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Design Principles For Freshman/Sophomore Engineering And Technology Students

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.201.1 - 5.201.10



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Paper Authors

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John Razukas

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Jean Le Mee

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Gerardo Del Cerro

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2253

Design Principles for Freshman/Sophomore Engineering and Technology Students

Jean Le Mée, Gerardo del Cerro, John Razukas The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science&Art/ New York City Technical College


Through Gateway, we developed at Cooper Union a very successful course which has now been institutionalized and is being taught for the fifth year in a row: EID 103 – Principles of Design. The course is presented at Cooper Union at the freshman/sophomore level for between 12 and 20 students each year, and at the New York City Technical College in the Electro- Mechanical Engineering Technology Department.

The first part of the course consists of learning the principles of design through reverse engineering. Working in small teams, students take apart and put back together such items as a floppy disk drive, a toy robot arm, and a model engine. As they go about their work, they sketch, take notes, and answer specific questions to tease out the ideas behind the form and the embodiment of the design. They learn about Functional Requirements, design parameters and their relations, choice of material, economy, and mechanisms before they attempt to design a simple product of their choice, which may vary from a bicycle rack to a CD holder, a better mudguard for a bike, or a more efficient dish rack. To show them the importance of the relation of physics, mathematics, engineering science, materials, experiment design, synthesis, and analysis, we have prepared for them a CD-ROM on Leonardo da Vinci and his flying machine, where we show that, in spite of all his genius, Leonardo could not succeed. It is an interesting, amusing, yet sobering lesson.

Notwithstanding the lesson, the interest of students in Leonardo's machines has led to the development of a very successful mini-exhibition of models of some of his flying machines, which has been featured at the New York City Technical College library and the Brooklyn Union Gas Company headquarters, and reported on the local TV news and in the Press (NY Post).

This article presents details about course content, organization, and assessment, as well as the resulting public exhibition of Leonardo's non-flying machines.

I. Purpose

This course – EID 103: Principles of Design – is conceived to introduce students from all disciplines to the concepts of rational design. It is open to first and second year students at the Albert Nerken School of Engineering at the Cooper Union. The emphasis is on product design. The course builds on the experience of design methodology gained by students in EID 101: Engineering Design and Problem Solving. At the New York City Technical College it is

Razukas, J., & Le Mee, J., & Del Cerro, G. (2000, June), Design Principles For Freshman/Sophomore Engineering And Technology Students Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8273

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