What is the best mini design project for a second year mechanical engineering student?
First I’ll suggest a couple good web sites for ideas:
The idea of projects for first-year students is to think ahead toward what you may be studying later. You are not necessarily looking for a “wow factor,” but something that will help challenge you, inspire you and learn about the field you choose. For an mechanical engineering student, you might want to consider the following factors in choosing:
- Look for something that includes mechanical principles. Materials, structure, and systems may certainly be part of it, but you will want to concentrate on the mechanical component.
- Look for something you’re interested in. If you can’t bring some passion to it, it will show.
- Look for something that is original – that is, the
project should be something you have never tried before. This is a learning opportunity. Give yourself permission to fail. When you present the project, figure out why it did or did not work, and explain it – along with what you learned from it.
- Look for something you can own. Be proud of whatever you choose to do. Later on, when someone laughs at the idea, smile back and just say, “It was great, wasn’t it?” That’s the kind of project you want.
Whatever you do, learn from it. And carry whatever you learn on to the next project. Whether you build on previous projects or try something original in each one, the best advice is to “swing for the fences!” (attributed to Donny Deutsche, entrepreneur).