MAE 156A Syllabus

Fundamental Principles of Mechanical Design I

Fall 2020

For Fall 2020, please consult the canvas website for syllabus and course schedule

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.


  • Typically two per week, one for lecture and one for lab.
    • Lecture homework typically due at midnight 1-week from assignment. 
    • Section (aka Lab) assignments are due at the beginning of your lab section in person. 
  • Completed in report format, discuss your answers and explain your solution as needed.
  • Graphs must be generated from Matlab or similar plotting program (not hand drawn). 
  • Assignments will require electronic turn in via gradescope.
  • Show all work and include a cover page. Include all plots and answer all questions.
  • 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. 

Engineering Staff:

    • Chris Cassidy, ccassidy@ucsd.edu, Design Studio in EBU2-315
    • Stephen Roberts, steveroberts@ucsd.edu, Electronics Shop in EBU2-328
    • 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

    Lab Locations:

    • Design Studio, EBU2 RM 315
    • Mechatronics Lab, EBU2 RM 311
    • Machine shop, EBU2 RM B35
    • Electronics Shop in EBU2 RM 328 

    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.

    OSD Accommodations

    Students requesting accommodations for this course due to a disability must provide a current Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) letter issued by the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) which is located in University Center 202 behind Center Hall.  Students should present their AFA letters to Faculty (please make arrangements to contact me privately) and to the OSD Liaison (Sandra de Sousa - EBU2-Rm.169) in the department at least two weeks prior to an exam to ensure that accommodations may be arranged.

    Contact the OSD for further information:

    T: 858.534.4382

    E: osd@ucsd.edu

    W: http://disabilities.ucsd.edu