Demanding it All from the Novice Mechanical Engineer through Design and Manufacture
DS 78: Proceedings of the 16th International conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (E&PDE14), Design Education and Human Technology Relations, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 04-05.09.2014
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Arthur Eger, Wouter Eggink, Ahmed Kovacevic, Brian Parkinson, Wessel Wits
Author: Masen, Marc; Brand, Andrew; Yan, Yanliuxing; Varley, Julie; Spence, Peter; Childs, Peter
Institution: 1 Imperial College London, SW7 2AZ, UK; 2 Royal College of Art, London, SW7 2EU, UK
Section: Reflection on Teaching
A core design and manufacture group project has been run in the second year of the Mechanical Engineering undergraduate programme at Imperial College for over two decades where students are required to develop highly loaded rotating machinery, such as a pump or a winch, early in the second year of their undergraduate study. The aim has been to provide a practical opportunity to apply and develop skills learnt in the first year and to provide the experience of manufacturing, operating and testing what has been designed. While these projects have been a mainstay of the educational experience for many years, there has been a persistent concern that the projects are deterministic and highly constrained. The course team and student body have debated and now implemented a new project that is both less constrained and more appealing to the student cohort. In this project the students are tasked with developing a transmission for an electric scooter. The project has resulted in a significant diversity in designs and, importantly, the students embracing the curriculum content with fervour. The challenge still requires attention to the application of fundamental mechanical engineering principles such as transmissions, solid mechanics and materials, but also focuses on electronic control systems, battery and motor characteristics, high current and power, health and safety and a range of transferable skills. The multi-disciplinary nature of the project combined with an appealing application has resulted in a highly engaged year group. This paper reports on the project and includes an analysis of the diversity of designs and student effort.