Time & Location

    • Lecture designated meeting time Mondays, 3:10-5:00 PM, 
    • Most lectures will be virtual: Online via WEBEX, or recorded lectures/notes accessible via the course D2L Site
    • Assigned room is 339 Leon Johnson Hall for the times we can meet face-to-face

Catalog listing

ME Program  

EMEC 499R. Mech Eng Design Capstone II. 3 Credits. (1 Lec, 1 Rct, 1 Lab) F,S

PREREQUISITE: EMEC 489R or consent of instructor. ME majors only. Senior capstone design experience in Mechanical Engineering. Students implement and test the function of design prototypes, under the guidance of a faculty supervisor.

MET Program 

ETME 499R. Capstone: Mechanical Engineering Technology Design II. 3 Credits. (1 Lec, 1 Rct, 1 Lab) F,S

PREREQUISITE: ETME 489, or consent of instructor. For MET majors only. Senior capstone design experience in Mechanical Engineering Technology. Students implement and test the function of design prototypes, under the guidance of a faculty supervisor.


Robb Larson Associate Professor, M&IE


Craig Shankwitz, Associate Teaching Professor, M&IE

Course Links

Machine/Welding shop Links:


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 2-course sequence is 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 Capstone 1, 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, analysis, 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 Engineering 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 during the Capstone 1 course and further discussed in the section below. Your Project Management Plan must identify the rotation schedule for Group chairman whose responsibilities are defined below. Project Management Plan updates will be collected on a regular basis during Capstone 2.

2. Production Readiness Review - PRR

Each group must review project status in the Production Readiness Review "PRR" exercise, scheduled early in the term. Participants 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 proof 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 for Fall semesters and in April for Spring editions of Capstone 2. 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 Design Fair occurs during the last week of classes each term. The specific date of this fair will be announced in-class.

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.

Group Leader

For each design team, a “group leader” position is to be assigned to an individual, with the position rotating to different group members every few weeks as defined in the Project Management Plan. 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 continue to maintain good organization of their project work during the second capstone semester. The submission of the group PROJECT MANAGEMENT PLAN last semester established the framework for group interactions, tracking timely completion and submission of deliverables including any and all documents, fabrication of parts, presentation of results, etc.

Project managment plans from Capstone 1 are to be updated and maintained on a regular basis. One of the most important elements of Project Management during the fabrication stage is adherance to configuration management procedures - e.g. how changes to your design are planned, implemented, and documented in the engineering drawings.

Another key feature of project plans is a well-maintained Project Schedule in GANTT CHART form, with individual responsibilities for project elements clearly defined and scheduled.

See the Capstone 1 Website for more details on Project Management Plan contents and usage.

Performance and Grading

  • Course grades are determined from points gathered during the term. Points accrue on both an individual and team basis in the following categories.
Point Total 200

Semester Group leader performance (Individual Scores)

20 pts

Manufacturing Quiz  (Individual Scores)

10 pts

Production Readiness Review :
Checklist submission plus Drawing and Mfg. Plan Updates

20 pts

Project Management Planning 20 pts
Prototype Rollout 30 pts
Test Plan and Results 15 pts
Technical Addendum 15 pts 
Design Fair  30 pts 
Faculty Advisor input (may overlap some sections, above.) 40 pts

  • Timely submission of deliverables is key to success. Expect significant point deductions for any work submitted after the due date.
  • 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 instructor. (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

Academic Integrity Expectations

This syllabus, course lectures and presentations, and any course materials provided throughout this term are protected by U.S. copyright laws.  Students enrolled in the course may use them for their own research and educational purposes.  However, reproducing, selling or otherwise distributing these materials without written permission of the copyright owner is expressly prohibited, including providing materials to commercial platforms such as Chegg or CourseHero.  Doing so may constitute a violation of U.S. copyright law as well as MSU’s Code of Student Conduct.

One of the most important values of an academic community is the balance between the free flow of ideas and the respect for the intellectual property of others. Researchers do not use one another's research without permission; scholars and students always use proper citations in papers; professors may not circulate or publish student papers without the writer's permission; and students may not circulate or post materials (handouts, exams, syllabi --any class materials) from their classes unless they have received prior written permission of the instructor. 

Any test, paper or report submitted by you and that bears your name is presumed to be your own original work that has not previously been submitted for credit in another course unless you obtain prior written approval to do so from your instructor. In all of your assignments, including your homework or drafts of papers, you may use words or ideas written by other individuals in publications, web sites, or other sources, but only with proper attribution. If you are not clear about academic integrity expectations for completing an assignment or taking a test or examination, be sure to seek clarification from your instructor or teaching assistant (TA) beforehand.

Student Conduct Code

Section 420 of the Student Conduct Code ( describes academic misconduct as including but not limited to plagiarism, cheating, multiple submissions, or facilitating others’ misconduct. Possible sanctions for academic misconduct range from an oral reprimand to expulsion from the university.

Section 430 of the Student Conduct Code ( allows the instructor to impose the following sanctions for academic misconduct: oral reprimand; written reprimand; an assignment to repeat the work or an alternate assignment; a lower or failing grade on the particular assignment or test; or a lower grade or failing grade in the course. More serious sanctions require a Conduct Board hearing.

GTA Support

This class is fortunate to have the support of graduate student teaching assistants (GTAs) to assist and facilitate with student learning.  These TAs should be treated with respect and all interactions should be professional. The MSU Student Code of Conduct (  requires this of all students. Violations of this policy with TAs (or anyone else) will not be tolerated and will be handled according to the procedures described in the policy.  TAs have very specific assignments from the course instructor and therefore may not have comprehensive knowledge of all course requirements and content. If questions arise requiring clarification of class content or subject material, please direct them to the course instructor.  In their instruction role, the TAs may be responsible for assigning grades.  If a student disagrees with the decision made by the TA then they are to bring that concern directly to the course instructor and not challenge the TA regarding their decision.