Course Description

University of California, Davis
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Mechanical Design - EME 185A/B
Winter 2016, Lecture: W 1:20-200PM, Studio: A02 T 4:10-7:00PM, A03 W 4:10-7:00PM
CRN: A02 43644, A03 22256
Spring 2016
CRN: 63396, 63754, 63755, 63756, 63757, 63758

Course Philosophy

This course differs from almost all other courses that you have taken at the university in that there is no predetermined list of theories, facts, or physical laws that you are expected to learn and master. The sole objective of the design project course is to provide you with an opportunity to use your own skills and knowledge to solve an engineering design problem. This experience will help you make the transition from school to work; i.e., to bridge the gap between theory and applications.

You are expected to attend every class, to use your own initiative to plan your own outside work schedule, both in class and outside of class, and to complete various major design project phases by their deadlines. Your instructors should be viewed as consultants and not as a taskmasters; they will not direct your work effort or make your decisions, but are there to assist you with technical engineering problems.

In 185A, a one-hour lecture is used each week to present material related to the design process. Additionally, a 3-hour laboratory is used for group activities, supplemental lecture material, and individual group meetings with the instructors. Groups will follow the design process in their respective projects. Groups are expected to meet regularly outside of formal class hours. Groups will additionally meet with their instructors on a regular basis during the quarter for direction, group presentations, and design reviews. Based on the nature of the project, some groups will also meet with industry sponsors on a regular basis. Towards the end of the quarter, sessions will be scheduled for project presentations to the entire class.

In 185B, each group will register for a block of time for both meetings with the instructor and to allow a common time for group meetings. Also, each group will meet weekly with their project's faculty mentor. Additionally, many of the projects will require group meetings with their corporate sponsors, and these are additionally arranged based on everyone's schedules. There will be no formal lecture time scheduled for 185B. During approximately the last week of 185B class, the teams will present a poster at the College of Engineering's Design Showcase.

Student's Role & Responsibility

Each student should view their role as that of an engineer as part of a design team charged with the responsibility of managing and completing a design project. As such you must do whatever is necessary to carry out this responsibility. Specifically, your group must carry a design project from the conception stage through the presentation stage. You are also responsible for all written and oral reports and materials required by your instructor. Some projects may require the fabrication of feasibility test components and/or first generation prototype components. This may be accomplished through a combination of student work in the engineering student faculty shop and/or the corporate sponsor accepting this responsibility.

Instructors' Role & Responsibility

Your instructors mentor have two primary responsibilities. First, they will serve as an engineering consultant to the design project teams. In this capacity, they expect to be kept informed of your project progress, have discussions about design concepts and problems, point out appropriate reference materials, suggest analysis methods, etc. They will not make engineering decisions that they feel are rightly the responsibility of the design project engineers, and they will generally play the role of devil's advocate in your decision making process. Every student should keep in mind that the best time to use your consultant is before your problem becomes unmanageable.

Your instructors' second responsibility is to evaluate your performance and your design solution to the project. This is done by periodic review of your progress (written and/or oral reports) and especially by evaluation of your Final Design Project Report at the end of the second quarter. It should be noted that each project's sponsor will provide feedback that may contribute to final grading as well.


To study and experience the engineering design process using all of the tools developed throughout the curriculum through an industrial-type design project.

ABET Educational Student Outcomes

This course addresses the following Educational Outcomes for the Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautical Science and Engineering Programs:

a. an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
c. an ability to design a system , component, or process to meet desired
   needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental,
   social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability, and
e. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
f. an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
g. an ability to communicate effectively
h. the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering
   solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
k. an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools
   necessary for engineering practice.


You must have Senior standing in EMEC and a C- or better in the following classes:

  • EME 150A
  • EME 165 (may be taken concurrently)

It is recommended to have taken:

  • Communications 1 or 3
  • Upper division composition


Instructors Teaching Assistants
Steve A. Velinsky
A01 Primary Instructor
Tsz Fung
Jason K. Moore
A02/A03 Primary Instructor
2095 Bainer Hall
Farhad Ghadamli
Matthew Lefort

Time and Location

The winter lecture meets on Wednesdays from 1:20 to 2:00 PM in Wellman 2. The A02 studio sections will meet on Tuesday from 4:10 to 7:00 PM in Young 184 and the A03 studio sections will meet on Tuesday from 4:10 to 7:00 PM in Chem 176.

The spring meetings will be scheduled during the winter quarter.

If you have any conflicts with the schedule you must tell me by email in the first week of class (emergencies will be the only exception).

Office Hours

Winter/Spring, Bainer 2095

Jason: R 2-4pm, F 11-1

You must sign up for 30 minutes office hour slots with Jason.


TA office hours are in the CAE lab (design studio side).

Academic Integrity

Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Please visit the Academic Integrity web page from UC Davis Office of Student Judicial Affairs to review the campus' policy on academic responsibility and integrity and read the UC Davis code of academic conduct.


The preparation and readings for the lectures will come from:

Product Design and Development, Ulrich, K.T. and Eppinger, S.D., 5th Edition, McGraw-Hill 2011. ISBN 978-0073404776 [Book Information]

Note that there is also a MIT Open Courseware class that goes with this book. There are a lot of useful materials available.

Assignments & Grades

Grades will be available in the grade book periodically throughout the course along with class statistics. Check the website on a regular basis to gauge your performance. Keep in mind that 15% is deducted per business day late on all assignments.

EME 185A  
Preliminary Design Report 30%
Preliminary Design Review 20%
Project Proposal Report 20%
Memos 15%
Presentation 10%
In class 5%
Peer Evaluation May modify individual grade up or down
EME 185B  
Final Design Report 40%
Final Design Review 35%
Midterm Progress Report 10%
Poster Presentation 10%
In class 5%
Peer Evaluation May modify individual grade up or down
You will turn a team generated memo approximately once every two weeks.
Project Proposal Report
This report will present your proposal in terms of sponsor needs, engineering specs, and possible solutions.
Preliminary Design Report
This report will document your preliminary design.
Midterm Progress Report
This report will document your design and engineering progress mid spring quarter.
Final Design Report
This report will document your final design and/or prototype.
Preliminary Design Review
This presentation will be followed by a critique and discussion of your preliminary design choices.
Final Design Review
This presentation will be followed by a critique and discussion of your final design.
This marketing style presentation will be directed towards your classmates.
Poster Presentation
This poster presentation will be given at the Engineering Design Showcase to sponsors, educators, and fellow students.
In class
There will be a variety of in class activities that will count towards your grade and you will be expected to attend the sessions and meetings.
Peer Evaluation
You will evaluate your teammates' work on the project multiple times in the coure and this evaluation may modify your grade up or down relative to the group score.


We will make use of SmartSite for the course. Log in to with you Kerberos ID and passphrase then select EME 185A A02-A03 WQ 2016 or access the SmartSite through this link:

We will be using several features in SmartSite:

All class announcements will be sent to your UCD email address and be collected here. Check your UCD email and/or this tab regularly during the class for important information.
The assignments will be distributed and collected here.
Course Website
This displays this website within SmartSite.
Your grades and basic stats on your relative performance will be available as the course goes along.
Q & A (Piazza)
Piazza should be used for all questions that everyone would benefit from. Please default to asking questions on Piazza instead of email. Use personal emails only for correspondence that needs privacy.
Private and copyrighted files, documents, and other resources will be available here for download.


This class requires a lot of communication: among your team, with your sponsors, with your mentors, and with the instructors. This can quickly get unmanageable, especially for the instructors. So here are some simple rules to follow with respect to communication:

Smartsite Q&A (Piazza)
This is the first place to ask questions. Use Piazza to ask questions that are general for the class. Try to restructure your less general questions into general ones so you can ask here. This minimizes the # of times a question has to be answered and allows both students and instructors to collectively answer questions. You can post anonymously if needed.
Use email for individualized communication, i.e. for questions about project specifics or other personal needs. Email your TA first before you email the primary instructor. Do not copy any of the instructors into your email conversations among your team or with your sponsors. We are your technical consultants, only email us when you have a specific question that you need help answering. Lastly, all emails to the instructors must prepend "[EME185]" to their subject line.
You will get to meet with the instructors during the studio time. You must prepare an agenda for the meeting. You will get at least 15 minutes of time from your TA and 15 minutes every other week with the primary instructor.
Office Hours
The primary instructor will hold office hours in which you can schedule up to a 30 minute block for your team to meet.
You may schedule an appointment with any of the instructors if all of the above doesn't work for some reason. Use this as a last resort.