Design Projects

Design Projects

ENGR 1110 design projects introduce first-year students to design with a specific consumer in mind. These make-do projects encourage first year students to experiment with design while also keeping a purpose for the project in mind.


Fall 2008:

Tennis Ball Launcher:

As a team you are to design and construct a device that can accurately project tennis balls through a child’s basketball goal (rim diameter approximately 8 inches). The goal to be used will be available for analysis and testing in the ME PC lab (assembly not yet complete). Your device should meet the following specifications:

  1. The tennis ball is to be free of your device at a height of no more than 4 feet above the ground. While in route to the basket, the tennis ball must not remain in extended contact with any other object. The propulsive effect cannot be directly humanly delivered. The source of the energy to be transferred to the ball must be purely mechanical (excludes chemical and electrical energy sources). Note that the energy source can be provided mechanically by the operator so long as the energy is stored in the device prior to transfer to the tennis ball. Thus while you cannot use an air compressor driven by batteries or electrical sources, you could use a hand operated pump. While you could not swing a racket to propel the ball, you could raise some weights which upon release would cause a racket to hit the ball.
  2. The tennis ball so launched is to pass, while traveling in a downward direction, through the basketball goal on a consistent basis. The ball is to do so upon specification of the goal height (4, 5, 6 or 7 feet), the specification of the nearest horizontal distance from your device to the front of the goal (8, 12, 16, or 20 feet), and specification of the angle between the horizontal perpendicular to the backboard and the horizontal target line (0, 30, or 60 degrees).
  3. The competition will be held at the scheduled time of our final at a location to be announced. During the competition you will have a five minute period in which you can launch up to 30 tennis balls. Practice at the competition subsequent to the announcement of the height and distance specifications will not be allowed. A portion of the evaluation of your project will be based on the number of balls that are deemed by the judges to pass through the basket or nearly pass through the basket. In addition to performance, evaluation criteria will include cost of the device and the quality of the workmanship.
  4. The device should be constructed on a budget of $50 or less.

Teams are encouraged to spend time each week working on the project, both as a group and individually. Should you have any questions or difficulties, please discuss with your lab or course instructor at the earliest possible juncture.


Fall 2007:

Learning Experience for Drake Middle School Students: Design a learning experience for middle-school aged children keeping in mind the following criteria:

  • should assist students in achieving one or more learning outcomes as specified by faculty from Drake Middle School.
  • should engage students (sixth and seventh grade level).
  •  should be appropriate for target students.
  • should be easy for teachers to implement with their students.
  • should be safe for all involved.
  • should be suitable for continuing use with subsequent groups of students.

A prototype learning experience should be submitted to Drake Middle School faculty and the instructor. Reactions to the prototype will be provided by the faculty and Instructor within one week of submission of the prototype.


Fall 2006:

Six Pack Ship: Each team will build a boat with zero emissions to carry a six pack of soft drinks across water (25 m loaded and 25 m unloaded) meeting the following criteria:

Make sure the boat doesn’t sink.
The budget should be under $75.
The boat has to carry 24 cans in ten minutes.