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Instructional Methodology for Capstone Senior Mechanical Design

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Capstone Design I

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.890.1 - 22.890.16



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Paper Authors


Xiaobin Le Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Assistant Professor Xiaobin Le, Ph.D., P.Eng, specialization in Computer Aided Design, Mechanical Design, Finite Element Analysis, Fatigue Design and Reliability, Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Technology, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, MA 02115, Phone: 617-989-4223, Email: LEX@WIT.EDU.

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Anthony William Duva Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Anthony W. Duva has been a faculty member in the Mechanical Engineering and Technology Department at Wentworth Institute of Technology since 2001 with 14 years of prior industrial experience. He has worked with various technologies from advanced underwater propulsion systems to ultra high altitude propulsion for research aircraft. He has also worked with printing systems and automated wafer measurement systems. He currently holds six patents in propulsion and fuel related technologies.

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Richard L. Roberts Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and Technology,
College of Engineering and Technology,
Wentworth Institute of Technology, 550 Huntington Ave.,
Boston, MA 02115

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Ali R. Moazed Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Instructional Methodology for Capstone Senior Mechanical DesignSenior mechanical design - the capstone design course, is always a big event for everymechanical curriculum. Students look forward to it not only because it is a chance to apply allthey have learned in converting ideas into reality through a mechanical design project, but alsobecause they want to conduct a real design in an industrial setting. Students are looking for abridge to help them migrate from an academic environment to an industrial environment. It is abig responsibility for faculty who instruct the senior mechanical design because faculty shouldtry to build a smooth bridge to connect academics to real world situations for students. Someobservations, experiences and options about how to instruct senior mechanical design projectsbased on our Capstone design course - MECH690-Mechanical Design will be presented andshared throughout this paper. Several key strategies for instructing senior mechanical design,based on our senior design examples, will be presented and discussed in detail. For example,one key strategy is how to properly accept or firmly reject students’ design proposals. A gooddesign proposal must clearly describe its application “need”. Any design proposal without aclear applied “need” must be rejected. That every design project must go through all stages ofthe general design process is an essential strategy for ensuring the greatest chances for asuccessful design project. Jumping or skipping some stages of the general design processfrequently causes disaster by abnormally ending the project. Another key strategy is propermonitoring and guidance to the design team. Weekly class meetings and weekly group meetingswith the faculty are a must. The faculty should act like a chief engineer to alter, stop, reject orsuggest a design option or guide the general direction of the design project. One more keystrategy is ensuring students must pay enough attention to general design criteria such as safety,manufacturability & assembly-ability, and economics during the design process. Completion ofthe design project to fabrication of a prototype is not considered the overall purpose of thestudent design experience. Realization of the design project with consideration of safety, ease ofmanufacturing & assembling, achieved at economic price is considered essential for anysuccessful capstone mechanical design project. Finally, requiring an engineering documentationpackage of the design project, including reports and production drawings, is also a key strategy.

Le, X., & Duva, A. W., & Roberts, R. L., & Moazed, A. R. (2011, June), Instructional Methodology for Capstone Senior Mechanical Design Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18195

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