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Academics | Administration | Admissions | A-Z Index | Directories

Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering


EMEC499 Mechanical Engineering


ETME499 Mechanical Engineering Technology


Capstone 2

Fall Semester 2013

TIME & LOCATION:        3:10 pm-5:00 pm Tuesdays, ROBERTS 210


Mr. Robb Larson (MET)
Associate Professor, M&IE
Dr. David Miller (ME)
Associate Professor, M&IE
994-6420 994-6285
306B Roberts Hall 306C Roberts Hall
     Course LINKS:
Semester CLASS Schedule
Project descriptions & Group Assignments
Production Readiness Reviews (PRRs) 
Design Project flowchart
MIE Writing Outcomes Checklist  
MSU Student Code of Conduct and Behavior Expectations
Weekly Memo Word Template  
Executive Summary Format
Technical Addendum format       
Capstone Report Format and Guidelines  for reference
     Machine/Welding Shop LINKS:
Shop Safety Rules       Student Usage Policies and Procedures
Chemical and Material Hazard Awareness  Student User Agreement form
Shop Schedule Fall 2013  CNC Project Application Packet
Machine Shop Refresher Course Training Schedule

There 2 additional refresher courses offered for the machine shop:

         Tuesday 9/17 at  6:00 p.m.

         Wednesday 9/18 at 9:00 a.m.


There is 1 additional welding refresher course: 

         Thursday 9/19 at 11:00 a.m.



Also note that the welding shop is only open during open WELDING shop hours defined on the schedule. WELDING refresher training is required before use! Several groups who indicated a need for welding have not yet been approved.

General Information:
The combined ETME499 (MET) and EMEC499 (ME) course is the second of two consecutive courses in the Mechanical Engineering  Technology and Mechanical Engineering program senior capstone sequence -the culmination of the student undergraduate education experience in each discipline. The capstone courses require students to draw upon all previous coursework and cultivate new skills in order to solve complex design problems associated with an assigned group project.

During the first semester, student teams were tasked with solving & documenting all  details of a complex project, with emphasis on learning and applying the formal process of engineering design, documentation and project management. In the second semester the focus is upon high-resolution prototype fabrication and meaningful, well-documented testing - while continuing to manage the project using industry-standard methodologies.

The schedule and engineering report prepared during Capstone 1 will - in general - guide the tasks encountered during the second semester of the course. A "technical addendum" document is created during this second term that will supplement the first-term formal report, and together these two documents fully define and describe the project - start through finish.  The technical addendum is used to document any changes or deletions, all prototype testing procedures, test results, etc. Formal presentation of results will occur during the Design Fair at the end of the term.

Course Learning Outcomes / Expected Performance Criteria

  • Understand and properly apply the engineering design process to a real-world project provided by an industrial sponsor, including interpretation of customer needs, performing appropriate background research, generating requirements and specifications, identifying and accommodating all system interfaces, exploring alternative solutions, and selecting the optimum solution.
  • Choose and perform appropriate analysis to validate designs
  • Create computer-generated layouts, models, detail and assembly drawings
  • Design components considering available and appropriate manufacturing techniques
  • Anticipate problems utilizing failure modes analysis methods, and use the results to design failsafe systems
  • Utilize industry-standard project management methodology including the use of task lists, gantt charts, critical path methods, electronic communication methodologies, etc. to meet deadlines and enable timely completion of project tasks
  • Interact with sponsors, university faculty, suppliers and industry representatives, and with student peers in a professional and respectful manner
  • Prepare and present professional-quality memos, oral reports, and written reports
  • Be familiar with the design resources and journals available in order to maintain currency with new technology and apply new methods and techniques to design processes and products in industry.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work cooperatively and interactively with others in a team environment to complete a sponsored design project.
  • Demonstrate/Improve ability to utilize the computer to solve engineering problems
  • Demonstrate/Improve ability to make engineering judgments
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the implications of engineering issues and engineering decisions including ethical, societal, environmental considerations
  • Demonstrate an ability to build and/or assemble a working engineering prototype
  • Demonstrate an ability to create a test plan
  • Demonstrate an test an engineering prototype to determine actual system performance, and to compare performance with that predicted
As with the previous Capstone 1 course, No textbook
is specified for purchase specifically for this class. However, during project execution most students will utilize many of the texts from previous classes. Typical reference text needs include a Design Text such as Mott, Spotts, or Shigley: a Technical Drawing book, and a Materials Science text. Some projects will require textbooks in subjects like Thermodynamics, Fluids, Heat transfer, Mechanics of Materials, and Instrumentation. Often the user's guides or operations manuals for various software packages such as LabVIEW, Mathcad, Excel, or Solidworks are important. Your instructor or group faculty advisor may have further recommendations, or may permit you to borrow useful texts to supplement your own books.
The lecture section will meet semi-weekly primarily for the purpose of information exchange. Attendance at scheduled lectures is expected, since course details or assignments may be covered only during the lecture period. Lecture sessions also enable group presentations, appearance by guest lecturers, etc. Tell your instructor in advance  if you know you must miss class. Check the SCHEDULE website frequently for updates or changes.
Design Groups:
In general the student groups that were established last term remain in-place. In some cases, new members will be added. Remember that an important part of the learning experience is to deal with the group dynamics issues that often arise within a group project setting.
Project Sponsors, Faculty Supervision:
Unless otherwise stated, each Project Group retains the faculty advisor and sponsor from last term: Be sure to check in with your project sponsor. All capstone group members must once again coordinate with their assigned group faculty supervisor and schedule a weekly meeting.  These weekly design group "consultation" meetings are expected to last for about 30 minutes to an hour, depending upon topics discussed. Students should come prepared to discuss the status of their project including results accomplished during the previous week and their plans for the coming week. These items are to be summarized in a weekly progress memo which is to be handed to the supervisor at the beginning of each meeting.  The memo initiates discussions and provides a written record of progress and status.

Faculty supervisors are shown on the Project descriptions & Group Assignments page. The supervisor's responsibility is to help direct the efforts of the design team, not to solve the problem for them. The supervisor may suggest alternative approaches to the solution, sources of information the team may have overlooked, strategies for successful completion of the project, etc. Consultation meetings should clarify group member tasks; every team member should understand their responsibility for conducting individual activities during the coming week. Professionalism is expected at all times during the relatively informal consultation meetings: Exemplary preparation, attitude, promptness, thoroughness, and quality of work are expected. Attendance at consultation meetings is mandatory.

Major Capstone 2 Milestones, Reporting Requirements:

1. Project Management Plan
The project management plan is formal, written documentation of the scheme your group will use to ensure timely completion and submission of deliverables, as defined in the section below. Project Management Plans will be due during the second week of class.

2. Production Readiness Review - PRR:
Each group must present project status at the "PRR" session, scheduled early in the term.  Attendees include class members, the instructor and faculty advisor. Project sponsors need not attend, but are welcome if they choose to participate. The purpose of this review is to establish that each group is ready to undertake the "build phase" of their project. No significant fabrication will be permitted until your group has completed this milestone.
Format for the PRR can be found on the link at the top of this page.

3. Prototype Rollout:
All fabrication is expected to be complete by the time of this event: At the rollout, each group will demonstrate that their prototype is functional. Prototype rollout date will be announced in-class, sometime in early November 2012. This event ends the fabrication phase and begins the test phase of your project. Attendees at the presentation will include members of the ME and MET capstone classes, the instructors, M&IE faculty advisors, project sponsors, and any other interested individuals. 

4. Design Fair
Every group will be expected to present their final product at the Fall Engineering Design Fair. Poster boards defining the design features,  project highlights and test results are required. The
date of this fair will be announced in-class; usually the Design Fair occurs during the last week of classes each term.

5. Technical Addendum documentation due at the end of the term provides a written record of any and all changes made to your project since the formal written report was compiled at the close of the previous term. Test results, drawing or design updates, photographs, final project schedules, and any other pertinent documentation is to be included in this document. Format is optional, but professionalism is mandatory in this document.

For each design team, a “group leader” position will again be assigned to an individual, with the position rotating to different group members every few weeks. Leaders are  responsible for keeping each project moving forward and keeping  all group members on-task during their term. Group leader responsibilities include
  1. Ensure that the group has generated and maintains an accurate and up-to-date Gantt chart (schedule) and associated Network diagram (to map interdependencies.)

  2. Ensure that all deliverables are submitted on-time.

  3. Ensure submission of weekly status memos

  4. Ensure submission of any reports, plans, etc. that are due during their time as leader.

  5. Maintain communications with sponsor

  6. After “term” expires, get new leader transitioned and up-to-speed for his/her term

If the Gantt chart/Network diagrams fall behind, or if memos or report segments are late or absent,  the acting group leader’s grade will be docked accordingly!

Project Management.
All students are expected to maintain good organization of their project work during the semester. A new requirement this term is submission of a group PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLAN. The project managment plan is formal, written documentation of the scheme your group will use to ensure timely completion and submission of deliverables including any and all documents, fabrication of parts, presentation of results, etc. Project plans often rely heavily on a Project Schedule in GANTT CHART form

Other elements of successful project management plans might include the use of Google Docs, Drop-boxes, or other methods to  share files electronically. 

Another traditional project management element commonly used by engineers is the Design Journal. A design journal is a permanently bound notebook which contains dated entries of all your responsibilities, agreements, notes, sketches, calculations, doodles, and other records of your thoughts and activities related to your design project.  Benefits of maintaining a journal include;

  • A journal can serve as a central record of project activity and information so important material doesn't get misplaced or lost.
  • A journal serves as the historical record of information, decisions, calculations, tasks and obligations from earlier phases of the project.
  •  Information that is fresh and obvious at first can become "fuzzy" over time: The journal permits accurate recall of this information days, weeks or years later.
  • The journal documents your level of effort, and can be used for time management, budgeting and billing purposes.
  • In case of a legal dispute over design patent rights or product liability questions, a dated, permanently bound journal can be submitted as legal evidence to the court.
  • The journal facilitates and improves communication between design engineers, engineer and supervisor, design group members, and other interested parties.

Other items contributing to good organization include saving a file or binder with printed copies of important meeting notes and email communications, backup disks containing computer files, etc. The journals and other personal documentation elements may be reviewed periodically throughout the semester as a means to enhance communication among team members, advisors, and instructors.

Performance and Grading:

Semester Group leader performance (Individual Scores)

20 pts
Production Readiness Review (start-of-term presentation)  20 pts
Project Management Plan 30 pts
Prototype Rollout 30 pts
Technical Addendum  30 pts
Design Fair 30 pts
 Faculty Advisor input (may overlap some sections, above.) 40 pts


200 pts

Peer Evaluations will determine whether adjustments to the above point totals are necessary, based on the performance of individuals during the term.


While the above grade categories are listed separately, they are in fact inter-related:
For instance, a well-organized and presented report eases the evaluation of design process and results. Good project management skills and procedures help the group to make good decisions and keep on task. And effective teamwork supports group progress in all areas.


The traditional scale (below) will be used for grading, with minor modifications at the discretion of the instructors. (Plus and Minus grading may be used for borderline cases.)

To Earn Letter Grade You must earn  this percentage
A 100%    to 90%
B 89.99% to 80%
C 79.99% to 70%
D 69.99% to 60%
F 59.99% or Below





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