Statement of Purpose:

Most engineering science courses teach fundamental knowledge and quantitative theories. M&AE 2250 is a different type of course, one focused on design. Design has no unique path of progression or definitive ‘rules’ – each design task may follow different methods of approaching the problem. You will learn the values and priorities that help you create and select solutions that meet customer specifications with constraints given by manufacturability.  You will cultivate an ability to work with teammates and to function in a project having ‘fuzzy’ objectives.  Design education is challenged by a qualitative nature, a wide-ranging technical content and personal preferences of individual designers.

Overall, MAE 2250 should

• Stimulate original thinking and creativity;

• Integrate engineering knowledge with personal experience in multi-disciplinary applications;

• Foster an understanding of the unstructured nature of design;

• Provide practice in problem definition and solution synthesis;

• Provide training in graphical thinking and communication;

• Introduce fabrication methods necessary for practical implementation of designs;

• Introduce critical economic evaluation of design concepts.

You will experience a comprehensive “Product Realization” process.  You will design and produce devices, systems or processes to meet “customers’ needs,” including considerations of performance, cost, manufacturing, marketing, etc. You will interact with others and apply design methodology. This course is built around design projects, not homework or exams. These design experiences will simulate real-world engineering practices and include system/project approaches, teamwork, and graphic and oral communication.

Course Objectives:           

To introduce the product realization process

To explain and apply mechanical design methods

To provide group interaction experiences

To design and manufacture mechanical devices

On completion of the course, students should

Š  Be familiar with the product realization process and its documentation. (ABET c).

Š  Be able to formulate and solve simple models to analyze a design. (ABET a & e)

Š  Appreciate wider design issues such as ethics, liability, safety, and product disposal. (ABET f).

Š  Be familiar with basic communication techniques (written, oral). (ABET g).

Š  Be familiar with basic tools of design and manufacturing such as CAD and machine tools. (ABET k).

Š  Be cognizant of safety in manufacturing.

Š  Function effectively in a team. (ABET d).

Š  Gain an appreciation for analytical courses to follow MAE 2250.

There will be three main projects in this course: (i) you will manufacture a metal object in the Emerson Shop from a specified set of drawings, (ii) teams of four or five students will design, analyze and build a water pump, (iii) the same teams will pursue and open-design project to fulfill an identified consumer need.

Staffing and office hours:

For list of faculty and staff by section (with NetIDs) see TA Coverage page.

TA Office Hours will be held in the Taylor Studio or in Emerson.

Instructor office hours are held in 236 Thurston, one hour immediately after class.


Course information and handouts will be posted on the site for download.


For a tentative schedule of topics and activities, see week-by-week schedule


      Assigned as scheduled by the Registrar.

      All labs will meet in the Taylor Design Studio, 265 Upson. Sometimes, some of the students will walk over to Emerson.

Switching Sections:

Laboratory sections can only be changed if the following conditions are met:

(1) you find a “partner” in the desired lab section to swap with.

(2) BOTH of you together meet with Nanette Peterson (Upson 108) to implement the switch.

(3) In that meeting, Nanette will give you a signed form to present to your new TA.

Taylor Design Studio:

Taylor design Studio will be open for sections and additional office hours. See contacts page.          

Emerson Shop:      

The Emerson Shop is open for regular sections and suring additional hours.  No food or drinks. Closed shoes, no loose clothing, loose jewelry, or loose hair.

No students may leave the lab until everything is cleaned up in either Emerson or the Design Studio. Clean-up will start 15 minutes before the scheduled end of lab section and continue until completed. Failure to clean-up will result in loss of shop privileges.

Consult Emerson Shop Rules and Emerson Machining Guide for more information.


Your final grade will be determined from the class activities as follows:


Shop practice (Lamp)                            10%

CAD Project                                           10%

Open Product Design                             40%

Water pump Project                                    40%

Bonus Homework assignments           5%










Grading in this course is “process grading”, which is quite different from what you are used to. Your grade is based primarily on the process you went through as evident from your participation, design notebook and attendance. A team will receive one grade per project, but this grade can be rebalanced by peer evaluation within the group and by notebook evaluation. The emphasis is on engineering practice activities. Assignments must be turned in to your section TA by beginning of section on the due date. Late assignments will be penalized 5% per 24H late. No credit will be received for assignments turned in more than a week late.

Final exam material will cover textbooks Budynas & Nisbett chapters 7-17 and Dieter & Schmidt, as well as material covered in class (see posted lectures).

Laboratory Fee: 

Laboratory fee will be billed to your Bursar’s bill to cover materials and supplies.


Lab attendance is essential to an active experiential learning course. Absence will be penalized by reducing your final course grade by 5% for each laboratory missed.  Missing 3 or more laboratory sessions will result in an automatic ‘F’. Many lab meetings will start with a group exercise requiring your attendance. If you are late to any lab or shop activity, your grade will be reduced by 2% for each such lateness.

Lecture attendance is recommended but not mandatory.


Improper, irresponsible or unsafe behavior will result in loss of laboratory privileges in both Emerson and the Design Studio. Due to the high fabrication content of this course, this policy will be strictly enforced. Grades may also be used to penalize safety. Safety is so important that a serious infraction is an automatic ‘F’ in the course.

Before working in the Emerson Shop, you will be required (1) to read the “Emerson Shop Rules” and the "Introduction to Machining Practices” found on the Course website and (2) to turn in your signed “Machine Shop Contract” found at the end of the Shop Rules as evidence that you read and understand these.

Project Notebooks:

Project notebooks are an essential part of design realization and are required. Project notebooks (one per team) will be uploaded to CMS at the end of every week for grading and feedback. At the end of each project, the project report will be a significant portion of your grade.


Shigley’s Mechanical Engineering Design (Budynas & Nisbett)

Engineering Design (Dieter & Schmidt)

Other useful references have been placed on reserve at the Engineering library or are available in the Taylor Design Studio, notably:

   Mechanical Design Process, Ullman, McGraw Hill

   Power Transmission Handbook

   Mechanism and Mechanical Devices Handbook, Chironis & Sclater, McGraw Hill

   Beer and Johnson: Mechanics of Materials, 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill (1992).

   Gere, Mechanics of Materials - Fifth Edition.

Roark's formulas for stress and strain / Warren C. Young, 6th ed, New York : McGraw-Hill, c1989

Academic Integrity

Students are allowed to share ideas but not written work, except team-project work within the same team.

Students may not copy any part of someone else's work (including from other students, external sources, previous years, the Internet, etc.) unless they explicitly mention the source and provide a citation, and then they will be judged by their added value compared to the source. If copying text verbatim, put copied text in quotes and cite source. If paraphrasing someone else's idea, cite original source. Copying without attribution is considered plagiarism and a violation of academic integrity.

Students with Disabilities

If you are a student with a documented disability on record at Cornell University and wish to have a reasonable accommodation made for you in this class, please see the instructor immediately.