Course Description

University of California, Davis
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Mechanical Design - EME 185A/B
Winter 2019, Lecture: T 3:10PM-4:00PM, Studio: A02 R 3:10PM-6:00PM, A03 F 10:00AM-12:50PM
CRN: A02 54981, A03 54982
Spring 2019

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 studio 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 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.

Course Objectives

After completing the course, students will provide a mechanical design solution to an arbitrary external client that meets their needs under set of real constraints. To do this, students will have to utilize much of the knowledge, skills, and tools they have learned throughout the curriculum in addition to new knowledge, skills, and tools developed during the class. To meet the primary objective, students will also be able to:

  • identify the needs of an arbitrary client and translate those into engineering specifications
  • utilize a variety of techniques to generate and select appropriate designs
  • justify design decisions with analysis, simulation, and/or physical testing and experimentation
  • plan, organize, and schedule activities to meet team milestones and goals
  • collaboratively write technical memos and reports that effectively communicate engineering work to a variety of audiences
  • collaboratively develop and present technical materials via small meetings and formal public and private presentations
  • solve a real engineering problem specified by someone else

These objectives support the following ABET Educational Student Outcomes for the Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautical Science and Engineering Programs:

  1. an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering
  1. 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 sustainability
  2. an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams
  3. an ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems
  4. an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility
  5. an ability to communicate effectively
  6. the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context
  7. a recognition of the need for, and an ability to engage in life-long learning
  8. a knowledge of contemporary issues
  9. 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 [1])

It is recommended to have taken:

  • ENG 003, CMN 001, or CMN 003
  • Upper division composition
[1]Note that EME 165 is only offered in the Fall and Spring. The instructors generally approve any petition to waive EME 165 as a co-requisite as long as the student does not select a project in EME 185 that requires a background in thermal related engineering to succeed.


Instructors Teaching Assistants
Steve A. Velinsky
A01 Primary Instructor
Stephanie Fung
Jason K. Moore
A02/A03 Primary Instructor
2095 Bainer Hall
Scott Kresie
Ian Garretson
Gregory Bales

Time and Location

The winter lecture meets on Tuesdays from 3:10 to 4:00 PM in California Hall 1100 [2]. The A02 studio sections will meet on Thursday from 3:10 to 6:00 PM and the A03 studio sections will meet on Friday from 10:00 AM to 12:50 PM, both in the MAE Design Studio (Bainer 2071).

The spring meetings will be scheduled during the winter quarter.

Attendance is required both quarters. If you have any conflicts with the schedule you must tell the instructor by email in the first week of class each quarter (emergencies will be the only exception). If you have to miss class due to an emergency you need to let the instructors know before class and provide a doctor's note or other relevant documentation for the emergency the next time you attend class.

[2]Note that California Hall is a new building and not on all maps yet. It is just south of Asmundon Hall.

Office Hours

Instructor Office Hours

Jason's winter office hours are Wednesday 11 am - 12 pm and Friday 2 pm - 3 pm in Bainer 2095. His spring office hours are TBA. For Jason's office hours, book a time slot for your team at least 24 hours in advance via: [3] If you can't make the regular scheduled office hours, check Jason's work calendar for an open time slot between 8AM and 6:00PM on weekdays and email him with a request for a meeting.

[3]This is necessary to give teams exclusive time with the instructor.

TA Office Hours

In the winter quarter, email the TAs to request a meeting. In the spring quarter, book a meeting with the the TAs via via You must book the meeting 24 hours in advance.

TA Office Link
Scott Kresie Hickey Gym 276
Ian Garreston Bainer 1125
Gregory Bales Bainer 2071

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 majority of 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]

The textbook is optional, but you should have at least one copy per team for reference purposes. 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

You will receive a single grade for EME185A and EME185B (total of 8 units) that will be reported to you via the registrar at the end of the spring quarter. After the winter quarter your grade will show as "IP" until the end of the spring quarter. All of the work in this class is graded per group, with each team member receiving the same grade as the group but your peer evaluations will affect you individual grade.

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  
Memos 5%
Project Proposal Report 10%
Preliminary Design Report 15%
Midterm Progress Report 10%
Final Design Report 20%
Preliminary Design Review 10%
Final Design Review 15%
Presentation 5%
Poster Presentation 5%
In class 5%
Project Success Will modify the team grade up or down
Peer Evaluations Will modify individual grade up or down
You will turn a team generated memo approximately once every two weeks in the first quarter.
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, such as quizzes, that will count towards your grade and you will be expected to attend the sessions and meetings.
Project Success
The instructor reserves the right to adjust the team's grade based on whether the project was successful at meeting the clients needs and whether the group completes their goals.
Peer Evaluation
You will evaluate your teammates' work on the project multiple times in the course and this evaluation may modify your grade up or down relative to the group score.


We will make use of Canvas for the course. Log in to with your Kerberos ID and passphrase then select EME 185A A02 WQ 2019.

We will be using several features in Canvas:

This will be my primary communication avenue to you. These announcements will be forwarded automatically to your UCD email address. You are expected to read these either through your email program or on the Canvas website.
The electronic assignments will be distributed and collected here.
This discussion board is the first place to ask questions about the class.
Your grades and basic stats on your relative performance will be available as the course goes along.
Copyrighted and private files, documents, and other resources will be available here for download. The rest will be available for download on this website.
There will be quizzes associated with the weekly readings.


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' email inboxes. So here are some simple rules to follow with respect to communication:

Canvas Discussions
This is the first place to ask questions. Use this forum 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 number of times a question has to be answered and allows both students and instructors to collectively answer questions.
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 AIO for the meeting. You will get a chance to meet with your instructors every week.
Office Hours
The primary instructor will hold office hours in which you can schedule 30 minute blocks 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.