Capstone design is a two-semester course sequence for senior students in the Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering programs. Students in the program take either MECH 440A & MECH 440B (mechanical) or MECA 440A & 440B (mechatronic), but the courses are taught with students from both majors combined into a single cross-listed course. The first semester (440A) is a three‑unit course that focuses on design. Selected lecture topics include:
- Overview of the design process
- Customer requirements and specifications
- Conceptual design
- Decision making
- Project planning
- Project management
- Cost estimating
- Formal reports
The first semester has four major milestones: three oral presentations and the production of a comprehensive design report. The presentations occur after about five, nine, and fifteen weeks of the semester. Each group presents, and each team member must deliver a portion of the presentation. Presentation topics are:
- Student groups present their proposed projects, including project justification, customer requirements, and engineering specifications.
- Groups present their finalist design concepts as well as the winning concept that will be developed into a final design solution.
Final Design Review
- Students present their final detailed design solution for the project.
The second semester (either MECH or MECA 440B) is a two‑unit course that focuses on building and testing a prototype. Students spend less time in the classroom and more time building and testing their designs. The second semester has five major milestones:
- Students generate a test plan that will be used to evaluate their designs against the engineering specifications developed early in the fall semester
- Students are required to build what they design. This is often where they learn about the differences between models in SolidWorks and real parts produced in the machine shop.
- Students execute the test plan developed in the early part of the semester, learning how well their design conformed to the specifications.
Final Design Presentation
- Oral presentation summarizing the entire project from design to build to test
Final Design Report
- Comprehensive documentation of the design, including analysis, working drawings, and test results
- The second semester concludes with the Design Expo.