MAE 156A Syllabus

Fundamental Principles of Mechanical Design I

Fall 2017

Class Overview:

Fundamental principles of mechanical design and the design process. Application of engineering science to the design and analysis of mechanical components. Initiation of team design projects that culminate in MAE 156B with a working prototype designed for a real engineering application. 

The class website will be used to convey all important class information and communication from the instructor.  Homework assignments, sample solutions, class notes and demonstrations will be posted on this website.


  • Homework: 25%
  • Mechatronics Project open-loop: 20%
  • Mechatronics Project closed-loop: 15%
  • Midterm: 20%
  • Sponsored Project: 20% 
  • Peer Review will be implemented for the sponsored project team and will weight the team score.
Late Assignments
  • Late assignments will be penalized by 20% and will not be accepted more than 2 days late.
  • Assignments will be considered late 5 minutes after the start of the lecture or lab when they are due.


  • Typically two per week, one for lecture and one for lab.
    • Lecture homework due at the beginning of lecture. 
    • Section (aka Lab) assignments are due at the beginning of your lab section. 
  • Completed in report format, discuss your answers and explain your solution as needed.
  • Homework and all graphs must be printed
  • Show all work and include a cover page. Include all plots and answer all questions.
  • At end of report, include an appendix with printouts of matlab code used to generate your results.
  • Any questions on grading should be raised within one week of grades posting
  • In any assignment, credit to teammate and outside contributions should be noted.
  • Keep copies of all assignments turned in, you will need results for future assignments. 

Midterm: TBD

Sponsored Project Finals Week Risk Reduction Presentation: Thursday 12/14 8-11AM                          

Class Meeting Times:

Tuesday and Thursday, 3:30-4:50, Pepper Canyon 122

Instructor and TA Contact Information


Nick Gravish, PhD
Office Hours: By Appt.
Location:EBU-II, Room 280

Jason (Mingsong) Jiang

TA Office Hours: By Appt.
Location: EBU2 311

Mechatronics Tutors

Machine Shop Tutors
Eric Cahill

Design Studio Tutor

Engineering Staff:

  • Chris Cassidy, ccassidy@ucsd.edu, Design Studio in EBU2-315
  • Stephen Roberts, steveroberts@ucsd.edu, Electronics Shop in EBU2-
  • Thomas Chalfant, tchalfant@ucsd.edu, Machine Shop in EBU2-B31
  • Ian Richardson, irichardson@eng.ucsd.edu, Machine Shop in EBU2-B31
  • Greg Specht, gspecht@eng.ucsd.edu, EBU2-329

Meeting Locations:

  • Lecture Hall, EBU 583
  • Electronics Lab, EBU2 RM 311
  • Machine shop, EBU2 RM B35
  • Electronics Shop in EBU2 RM 

Design Studio Working Hours

A schedule of when the Design Studio is open for general use is posted outside of the door.

In general, it will be open during normal business hours Mon-Fri. The studio can only remain open if there is engineering staff present, and sometimes they get called away to take care of other lab duties. Therefore, sometimes the Design Studio may be closed during normal business hours. 

The studio will remain open during TA office hours, at which times Design Studio assistants have been scheduled to keep the fabrication area open.

ACMS Lab Access

You can find the door code to the ACMS computer labs in EBU2 (203, 205, and 239) by using the on-line Account Lookup link under Tools at http://acms.ucsd.edu . Your will need to click on the details button for the course specific account.

Dec 28, 2015, 11:01 AM