ME 370 – Mechanical Design

Do’s and Don’ts from previous semesters are listed below. Please read and take these design tips into consideration when designing your robot! Have Fun!

Do’s and Don’ts 


  1. Be sure to understand what resources are available to you in the Innovation Studio before starting a design that is too complex and requires too many outside resources.
  2. Test! You won’t be able to predict what is going to break first in your design, so you have to test as much as you can while you still have time to redesign and remanufacture parts before the final deadline.
  3. Account for possible wear and tear and spare parts for areas of the mechanism experiencing high stresses. If possible, construct multiple components to replace worn parts.
  4. Design the robot for easy maintenance/repair by modularizing. This helps save time when specific parts are required to be replaced.
  5. Expect the worst. You will run into a lot of problems. Your robot will fail… a lot. You will have to redesign, you will be frustrated. Take it in stride, take a deep breath. It’ll be alright. You will get nothing accomplished if you’re upset
  6. Ask a lot of questions. Your professor is there for a reason. They are there to teach you the subject. Don’t be afraid to tell them you haven’t a clue why your robot isn’t working. They don’t bite. We guarantee if you talk to them, they will talk right back
  7. Simplify your power transmission system as much as possible. Any part of a design can cause issues, power transmission will almost always cause issues.
  8. Minimize the distance at which the motor needs to provide power. Smaller distances means less weight and an overall less complex mechanism.


  1. Don’t procrastinate. Everyone does it, and it may be acceptable in other classes. But this is a class project that involves shared resources, so as the deadline approaches, everyone will be attempting to use the same machines in the Innovation Studios. The less you procrastinate, the more time you leave for things to inevitably go wrong.
  2. Don’t use a single set of components throughout the entire design, prototyping, and final product stages. Components are likely to become worn down and lose functionality.
  3. Don’t Laser-cut all your parts without first testing the tolerance of the laser cutters. This can differ based on the specific cutter/material combination. (Reducing hole diameter by .002” is a good starting point).
  4. Don’t pull on the wires from the motor, they’re sensitive
  5. Don’t make your footprint too small, it will get stuck in the grass