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Electric Ceiling Hoist: A Semester Project with Competing Forces to Enhance Student Learning in Machine Design

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Technical Session: Labs & Projects - New Opportunities

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Dennis O'Connor California State University, Chico

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Dr. Dennis O’Connor received his B.S. (2004) and M.S. (2007) in Mechanical Engineering from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Ph.D. (2014) in Engineering Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His major research interests are dynamics and vibration including nonlinear systems and numerical methods. He joined the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering and Sustainable Manufacturing (MMEM) at California State University Chico in 2015 as an Assistant Professor. Dr O’Connor teaches a myriad of courses including: Dynamics, Materials, Thermodynamics, Machine Design, and Vibrations. In addition, he is the faculty advisor to both Chico State Rocketry and SAE Mini Baja student clubs.

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Mechanical Engineering Design (i.e., Machine Design) is a pivotal course in any Mechanical Engineering or Mechatronic Engineering curriculum. This course marks the transition from learning fundamental mathematics and science to applying them for design of engineering solutions. Combined with its rigorous and varied content, the manufacture and build of said design solutions presents a definitive experience for undergraduate engineering students. At California State University Chico, Machine Design is a four unit class consisting of three weekly one hour lectures and a two-hour activity. The purpose of this paper is to consider the effectiveness of a hands-on semester design project facilitated through the weekly two-hour activity to improve the student learning experience. In other words, does requiring students to design, build, and test a machine help them to better understand the course material of Machine Design? The semester project in this study involved designing and building an electric ceiling hoist but with a novel twist. A point scheme incentivized teams to develop a higher lifting capacity, but stress, deflection, and lifting time were competing forces. Two surveys were administered to help quantify any said benefits towards an improved learning experience. The first one was given early in the semester to assess student background while the second was given upon project completion. A careful evaluation of student feedback and measured performances is presented herein.

O'Connor, D. (2020, June), Electric Ceiling Hoist: A Semester Project with Competing Forces to Enhance Student Learning in Machine Design Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34512

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