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.  Please see the Design Day Booklet for information on these competitions.

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.

The team with the best design, as voted on by pre-collegiate visitors, is awarded the Sparty Plaque.


In ME 412 Heat Transfer Laboratory each team will design, model, build, and test a heat pipe to operate at low pressure. The design objective is to effectively remove heat from a liter of boiling water. An additional objective is to understand the thermal-fluid principles of heat pipes through modeling, simulating and/or reviewing existing experimental and computational works. For testing, each team will have 15 minutes to set up, demonstrate, and dissemble their pipe. Cooling is provided by ambient air. A vacuum pump will be available to lower the pressure inside the heat pipe. Each team will also prepare a power-point slideshow or video clip for the audience to explain their design decisions, analysis and operation of their heat pipe.

ME 412 NonCapstone


In ME 471 Mechanical Design II the students were challenged to design a general-purpose, mechanical-only sorter than will separate fasteners of different types, sorting them into separate containers. Mechanical action is to be provided only by a single hand-cranking mechanism, the only source of energy in the sorter. The design will be tested using a given volume of material that includes screws, nuts and washers. This mix must be sorted into three separate containers, each holding the same type of fastener. Randomly, the mix may also include a small number of odd pieces that should be sorted into a fourth container. Performance will be measured by the volume of material sorted accurately during a short trial.

The winning team receives the Leonardo da Vinci Machine Design Award.


In ME 478 Product Development the students were challenged to design, produce and demonstrate a ‘simplified version’ of a ‘metallic’ 3D printing machine whose requirements are: 1) the minimum build envelope must be 10cm x 10cm with the height up to 10cm, 2) the powder must be deposited in a layer-by-layer fashion with the maximum thickness of each layer of 1mm, and 3) the electric motors must be controlled by MyRio, which will be provided.

Starting from an individual project and progressing into a team project, each team must produce the machine through a series of design and manufacturing tasks. Each student needs to contribute individually as well as collaboratively to accomplish a series of tasks. CAD/CAM packages, CNC machining, rapid prototyping, testing, etc., will be used to produce the machine. Finally, selected teams will demonstrate their machines on Design Day.


ME 497 Biomechanical Design/MKT 420 New Product Development provides students with a unique opportunity to develop and market a real, new product that incorporates biomechanical function. Students work in inter-disciplinary teams of engineers and marketers and experience the entire process of new product development from need identification, concept generation and testing, to product development, design analysis and launch. This course further strengthens students’ knowledge and real-world exposure by working with Spartan Innovations. This year General Motors sponsored an in-class competition providing awards to the top three product ideas, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) provided funds for prototyping.