Capstone design is a two-semester course sequence for senior students in the Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering programs.  The class is taught with students from both majors combined into a single cross-listed course.  In the fall, students enroll in either MECH 440A (mechanical) or MECA 440A (mechatronic).  The first semester is a three‑unit course that focuses on design.  Selected lecture topics include:

  • Customer requirements and specifications
  • Conceptual design
  • Decision making
  • Project management
  • Cost estimating
  • Budgets
  • Documentation
  • Formal reports

The fall 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:

Project Proposal

  • Student groups present their proposed projects, including project justification, customer requirements, and engineering specifications.

Midterm Review

  • 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.

In the spring semester, students enroll in either MECH 440B (mechanical) or MECA 440B (mechatronic).  The second semester 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 spring semester has five major milestones:

Test Plan

  • Students generate a test plan that will be used to evaluate their designs against the engineering specifications developed early in the fall semester

Prototype Construction

  • Students are required to build what they design.  This is often where they learn about the differences between models in SolidWorks and real parts 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

Design Expo

  • The spring semester concludes with the annual Design Expo.

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