ME Seminar (ME 100)

a syllabus

Course description

This seminar course gives an introduction to Mechanical Engineering and to engineering design principles. ME faculty and guest speakers expose students to work that mechanical engineers do in a variety of fields. Strategies for success in engineering school and in engineering careers are discussed. Engineering problem-solving and design principles are introduced and practiced by students via simple design activities. This course should be taken during the first fall semester in residence at Saint Martin’s University as an ME student. Graded on a pass/fail basis. (Adopted from the course catalog.)

General information

Instructor
Rico AR Picone, PhD
Office Hours (CH 103C)
MF 1–2
Office Hours (Zoom, password sent separately)
W 1:30–4:30
Office location
CH 103C
Class Location
Zoom
Times
W 12:00–12:50 pm
Zoom (password sent separately)
zoom.us/j/94197387416
YouTube recorded Zoom sessions
unlisted playlist
Moodle
moodle.stmartin.edu

secrets

Special coronavirus edition

This course will be delivered online. It usually meets synchronously (live) on Zoom and recordings of the class sessions will be available on YouTube. Course grades (pass/fail) is based on participation in seminar sessions (asynchronous watching of recorded sessions is ok), participation in the forum on an indvidual level, and participation in the forum with your group.

Some of our speakers will be live on Zoom and others will be recorded podcast-style interviews. Most of the speakers/interviewees are SMU ME faculty and alumni from industry. We will also hear from the SMU Career Development folks.

Throughout the term, we will have discussions about the design project and general topics related to the profession of mechanical engineering. There will be readings, primarily from the Cross text (below). They will be of particular help for the Design Project.

Textbook

Nigel Cross. Engineering Design Methods: Strategies for Product Design. Third Edition. Wiley, 2000.

Software

3D CAD software

If you’d like to use 3D CAD software for the design project or just in general, you have a few options.

  1. On-campus: the Cebula Hall 101 lab (sometimes called the “CAD Lab”) computers, which you can access with your cards, have Autodesk Inventor installed.
  2. Remote + beefy computer: you can install Autodesk Inventor Professional on your machine with your stmartin.edu email address from the Autodesk website.
  3. Remote: you can install Autodesk Fusion 360, which runs primarily on the server so you don’t need a powerful computer, on your machine with your stmartin.edu email address from the Autodesk website.

Matlab

For engineering calculations, Matlab is an important tool. If you’d like to start using Matlab, you have a couple options.

  1. On-campus: the Cebula Hall 101 lab (sometimes called the “CAD Lab”) computers, which you can access with your cards, have Matlab installed.
  2. Remote: a student version of Matlab can be purchased for around $100 with your stmartin.edu email address from the MathWorks website.
  3. We’re working on a third option … I’ll update you when I have more info.

Python

It’s not just a free alternative to Matlab for engineering calculations: it’s an important programming language to learn. It’s worth installing it and learning. Start here.

A really nice environment for writing Python code is called Project Jupyter. It allows you to write Python code in a “notebook” style. I love it.

Schedule

The course meets weekly and a schedule will be posted to the course Moodle page.

Design project

Your design projects should follow one of the protocols of Cross (2000).

Request: Sticky Not-Sticky Box

I am your customer. I want you to design a box for me that can contain an iPhone. This box should be capable of staying in place when it’s set in one orientation on a ramp, but slide down the ramp when placed in another orientation. When it slides down the ramp, it should reach the bottom between 0.5 and 1.5 seconds.

Q & A clarifications

Below are questions you’ve asked me about my request.

When you say “slide”, does that include wheels rolling on the surface of the ramp?

The ramp itself is pre-existing and doesn’t have wheels. The box could have wheels, but probably this would cost too much.

What material is the ramp?

The ramp’s surface is steel sheet metal, rigidly supported.

What’s the length (distance traveled)

The ramp is 2.5 ft in length (in the direction the box travels “down” the ramp) and the box will be set so it will be flush with the top of the ramp.

How steep is the ramp?

The ramp is 40 deg from horizontal (50 from vertical).

Is either the ramp or containment unit, or both, considered expendable? (How many times does it need to work with a given ramp and box?)

The ramp is not expendable. The box/containment unit is expendable. It’s for delivering the product to a consumer. Ideally, it’s made of recyclable materials.

Is the containment unit permitted to be electrically powered, or restricted to purely mechanical/material interactions?

It’s probably best not to have power since it’s an expendable unit.

Is the payload device required to be functional both during and following successful demonstration of the containment unit? For example - is there a maximum impact velocity or preferable state of the phone once it reaches the bottom of the ramp, or is rocketing to the bottom and shattering considered acceptable?

At the bottom of the ramp, it will hit a stopping wall. The phone inside shouldn’t be broken, and the packaging/box shouldn’t be damaged.

Is there a maximum or minimum consideration for volume, dimensions, or mass of the containing unit?

It should be as close to the dimensions of the phone as possible.

Is there any other specific failure conditions of the containment unit?

It needn’t be waterproof. It should provide some shock resistance, that of usual shipping environments.

Are there any restrictions on cost?

It should be as inexpensive as possible due to its expendability.

Are there any special needs for impact resistance, or protection for the iPhone?

It should protect the iPhone from reasonable shipping shocks/drops.

Were there any footprint specifications required?

It should be as close as possible to the phone in size.

Does this unit need to be a certain weight?

Lighter is better.

Are there any requirements in regards to manufacturing processes and future recreations of the product?

Ideally, in production, it can be made without significant custom machinery.

Are there a required time frame the product will need to be manufactured by?

I need a good working prototype by the end of the term that can be easily converted into a production version.

Project requirements

With your group of 3-4 students, create a design that meets the customer’s needs. This should include the following components.

  1. A relevant analysis of the situation (applying math, physics, and engineering insight).
  2. Drawings of the design (hand-drawn is ok) that demonstrate its construction.
  3. Tests demonstrating that the design requirements are met.
  4. Recorded video demonstrating the function of your prototype.
  5. A report presenting your design, which should include:
    1. description of your analysis, demonstrating how the analysis informed your design; your drawings;
    2. a description and the results of your tests; and
    3. a description of the design process used (any from Cross (2000)).

Process description

Your group will collaborate on the design, so organize yourselves, early. You will need to have regular meetings! Here are some milestones you can use to manage your project.

Week 1: clarifying design requirements

Usually, the customer doesn’t know exactly what they want or won’t communicate it clearly enough to determine whether or not your design will meet their expectations. Use the first week to clarify what the customer wants. You should compile a list of specific (usually quantitative, testable) requirements for the design. After reviewing the design project description, submit questions to me and I will answer them. I’ll compile them in the “Q and A,” below so everybody sees them.

Weeks 2-3: brainstorming and sketching

During this phase, you’ll brain- storm creative ways to meet the design requirements. Everything’s on the table. Sketch designs rather roughly, not worrying too much about specifics, just yet. You might need to do some preliminary anal- ysis or testing of the situation before deciding on the most promising design concepts. By the end of this period, you should have a pretty good idea about the design concept you’ll pursue.

Weeks 4-8: analysis and drawings

Start to analyze your design concept with an eye toward guiding the it to a specific design with dimensions, materials, etc. There may be some questions as-yet undetermined, like a specific dimension or material, that will require testing at this point or even some options for prototype testing.

Weeks 9-11: first prototype

Your best design candidate should be built. Prototypes aren’t a final product, but they should be as close as possible, especially for testing purposes.

Week 12: testing

Set up experiments that further help guide the design. Sometimes the experiments will directly test the design requirements, but

Week 13-14: prototype and testing iteration

Probably your tests will further guide your design. Augment your prototype accordingly and re-test. Repeat, as necessary.

Week 15-16: report writing

This will take time! Consider getting this started earlier in the term. Collaboration tools like Google Docs are recommended. Everybody contributes to the report!

You will submit a Final Report and a demonstration video (details below).

Final Report submission format

Your report should be sumbitted to Moodle as a single PDF file and a video file (either the file itself or a url thereto).

ME Seminar Podcast

The ME Seminar (video) Podcast, hosted by Dr. Picone, features SMU ME alumni and faculty. The following episodes are available on YouTube. The YouTube playlist for the podcast is below.

Individual episodes with corresponding bio’s are below.

Episode 1: featuring Mr. Jeremiah Enright

Mr. Enright (SMU BSME 2016, MME 2018) is an Avionics Design Mechanical Engineer at Blue Origin in Kent, Washington, which describes itself on its LinkedIn page as follows.

Blue Origin was founded in 2000 by Jeff Bezos with the vision to enable a future where millions of people are living and working in space to benefit Earth. Blue believes we must protect Earth by moving heavy industries that stress our planet into space, and enable humanity to access space to expand, explore, and find new energy and material resources. Then we can see a dynamic and abundant future for our grandchildren’s grandchildren. There is no plan B for Earth.

To enable this future, we must build a road to space to lower the cost of getting there. Blue is working on this today by developing operationally reusable launch vehicles that are safe, reliable and highly available. Every launch vehicle is designed for human spaceflight from the beginning and able to ferry payloads to space. Join the mission to build a road to space – step by step ferociously.

He is a U.S. Navy veteran of seven years, spending the majority of his service overseas, which led to him owning a small business in Spain. He graduated from Saint Martin’s University with a BSME in May 2016 and received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering in August 2018 from the same university. During his junior and senior years at St. Martin’s he interned as a mechanical engineer for Intel Corp. at their DuPont campus. After receiving his BSME he began work as a Mechanical Design Engineer, and later as a Project Manager, at The Robbins Company. He recently accepted, and currently hold, a position as Avionics Design Mechanical Engineer at Blue Origin.

During his time in the Navy he was fortunate enough to work on a wide variety of equipment giving him the chance to investigate a number of unique equipment failures and troubleshoot and repair the root cause of said failures. He believes his time as a technician makes him a better engineer because he has experienced what works well and what doesn’t, as well as what is easy to maintain and fix, and what is not. The Navy also gave him great experience in leading personnel and projects, managing deadlines and tight schedules, as well as working in high stress situations.

Between 2013 and 2018 he attended Saint Martin’s University in pursuit of a BSME and MME. During this time, he found that he had a great interest in hands-on classes, such as labs and computer-based classes, as well as design and analysis classes. His favorite subjects were Fluids and Advanced Fluids, Gas Turbine Power, Mechatronics, System Analysis and Design, Robotics and Automation, Parametric Solid Modeling, and Engineering Computer Application. He excelled in group projects and labs ranging from three-hour long labs to a yearlong senior design project, with each group usually consisting of three to five people.

Between his time in the Navy and attending school he owned and operated a restaurant in Spain. He was in charge of the day-to-day operations, maintaining the financial records, website updates and maintenance, as well as the inventory and logistics. He would regularly hold meetings and training for his seven employees where we would brainstorm new ideas and promotions to help improve business. He would also train new employees on the daily operations and old employees on new equipment and policies. This was all done while not only learning the ins and outs of the restaurant business, but the Spanish government as well.

During the last year and a half of his undergraduate degree he was employed at Intel Corporation as a mechanical engineering intern for the Data Center Group. During his time there he developed many skills that have been extremely valuable to his career. Intel allowed him the freedom to explore, develop, and implement unique engineering solutions to problems which his team faced. He experienced a great number of engineering meetings, brainstorm sessions, design reviews, pathfinding exercises, and regular project update meetings. He became more fluent with 3D CAD solid modeling and had hands-on experience with test equipment not available in school, such as the Instron, OMM, VNA, and TDR. From being one of only two people trained to use the Instron, he was able to design, prototype, and implement products to perform unique tests for several different design teams. He was regularly required to work with many other engineers as they researched and developed new technologies. His day was split between the office and the laboratory. In the lab, he interpreted test procedures, prepared test samples, conducted experiments, and compiled data. When he returned to the office, he interpreted the data, prepared to present the data to other engineers on the team, and worked on recommendations for the next set of tests. This was all done with limited supervision and direction while attending school full time.

After graduation he began work at The Robbins Company as a design engineer. The company focused on the custom design and production of tunnel boring machines (TBM’s) ranging in diameters of 2.5 m to 15 m and up. Each of their machines were custom designed per customer specifications and geological requirements. Because no two machines were the same, he was regularly required to find solutions to unique problems. As a design engineer he utilized 3D drafting software along with AutoCAD to create models of custom components, systems, and assemblies. He conducted stress and performance analysis of the designed components utilizing engineering calculations and FEA programs. After design and review, he would draft drawings for the accepted design in accordance with current GD&T standards.

A couple of years after being hired at The Robbins Company he was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to be a project manager. As a project manager he was required to follow the TBM from design to delivery. He was often required to deal with issues at a moment’s notice, whether it be design, supply, or customer based. Because the company delivered products all over the world, he was required to travel to remote job sites and manufacturing facilities to oversee production and quality standards and meet with customers. He regularly split time between the office, manufacturing facilities, and assembly shops; with brief stops to customer offices and site locations.

Academic integrity policy

Cheating or plagiarism of any kind is not tolerated and will result in a failing grade (“F”) in the course. I take this very seriously. Engineering is an academic and professional discipline that requires integrity. I expect students to consider their integrity of conduct to be their highest consideration with regard to the course material.

Cheating is academic dishonesty as well as unprofessional for prospective teachers. Do not copy other students' assignments, have someone else write your papers or plagiarize published or unpublished materials, or submit work previously graded by other instructors. See Saint Martin's University Student Handbook. Students will be graded not only on their academic success, but on professional conduct as well. Students who fail to show professionalism in their academic or personal conduct (e.g. constant tardiness, excessive absences, and/or other unprofessional behavior) may earn a lower letter grade than the total of semester accumulated points, or may even earn a failing grade.

Access and accommodations

Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Support Services for Students (DSS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DSS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DSS at 360-438-4580 or dss.testing@stmartin.edu or smu.dss@stmartin.edu DSS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions. Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DSS. It is the policy and practice of the Saint Martin’s University to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Sexual misconduct/sexual harassment reporting

Saint Martin’s University is committed to providing an environment free from sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence. There are Title IX/sexual harassment posters around campus that include the contact information for confidential reporting and formal reporting. Confidential reporting is where you can talk about incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. This confidential resource can help you without having to report your situation to the formal reporting process through unless you request that they make a report. Additional information and or reports can be made to the Title IX Team here on campus through the Dean of Students – Ms. Melanie Richardson, Associate VP of Human Resources – Ms. Cynthia Johnson, Public Safety – Mr. Will Stakelin, or the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Kate Boyle. Please be aware that in compliance with Title IX and under the Saint Martin’s University policies, educators must report incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. If you disclose any of these situations in class, on papers, or to me personally, I am required to report it.

University sanctioned activities

If a student is absent from class due to university sanctioned activities, such as sports, it is the student's responsibility to request that the absence be excused, otherwise, the absence will be recorded as unexcused. Absent students are responsible for catching up with the class, and if any assignments are due on the day of the absence, it is the student's responsibility to turn in the assignments on time (prior to class). Assignments may be submitted as an attachment to email: fumie@stmartin.edu. Please request the policy handout, “Requirement for receiving Excused Absence” on the first day of the class if you think this policy might apply to you.

Center for Learning, Writing, and Advising

The Center for Student Learning, Writing and Advising is an integrated learning assistance program that offers services for students at all levels of achievement in pursuit of intellectual growth and academic excellence! The Center offers peer tutoring, study support, first year/early major advising, and writing support. Please investigate ways in which to support your learning.

COVID-19 Policies

  1. Students and faculty perform self-check for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to class Students and faculty should perform a self-check each day before coming to campus, and stay away from campus if they are ill. Students who are ill should inform faculty. Faculty who are ill should arrange for a communication plan with students if they need to miss class. Faculty are encouraged to give a gentle reminder at the beginning of each face-to-face class that students experiencing symptoms listed on the checklist should elect to remove themselves from campus. Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, or living with/caring for someone diagnosed with COVID-19, should notify the Office of Public Safety.
  2. Support for students who are unable to attend classes for any reason due to COVID-19 (including illness, travel restrictions, and quarantine): Faculty should attempt to make reasonable accommodations for students who are unable to attend classes or complete coursework due to the pandemic. Students adversely impacted by COVID-19 should notify their faculty and academic advisor to arrange for accommodations as soon as they become aware that they will be needed. Another alternative is to use the Saints Care form on the SMU website.
  3. Attendance: This attendance policy consists of two elements. One relates to support of contact tracing efforts throughout this period of COVID-19 potential threats. The second relates to the use of attendance as a course grading element.
    1. For tracking purposes, if needed, in all face-to-face courses faculty should maintain a record of attendance throughout the semester. The attendance needs to be taken by voice call or faculty recognition of students attending each individual session. Records should be kept via the Self-Service attendance feature or some other record the instructor maintains and can produce on demand should an inquiry be necessary for tracing purposes. Attendance should not be taken by passing around an attendance sheet or having students sign in as they enter the classroom as this handling could compromise attendees.
    2. In an effort to support students who are considered high-risk or vulnerable as defined by public health officials and/or are unable to attend due to concerns about illness, campus safety, or need to care for familial obligations, attendance should not be used as a grade element during the Fall or any subsequent semesters affected by continuing COVID-19 requirements.
  4. Face Covering: The university will follow Washington state policies regarding face mask exemptions and requirements: https://coronavirus.wa.gov/information-for/you-and-your-family/face-masks-or-cloth-face-covering Employees, students, and visitors must wear fabric or disposable surgical-style masks that cover their nose and mouth when they are inside university buildings, and when they are outdoors in situations where social distancing of at least six feet is not possible. In some cases, plastic that shields nose and mouth can be substituted for a fabric mask. Face masks must be worn at all times when inside any campus building, except when alone in an enclosed room, such as an office or enclosed study room, or while participating in activities in which a face mask or shield cannot practically be worn, such as when eating and drinking or playing a musical instrument or singing, as part of work. Community members should make every effort to eat and drink only when appropriately distanced from others, or in designated areas. A limited number of classrooms that contain plexiglass barriers in the podium area will allow the instructor to remove their mask, as long as they remain behind the plexiglass barrier. Students must wear masks in classrooms at all times. Prior to stepping beyond the barrier the instructor must re-mask. It is the responsibility of all of the campus community to address students and others on campus who are not following the mandate for face masks. Any student, instructor or visitor who is not wearing a mask will be directed to: (1) the Office of Public Safety or another designated location for a disposable mask; or (2) Public Safety, Disability and Support Services (DSS), or Human Resources to clarify the guidelines and need for compliance. All exemptions must be cleared in advance, similar to other classroom accommodations, with Disability and Support Services Office, or the Human Resources Office. Designated locations for masks: • Public Safety (2nd Floor Old Main) • JBLM: Night Monitor in Stone Education Center Kiosk • Looking into additional locations (perhaps library and rec center)
  5. Social Distancing in the Classroom: Faculty, students, and guests must maintain minimum physical distancing whenever possible of six feet between all on-campus personnel, including with visitors, and where physical distancing cannot be maintained, implement administrative or engineering controls to minimize exposure.
  6. Classroom arrangement: Desks and tables will be placed in a fixed manner to allow for a minimum of six feet between students seated in their desks, and from the faculty leading the class. Desks may not be re-arranged or shifted. When directing students into smaller discussion or work groups, faculty need to ensure that students maintain the six-foot physical distancing standard. Students also need to continue to use PPE (cloth facial coverings or face shields) during these activities. Recognizing that use of small group activities while enforcing physical distancing may have an impact on classroom volume, faculty are encouraged to take this into consideration when planning classroom activities.
  7. Passing out/collecting paper materials: Faculty should avoid distributing and collecting “handouts” or printed materials by hand. Ideally, the materials are uploaded to the class Moodle site before class. Some classes may need to have students bring digital devices to class. Exceptions will be made for tests that cannot be delivered electronically. When tests are hand-administered and hand-collected, faculty and students should take precautions to reduce the risk of transmission. For example, faculty may wish to use disposable gloves while handing out and collecting tests. Students should not pass tests to other students. Students and faculty may wish to use hand sanitizer before and after handling tests.
  8. Cleaning: Classrooms and laboratories will be cleaned and disinfected regularly and thoroughly by custodial staff. However, because many people will be using these spaces throughout the day, students and faculty should protect themselves by disinfecting the area and objects they will come into contact with. Students and faculty should also be considerate of others and clean up and disinfect their work area as much as possible before they leave the room. a. Upon entry into the classroom, faculty and students should disinfect surfaces in their immediate area where they will be sitting: chair, stool, desk, table, computer workstation, etc., using the appropriate cleaning products available in the classroom as follows: i. Copy machine/computer screen/smartboards: screen cleaning solution ii. Other surfaces, including keyboard/mouse: disposable wipes (e.g., Clorox wipes); iii. Used wipes should go in the garbage receptacles provided in the classroom b. Special instructions for laboratories: department-specific laboratory cleaning and disinfecting protocols must be followed. In addition, students and faculty should disinfect their work area upon arrival, as indicated above c. Before leaving the classroom, faculty should disinfect the whiteboard, computer/electronic equipment, and other surfaces they have touched (faculty will be provided with their own whiteboard markers and erasers material) d. Sanitizing stations will be available at building entrances and exits, as well as other designated areas. Students and faculty are encouraged to wash hands frequently and/or carry their own hand sanitizer. Note: each classroom will have a cleaning/disinfecting kit with appropriate solutions and applicators (spray bottle, sanitizing wipes, towels, hand sanitizer). Faculty and students are encouraged to also bring their own hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes.
  9. Food and beverages: Because consuming food and beverages require removal of the mask, no food or beverages can be consumed in the class. If students or faculty must drink water or eat during class, they should step outside the classroom. Faculty may wish to consider giving refreshment breaks during courses that meet longer than 50 minutes.
  10. Storage of personal items (jackets, bags, umbrellas, etc.): Items such as backpacks, bags, umbrellas, and articles of clothing, should be kept in areas close to their owner. Shared lockers or common storage areas should not be used since these areas could lessen social distancing. Spaces under student chairs or desks are the best places to store these types of items.
  11. Emergency drills and events (fire, active shooter, etc.): Continue training opportunities and exercises. The COVID-19 environment provides trainers a real-time opportunity for training students, faculty, and staff.
  12. Compliance: Compliance with these policies is covered by regulations stipulated in the university contract signed by students. Students who violate these regulations repeatedly or egregiously may be referred to the Dean of Students.

Correlation of course & program outcomes

In keeping with the standards of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, each course is evaluated in terms of its desired outcomes and how these support the desired program outcomes. The following sections document the evaluation of this course.

Desired course outcomes

Upon completion of the course, the following course outcomes are desired:

  1. Students will demonstrate an ability apply engineering design principles to complete basic engineering tasks.
  2. Students will demonstrate an ability to work effectively in groups in design activities.

Desired program outcomes

In accordance with ABET’s student outcomes, our desired program outcomes are that mechanical engineering graduates have:

  1. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve complex engineering problems by applying principles of engineering, science, and mathematics
  2. an ability to apply engineering design to produce solutions that meet specified needs with consideration of public health, safety, and welfare, as well as global, cultural, social, environmental, and economic factors
  3. an ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences
  4. an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts
  5. an ability to function effectively on a team whose members together provide leadership, create a collaborative and inclusive environment, establish goals, plan tasks, and meet objectives
  6. an ability to develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, analyze and interpret data, and use engineering judgment to draw conclusions
  7. an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies.

Correlation of outcomes

The following table correlates the desired course outcomes with the desired program outcomes they support.

desired program outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
desired course outcomes 1