledge gained during the students’ education at MSU. Starting as an individual project and evolving into a team project, each team produces a vehicle by accomplishing a series of design and manufacturing tasks. Students contribute both individually and collaboratively to accomplish these tasks using CAD/CAM packages, CNC machining, 3D printing, etc. When the vehicle has been built, a control system is designed and implemented using the MyRio platform for remote operation via the engineering wireless network.

This competition takes place in the West Main Lobby/Stairwell from 10:00 until 11:00 on Design Day. Please see the Design Day Booklet for information on the competition schedule.