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A Conceptual Design Activity for a First-year Mechanical Engineering Course

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

First-year Programs Division: Design

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First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Oziel Rios University of Texas, Dallas

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Dr. Oziel Rios earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 where his research focused on design of robotic systems with an emphasis on kinematic and dynamic modeling for analysis and control. Dr. Rios teaches the first-year and CAD courses in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Rios has also taught kinematics and dynamics of machines and graduate-level CAD courses. Dr. Rios’ research and teaching interests include: robotics, design, kinematics and dynamics of machines and engineering education.

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Dani Fadda University of Texas, Dallas

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Dr. Fadda is Clinical Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering. His background includes two decades of professional engineering practice in the energy industry where he has held numerous positions. Dr. Fadda has worked in product research and developed patented products for chemical, petrochemical, and nuclear applications. He is involved with professional organizations and was named the 2016 ASME North Texas Engineer of the Year.

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In this evidence-based paper, an activity is described where students develop and validate conceptual designs of a gear train mechanism composed of spur gears. The design and operation of motion and power transmission systems is an important topic of study for mechanical engineering students. This topic is usually most closely associated with the mechanical engineering profession and may be addressed in a first-year course by describing the need for such systems and investigating equations of simple systems. In the activity described in this paper, students analyze the system, search for components from a catalog, and validate their design by building 3D computer models and running kinematic simulations on CAD software. The activity was successfully administered to an introduction to mechanical engineering class of 221 students during the Spring semester of 2017. A discussion of the resources and personnel required (faculty and graduate teaching assistants) is also presented. The activity is considered simple to implement only requiring a computer station with installed CAD software offered by most engineering programs. Continuous improvements to the activity are made based on faculty observations as well as a survey administered to the students.

Rios, O., & Fadda, D. (2018, June), A Conceptual Design Activity for a First-year Mechanical Engineering Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29666

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