A Conceptual Mechanism Design Activity for an Introduction to Mechanical Engineering Course
A conceptual design activity is presented in this paper to introduce freshman students to motion transmission with simple gear train mechanisms. The activity requires students to select components from a catalog and perform kinematic simulations using CAD software. The activity described in this paper was implemented in an introduction to mechanical engineering course but it could also be deployed in an upper-level, undergraduate mechanisms course. The activity was successfully administered to a class of 221 students during the Spring 2017 semester but can be administered to smaller classes as well. A description of the activity is presented along with a discussion of the resources and personnel required (instructors and teaching assistants). The activity is considered simple to implement, requiring only a computer station with CAD software available in most engineering schools. Continuous improvements to the project are made based on faculty observations and assessments, as well as a survey administered to the students.