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Design and Manufacturing II

Course Description

The goal of this course is to give students an understanding of the basic engineering principles behind common mechanical systems, as well as how to utilize their engineering knowledge to both synthesize and analyze their own simple mechanical systems and components. At the end of this course, students should be able to do the following, in either a team setting or individually:

  • Design (synthesize) basic mechanical systems (including components such as linkages, cams, bearings, and gears) and mechatronics systems (which integrate electronic control and mechanical components) to satisfy given motion requirements.
  • Perform analyses of the underlying kinematics of a mechanical system to predict behavior and evaluate key mechanical quantities (trajectory, velocity, acceleration, force, etc).
  • Apply appropriate selection criteria to choose standard mechanical components such as gears, bearings and springs.
  • Virtual prototyping of mechanical systems using one or more commercial CAD programs (IDEAS, Unigraphics, ProEngineer or AutoCAD) for performance and/or strength check
  • Test and evaluate the physical prototype of simple machine systems and components for performance and benchmarks
  • Critique and redesign mechanical systems and components for enhanced performance and reliability.


VM250 is the only official prerequisite. You are expected to have: i) a basic working knowledge of elementary mechanics (statics, dynamics, and strength of materials), ii) basic machine shop skills and training on core main shop machinery (mill, drill, bandsaw, lathe).

Machine Shop Training

If lathe or mill will be used to fabricate project designs, a machine shop training should be finished by the student operator. To work on the projects properly, the operator should know the basics of setting proper feed rates and speeds, as well as how to choose the correct tool for a given application. What’s more, students all should practice good shop safety habits, such as proper clothing and safety glasses. Besides the lathe and mill, rapid prototyping machine and laser cutter can also be used for the projects. Specific safety rules should also be strictly followed.
It is important to remember that the machine shop is a shared resource among VM250, VM350, and VM450. Later in the semester, during the prototyping phase of their projects, VM450 will have priority access to the shop.


There are three textbooks used for references in VM350, some chapters are available in protected PDF format:

  • Richard Budynas and Keith Nisbett, Shigley’s Mechanical Engineering Design, 8th Ed., McGraw-Hill, 2007
  • Robert L. Norton, Design of Machinery, 4th Ed., McGraw-Hill, 2008
  • A. G. Erdman, G. N. Sandor, and S. Kota, Mechanism Design: Analysis and Synthesis, 4th ed. vol. I: Prentice Hall, 2001

Course Policy

The chain swing competition
The pole-knocking competition

There will be homework assignments, a close-book in-class midterm, three group projects and an close-book in-class final examination.
During the semester, students will work in four-person teams on three projects:

  1. An electronics project where you will learn how to implement a closed-loop control system
    • This short project will serve as an introduction to designing and building electronic control systems. Students will gain hands-on experience in using a microchip controller, connecting electronic�circuits and writing programs.
    • Goal of this project is to use a controller to control a R/C servo motor to swing a serially connected chain quickly as high as possible.
  2. A simulation project where you will create and analyze a virtual mechanism identical to the one you will build
  3. A mechatronics project where you will create a physical prototype with electrical actuators using the electronic control system
    • Goal of this project is to design and construct a planar mechanism which holds a pole to knock down other poles in a specified sequence.
    • The mechanism will be driven by two or three electrical motors, and the motors’ motions will be controlled by the implemented control system.
    • Once set up, the only control is to push a start button to set the system in motion.
    • Knocking down all the poles in the desired sequence is one success.
    • Teams with fastest success or the lightest mechanism will receive additional bonus.

Some design examples are as fellows.

Mechanism Design Example 1 Mechanism Design Example 2 Mechanism Design Example 3
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