Table of Contents


Two reports will be due during the winter quarter and two reports will be due during the spring quarter:

  1. Project Proposal
  2. Preliminary Design
  3. Midterm Progress Update
  4. Final Design Report

Please note that each report should be standalone. You may refer to earlier reports, but each report should provide adequate information to allow a reader to fully understand what is being presented and why without reading any of the other reports. The reports should be directed to other personnel that may not have detailed knowledge of the project.

Important: Each report must include each section detailed in both the Report Format and the Report Content

Report Format

The reports will be due in PDF format via Canvas by the due dates and times posted in the schedule and on the Canvas assignment. A single report should be submitted by one team member.

See the Report Style Guide for visual explanations of these formatting rules. Feel free to use the document as a template. For report writing tips see the slides from lecture that are available on Canvas. Past reports are available on Canvas Files. These should only be shared among students in the class.

[1]Be sure to either scale layout drawings correctly with legible font sizes or print them in the appendices on larger paper sizes.

Title Page

The title page should include the title, authors, team name, project title, date, course section, and an abstract (<150 words). The abstract should inform the reader what they will find in the report, i.e. what it is about and what it concludes.

Table of Contents

The next page(s) of your report should include a table of contents, list of figures, and list of tables showing a title and page number for all items.

Content Sections

These sections should contain the essential text, figures, tables, etc. to tell your story. This main content should be understandable without having to delve into the optionally provided appendices, e.g. don't refer to figures in the appendix if discussed in detail in the content sections, include the figure (or simpler version of the figure) near the relevant text.


Provide a brief section that describes each author's contribution to the report. This should only be one to two sentences per author. For example: "Carlos was the primary author of the buckling analysis and plan sections, contributed to the introduction, handled organizing and formatting the references, and edited the entire paper."


All text and materials in the paper that were not created by your team must be cited here. Be sure to up-hold copyright laws on any included material or be sure they fall under fair-use. Use any citation style that you prefer that fully communicates the reference, but you must make use of one. Note that URLs do not make adequate citations.


The appendices can be any length and contain details that do not belong in the content section(s). This could include large figures, sketches, layout drawings, 3D renderings, detailed calculations, big tables, short source code snippets, etc. Basically, anything that takes attention away from the main points but provides the details that back up the main content should go in the appendices. Keep in mind that the content sections should stand on their own. Additionally, feel free to link to rich media: videos, websites, demos, etc. In general, software should be delivered as a computer file not printed on pages in the report.

Technical Documentation Explanation and Examples

Layout Drawings

You should refer to a good engineering graphics text for examples of layout drawings. We expect you to create layout drawings for your mechanical, electrical, and architectural designs. A mechanical layout drawing is drawn to scale and must show the shape, size, and position of all parts. It should show how the parts fit together and if they will function properly. All parts should be fully dimensioned using standards for the drawing type. The design details are worked out on this drawing. The designer additionally uses the layout drawing to show and sell his design and ideas to his management; it is used by drafts people to prepare detailed part drawings and an assembly drawing; it is used by manufacturing engineers to determine manufacturing processes and costs although this has been increasingly incorporated into the design process. How detailed should it be? It must be adequately complete so that it can meet the above uses. If it is not necessary to ask how the design works or what a particular part looks like, etc., then the layout is adequate. The ideal drawing package is one that can be passed to the fabricators so they can create your product without having to ask you any questions and it comes back as specified.


  • All drawings should be scaled properly for the paper size. The scale should be noted and if the drawing is printed on the specified paper size, the drawing should be to scale in the printed product.
  • Use standard symbols and styles appropriate for the type of drawing.
  • Have an informative title block and use the same template for all of our drawings.
  • Always include default tolerances, surface finishes, etc.
  • Note all material types on the drawings.
  • Providing more notes is better than providing fewer notes. Always explain anything that standard drawing symbols can't communicate.
  • Use GD&T when basic tolerancing is not sufficient to describe the desired outcome of the part.
  • Do not over define your part with too many dimensions. Use the bare minimum needed to describe the size.
  • Choose dimensions that are most useful for the fabricator that will make your part. You should think about how the part will be made and how the part will be measured.
  • The is not need to make layout drawings for purchased parts. Only make drawings for those things you need to fabricate and assemble.

Bill of Materials

The Bill of Materials or Parts List is a tabular list of all of the parts, components, sub-assemblies, etc. that are needed to manufacture and/or test your design. Both manufactured items and purchased items are included. The list should include part numbers, part names, number required, material, whether purchased or fabricated, and if purchased, the name and part number of the supplier with associated costs. The Bill of Materials is used for such aspects as: insuring that all parts are on hand when production begins, to ensure that detailed drawings are prepared for all components, for planning of the manufacturing process, etc. This document should be able to be provided to a purchaser and they are able to order the parts without having to ask you more details.


Common deliverables for machines are user manuals, maintenance manuals, assembly manuals, etc. These manuals are typically designed for a specific type of user with the jargon and style adjusted for that user.


Report Content

Each report must include the following sections in addition to the sections outlined in the Report Format above.

Report #1: Project Proposal [Due: Friday, Feb 15, 2019]

The primary purpose of the project proposal is for your team to clearly articulate your understanding of the customer's needs and to share your preliminary research findings, concepts, first quarter timeline, preliminary budget, and goals. This story should convince your instructors and sponsors that you have a clear understanding of the needs, have a realistic scope, have a broad set of solution possibilities, and are ready to move forward with design, analysis, and final concept selection.

This document should be shared with your sponsor(s) by email (cc the instructor and TA) for feedback in addition to being turned into Canvas. Be sure to adjust the content to best fit this combined audience.

The main content sections of the report should not exceed 6 pages.

The project proposal should address the following things:

Context and Background
Here, you should introduce your problem in context with respect to your sponsor's work, their broader goals, society, and contemporary issues.
Mission Statement
State and define your problem and objectives as clearly as you can. If your proposal deals with the smaller component of a larger problem, discuss your problems significance relative to the total system.
Identified customer needs
Use this section to show a more detailed view of the identified needs. It is important that you sponsor see that you've understood their needs. Note that you may also have discovered needs that your sponsor didn't explicitly describe, so use this opportunity to share those with your sponsor. Make use of ranked needs tables to document all of your needs. The large superset of needs should likely go in the appendices.
Refined target specifications
List as many design specifications as you can at this time including such aspects as capacities, speeds, size, weight, cost, etc. as well as any other specific and/or general requirements and specifications for your design. You should indicate which needs correspond to the specifications. Make use of the relevant tables in Chapter 6 of the book to present this information. You should include any relevant engineering codes and standards that will have bearing on your specifications.
External concepts and existing solutions
It should be clear that you've "done your homework", i.e. searched for existing solutions and used them to help develop your specifications and concepts. Compare specs from existing solutions to your desired specs. At minimum include a competitive benchmarking table (Ex 6-7).
Initial design concepts
You should have a large number of concepts to share at this point. Be sure to show these off so that your sponsor can see that there are a wide range of possible solutions to their needs. Make use of functional diagrams, concept combination trees, and concept combination tables to organize this information. Discuss and highlight the most promising concepts based on any concept selection you have done. Show how the concepts meet the needs using at least concept screening. You can present a single concept selection if your screening identified one or present your top 3 or so designs if you haven't quite homed in on a solution. At minimum include either a functional diagram (Ex. 7-4, Ex. 10-6), concept classification tree (Ex. 7-7), or a concept conbination table (7-9). At minimum include several concept examples (Ex. 8-3), these can be hand drawn and can be smaller than exmples shown.
Preliminary planning and scheduling
The preliminary plan should give at least a coarse idea of the important milestones you will need to meet for the remaining weeks of the course, i.e. now until ~June 15th. You should include a Gantt chart with the details. Here is an example Gantt chart from a previous EME 185 project.
Preliminary budget
The purpose of the preliminary budget statement is to give a very rough idea of what expected project costs may be for your top designs. This will vary based on your or your sponsor's desire to construct a prototype or run testing. The instructors and sponsors will use this number to start planning resource allocation. A refined budget for a single design will be presented in the final report of the winter quarter.

You may add other information that is deemed necessary to "sell" your proposal. Use your memo as a building block for the proposal. The instructors and sponsors will evaluate your report to determine the size and scope of your project and if the objectives are both well thought out and feasible.

Instruction for viewing in-text feedback can be found in this canvas document.

Report #2: Preliminary Design [Due: Monday, Mar 18, 2019]

The purpose of the preliminary design report is to present your selected design, show that it is highly likely to work and that your goals will realistically be able to be completed by the end of the spring quarter. This document should provide sufficient technical information, engineering analyses, and/or test results to give the instructors and your sponsors confidence the presented solution will meet the sponsors' needs and all of your target specs. Additionally, you will need to clearly state what you plan to accomplish by the end of the course and how you will do that.

Note that your design does not yet have to be complete and polished but the main concepts should be formally described in enough technical detail to make your case. Furthermore, it is not a requirement to have a physical realization of your solution for this class. Your sponsors are aware of this. You can pass the course with high marks by presenting a comprehensive design that is ready to be built, i.e. enough information to pass onto other engineers and/or fabricators. But we encourage you to develop simple prototypes as part of the design process and a final prototype for your sponsor, as you are likely to learn much more by doing so and be better prepared for the future.

The report should cover at least the following topics:

You should introduce your problem in context with respect to your sponsors work and their broader goals. The sponsor's needs should be clearly explained along with the associated target specifications that you've developed from the needs. Your mission statement should be clearly defined with respect to these. The sub-problems you have to solve should be clearly described and how they relate to the main problem. This can also include comparisons of your solution to existing solutions and any relevant literature that helps put your problem and solution into context.
Concept Description
Ideally, you are down to one concept or one plan of action (for computational and physical experiments) that you are ready to move forward with. You should fully describe your design to clearly explain how it functions. The goal is to provide sufficient technical details to get across the conceptual design. For example, how a mechanism will work or how all your parts will fit together in the limited physical space. Be sure to make heavy use of graphical means to communicate the design. The minimal description should be based on the "product architecture" described in Chapter 10 of the book and in class. The system architecture will be presented through preliminary schematics and layout drawings of the design, discussion of the various subsystems, and discussion of the interface between the various subsystems. But you are welcome to present more details of your design if you are further along. At minimum include either an architecture diagram (Ex. 10-7). At minimum include an annotated drawing of your concept (Ex. 8-6).
Concept Justification
Your selected design should have sufficient justification to prove that it is very likely to work. You can prove this in a number of ways, e.g. engineering analysis, simulation, experimental testing, or through simple prototyping. Simple analytical models and tests are sufficient to prove that concepts will likely work. You will be able to refine these during the second quarter to further justify your work. You can also describe your decisions to abandon other design concepts. This helps build your case that your design is the right choice.
You should include a very refined project plan that breaks the remainder of the project timeline into a set of dependent tasks and milestones. Every task should have a duration, due date, its dependencies, and an assignee(s). This information should be presented as a Gantt Chart in addition to some text that explains the high level view of the plan. Here is an example Gantt chart from a previous EME 185 project.

The costs should be refined as much as possible to give a very realistic estimate of what you plan to spend. A refined budget and bill of materials (see definition above) should be included with best estimates of all project costs. Be sure to account for cost overruns, shipping, tax, and any other indirect costs. This bill of materials will be your and the instructors' guide to purchasing.

If your sponsor is not covering the costs (or all of the costs) of your project you will need to include a statement that requests money from the MAE department. You must include the amount of money from any other sources with this request. We will evaluate the requests and try to provide you with your requested amount from the limited available money by the start of the spring quarter. There is no guarantee that you will get what you ask for. This will be based off the amount requested and the quality of your work.

Hazard Analysis
You shall include a hazard analysis of your design using Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) (half page max). Identify the hazards, risks, and implemented controls. Include a concise description within this section of each hazard that can cause an injury and a control for how your team minimizes the hazards. Describe only the highest risk hazards. Include only a concise FMEA table in the report. Extensive tables of your FMEA can be included in the appendix.
The appendices should include any details that support the content of your paper. Note that the report should make complete sense if the appendices are removed. It should include sufficient details that document your work this quarter. This should be highly organized and easy to follow. At this point you can include details of your concept generation and selection process, your full set of needs and specs, CAD renderings, sketches, diagrams, abandoned designs, in-depth tasks lists and charts, extensive bill of materials, etc.

This report should be self contained. Imagine if someone that has never seen your work picks up your report and wants to understand it in depth without you present. Your report should include sufficient information for them to understand your design and justification.

Note that the main content of the report should not exceed 10 pages.

Be sure to utilize your memos, proposal, and critical design review as a basis for your report. Use the feedback from them all to improve the work for this final written presentation of your preliminary design.

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Report #3: Spring Midterm Progress [Due: Friday, May 3, 2019]

The purpose of this report is to update the instructors and sponsors on your progress, outline your deliverables, and to provide us with draft technical documentation for your project.

Note that the main content of the report should not exceed 3 pages but will likely have a large appendix.

This section should describe the deliverables you plan to give to your project sponsor at the end of the quarter. Example deliverables are design reports, prototypes, software, user manuals, technical documentation, manufacturing plans, analyses, etc. At the minimum, you must provide a final design report for the class and the sponsors. If you build a prototype (physical and/or software) you need to provide sufficient documentation so that the sponsor can use or move forward with your design when you are no longer involved.
Progress Update
This section should give us a clear picture of how well you are meeting your schedule. It should show your current progress with respect to your original schedule and any modifications you have now made to the schedule to meet your goal given delays or saved time. Additionally, give an estimate of the likelihood of providing the deliverables.
Engineering Standards
Tell us about any engineering standards that are relevant to your design. For example, if you are designing a car for public roads it should meet SAE standards. Or if you are designing an elevator it should meet ASME elevator standards. See the technical resources page for information (especially the UCD Mechanical Engineering page).
Technical Documentation

This section should provide us with a description and drafts of any of the technical documentation that you plan to create. Examples are:

  • Working drawings of your mechanical and electrical designs. These should include all information needed to manufacture your designs including dimensions, material specifications, assembly diagrams, circuit diagrams, wiring layouts, complete bill of materials, etc.
  • User documentation: This could be a user manual that describes how to use and maintain the product or documentation on how to use software, etc.
  • Test results: The experimental/testing methodology and any results you obtained.

We will provide feedback on this material so that your documentation can be improved for the final report.

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Report #4: Final Design [Due: Sunday, Jun 9, 2019]

The final design report should be a comprehensive report detailing the final design version of your project. It is not necessary to provide information about any prior designs or the process that led to this design. This report should have sufficient information for someone unfamiliar with your project to understand what it is for, how to fabricate it, and how to use it. The report should be self contained.

Be sure to utilize your past memos, reports, and design reviews as a basis for your report. Use the feedback from them all to improve the work for this final written presentation of your design.

Main Content

The main content should be no longer than 20 pages.

Here, you should introduce your problem in context with respect to your sponsor's work, their broader goals, society, and contemporary issues. Your mission statement should be clearly defined with respect to these. The sub-problems you have solved should be described and how they relate to the main problem. This should also include any relevant existing solutions and literature that helps put your problem and solution into context.
Needs, Specifications, and Standards
The sponsor's needs should be explained along with the target specifications that you've developed from the needs. Some of your specifications should be tied directly to the relevant engineering standards you have researched.
Design Description
You should fully describe your design and explain how it functions. The goal is to provide sufficient technical details to communicate the conceptual design to the reader. Point out any features that you feel are novel and unique. The system architecture should be presented through schematics and drawings of the design, discussion of the various sub-systems, and discussion of the interface between the various sub-systems. Be sure to make heavy use of graphical means to communicate these ideas.
Design Justification
This section should present sufficient justification to prove that your final design works, that the needs are satisfied, and that the target specifications and standards have been met. You can justify your design in two main ways: (1) engineering theoretical and computational analysis and (2) demonstration that the design works through experimental testing. You must provide (1) and can optionally provide (2) if your project included a prototype and/or experiments.
In this section, describe how you would or did manufacture your design. Discuss how the design will be assembled and your choice of materials and manufacturing processes. Include any ideas and projections about potential mass production.
This section should list and describe the final, actual deliverables of your project. This should include everything that you are providing your sponsor.
In this section, you can summarize the main innovations that your design offers and reflect on any technical things that should be done differently if the project is carried forward. Point out what are specific attributes that you feel extremely positive about and note aspects that are weaknesses. Discuss any work that you feel still needs to be performed and other changes that would improve the design.


The appendices should include any technical documentation needed to support the main content of your paper. The general descriptions in the main content should be supported by drawings and schematics of the mechanical, software, and electrical systems. Other possible items to include:

  • Mechanical layout drawings
  • Electrical schematics
  • Final bill of materials
  • Supporting calculations
  • Manufacturing process plans
  • User manual
  • Experiment details and results
  • Explanatory code snippets
  • Full set of needs and specs
  • CAD renderings
  • Engineering standards details

You may submit your drawing package (mechanical, electrical, etc) and any manuals you create as separate PDF documents if that makes it easier to compile your final report. For example:

  • PDF #1: Report + appendices
  • PDF #2: Mechanical drawings
  • PDF #3: Usage manual

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