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Frey, Daniel, and David Gossard, 2.007 Design and Manufacturing I, Spring 2009. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 10 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

Design and Manufacturing I

Spring 2005

Design contest table drawing.

Course Highlights

This course features the information, tools and resources necessary to carry out the student design project -- culminating in the mother of all robot contests. 2.007 has been replicated worldwide in engineering schools and on television. According to Prof. Slocum, the contest is a final exam, "two evenings of reality-meets-theory. This is when physics hits the road."
Course Description
This course develops students' competence and self-confidence as design engineers. Emphasis is on the creative design process bolstered by application of physical laws, and learning to complete projects on schedule and within budget. Synthesis, analysis, design robustness and manufacturability are emphasized. The subject relies on active learning via a major design-and-build project. Lecture topics include idea generation, estimation, concept selection, visual thinking and communication, kinematics of mechanisms, machine elements, design for manufacturing, basic electronics, and professional responsibilities and ethics. A required on-line evaluation is given at the beginning and the end of the course so students can assess their design knowledge.
Special Features

* Class competition video

Technical Requirements

File decompression software, such as Winzip® or StuffIt®, is required to open the .zip files found on this course site. The .zip files contain additional files which require software as well. MATLAB® software is required to view and run the .m and .mat files. Mathcad® software is required to view and run the .mcd files. Microsoft® Excel software is recommended for viewing the .xls files. Free Microsoft® Excel viewer software can also be used to view the .xls files. RealOne™ Player is required to run the .rm files found in this course. Media player software, such as QuickTime® Player, RealOne™ Player, or Windows Media® Player, is required to run the .mp3 files. OMAX® Software is required to run the .ord files. SolidWorks® software is required to run and view the .sldprt and .sldasm files.



Mechanical Engineering Tools (2.670), Mechanics and Materials I (2.001)


2.007 teaches a creative design process, based on the scientific method, with lectures and the creation, engineering, and manufacture of a remote controlled machine to compete in a major design contest (celebration) at the end of the semester. Students learn to identify a problem (opportunity!) and create, develop, and select best strategies, and concepts using fundamental principles, appropriate analysis, and experimentation. Students then divide their best concept into modules and after developing the most critical modules first in descending order of criticality, proceed to system integration, testing, and debugging. Project and risk management are introduced as tools to keep the development process under control in order to deliver a robust working machine on time and on budget.

Fundamental principles are emphasized including Occam's Razor, Abbe Errors, Maxwell's Reciprocity, Saint-Venant's Principle, Sensitive Directions, Self-Help, Centers-of-Action, Structural Loops, and the Golden Rectangle. The physics and application of machine elements to enable students to create and engineer their machines are introduced by lecture and example. Throughout the course, engineers' professional responsibilities are stressed. Students are assumed to be competent at parametric solid modeling, spreadsheets or MATLAB®, and basic machine shop skills. Educational, reference, and design assistance materials are provided on-line to enable students to learn as much as they want/need whenever they want/need.

Course Objectives

The objectives of the course are to enable students through lecture and hands-on experience to:

  1. Learn a design process, based on the scientific method, to combine creative thinking with engineering principles (physics) to turn ideas into robust reality:
    • Identify a problem (opportunity!)
    • Use Fundamental principles and appropriate analysis and experiments to generate, select and develop ideas
    • Generate and create strategies for solving the problem
    • Generate and create concepts for implementing the selected "best" strategy
    • Break the concept into modules and develop the most critical module first
    • Complete the detailed design of the modules and manufacture, test, and debug them
    • Integrate modules and test, debug, and modify the system as needed
    • Document the results (closing the design loop)
  2. Become familiar with fundamental design principles, machine elements, and manufacturing and assembly techniques
  3. Learn to assess risk, use countermeasures when risk becomes too great, and manage projects to be "on-time" and "on-budget"
  4. Practice professionalism, be safety conscious, and maintain high ethical standards. Real designers in countless companies follow this systematic process. Good designers get raises and responsibility and reflect well on themselves and their profession. Bad designers are of little use to anybody. A bad designer:
  • Has no respect for project management and thinks they can just cut-and-fit on the fly.
  • Thinks they can see it all in their head and does not need to sketch, test, and plan.
  • Works late hours the night before the contest and produces something.
  • Gets at best a "D" in 2.007, regardless of how they do in the contest (history has shown they will do poorly).

2.007 is far more about learning a process for design, by engineering and building your machine, than just building a machine to compete in the contest. Without knowing the process of design, you will not be able to compete on real design projects in the real world, and your job will be outsourced!

Text Book

The draft textbook (Fundamentals of Design) is provided at no charge. (Note: This book is not available to OCW users, but will soon be published and available through Oxford University Press.) You will also find your 2.001 text extremely useful (Craig, Roy R., Jr. Mechanics of Materials. 2nd ed. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, 2000. ISBN: 0471331767.)!

Suggested readings for those who are interested in the process of design include:

Pahl, G., and W. Beitz. Engineering Design, A Systematic Approach. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag, 1988.

Suh, N. P. The Principles of Design. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Incredibly useful handbooks every practicing design engineer should own:

Machinery's Handbook. Industrial Press.

Roark, R. J., and W. C. Young. Formulas for Stress and Strain. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Book Company.

For students interested in hardware details:

Shigley, J. E., and L. D. Mitchell. Mechanical Engineering Design. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1983.

Slocum, A. H. Precision Machine Design. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1992.


We have lectures twice per week for 1 1/2 hours per session. See the calendar for lecture topics. The course closely follows the schedule! Lectures only last through the first half of the term, so come to them and learn!


There is no formal recitation. 2.007 students are to arrange additional time with your lab instructors as needed. Prof. Slocum will generally be available after class. Please contact him if you want to confirm a specific meeting time.

Lab: Design Contest Project

2.007 students are assigned by the registrar to a lab section, which will meet for 4 hours one day per week. The labs are only scheduled in the afternoons, and they are 4 exciting hours to give students more scheduled build time. Labs start the second week of class, but you must get your kit and locker assignment as directed in the first lecture or you will be bumped from the class!

  • Your 2.670 toolbox is your "passport" to getting into the lab. Bring it and put it in your locker!
  • There will be no weekend or evening hours for the shop!
  • The lab opens at 8:30 AM and closes at 4:30 PM, so create a normal working person's schedule! Students may not skip other classes in order to spend extra time in the lab.
  • Use the early mornings when things are calm! Pace yourself! If you "wait until the last minute", you will fail (D and lower grades are indeed given to students who try and do everything at the last minute, even if their machines work well) not only in 2.007, but also in the real world!
  • You are free to use your own shop if you have access to one.
  • Most of Lab time should be for you to explore ideas by creating hands-on experiments. Instructors will spend little time "leading the group." Your instructor is your coach, advisor, and mentor.


You must wear safety goggles or safety glasses (polycarbonate eyeglasses are fine) and closed-toed shoes at all times in the lab. Violators will be asked to leave immediately and not to return until outfitted appropriately. Tie your hair back and take off your jewelry before coming to class.

Ethics and Professionalism

As in the real-world, unethical and unprofessional behavior will not be tolerated. When in doubt, ask any staff member for guidance!

Contest Kits

Contest kits and lockers will be given out after the first lecture in the lab. There are a lot of materials required for 2.007, but due to the generosity of our corporate sponsors, there is no lab fee, and you get to keep your machines at the end (including the motors used on your machine)! You must bring your 2.670 toolkit to lab, as you will need it. Your kit will be in your locker. Be careful with your kits. In response to prior PTS reviews, and queries to the class, this year we will issue a battery powered hand drill to each student. One of the most common operations in the shop is drilling a simple hole, and every student having their own drill will greatly increase productivity. The power supply for your machine will be one battery from the drill. You must buy this $180 drill for $100 from the ME dept. (and you get to keep the drill) the same day as you get your kits, so bring a check or cash to the first day of class! Your first action with your kits is to write your name on the drill, motors and critical items! If you lose your drill or a motor, you need to go buy your own replacement! Use the permanent marker in your kit to put your name on your motors and critical items!

Design Notebooks and a Personal 2.007 Web site

Like any good engineering project, 2.007 runs on a schedule! As you develop your machine, you must keep a Design Notebook, which will be an important part of your grade. Ideally, this is a bound (spiral is OK) book in which you do all your sketches, calculations (printouts can be pasted in) etc. This notebook is a complete diary of what you did to create your machine. We recognize that you may also want to keep other 2.007 materials in it as well, so a 3-ring binder is OK, but it would be better to get in the industry groove and keep a real notebook. Make sure to date each entry. In the real world, this is a critical document, especially if the need arises for intellectual property litigation, or product liability. In 2.007, bring your Design Notebook to lab each week. Your instructor will want to see your Design Notebook each week to check on your progress (how well you meet milepebbles), and to see how well your Peer Review Evaluation process is being done.

It is also recommended that each student create a personal 2.007 Web site (use your own web space), which is also a good place to post milestone reports as well as the details of your machine development. Ideally each week you would summarize progress made, and post it on your Web site. You can even just scan in pages from your design notebook. Having an up-to-date Web site will also help your instructor. At the end of the class, the Web site will become your first portfolio entry. Having a quality portfolio is great asset for job interviews!

Milestones and MilePebbles

Milestones are major points in a schedule where significant chunks of work have been completed. The major milestones for this course are:

  1. Final strategy (4-6 pages: FRDPARRC sheet, pictures of sketch models, sketches, scoring calculation, appropriate analysis, bench level experiments)
  2. Final concept selected (4-6 pages: FRDPARRC sheet, pictures of sketch models, sketches, appropriate analysis (e.g., time to move, power budget), bench level experiments, preliminary solid model)
  3. Demonstrate most critical module (4-6 pages: FRDPARRC sheet, pictures of sketch models, sketches, appropriate analysis, picture of module, solid model)
  4. All engineering complete (4-6 pages: Solid model of machine and part drawings, critical calculations)
  5. Demonstrate working machine (3 pages: Picture of machine, and a critical analysis of what works and what does not work and why. Tie back to your concept FRDPARRC sheet. Describe plan for remainder of shop build time)
  6. Reflection (4-6 pages: Self-evaluation of machine performance in final contest (what did and did not work and why))

These 6 milestones each represent 90% of your grade (see below). They are to be documented as noted to best allow your instructor (or anyone else) to understand what you accomplished and how. The documentation of your milestones can then be entered into your Web site which will be of great help when you look for engineering employment!

Milepebbles are things to be done each week, and these will be evaluated by your lab instructor when you meet with them on a weekly basis.

Contest Preparation

The contest is the ultimate 2.007 experience. It is analogous to having your product first used at the customer site. Thus in preparation for the contest, you complete your engineering and building and then "check off" your machine and "ship it to the customer" (you!). This is done in the final week of lab, when your lab instructor will schedule you to have your machine sized and weighed. In addition, your machine will run by itself on the table to obtain your seeding score. The shop closes Friday and the contest will be on the following Thursday (first round) and Friday (final rounds) evenings.


This is very much an interactive course, and you have a very low chance of passing if you do not attend lectures and labs, which closely follow the milestone reports. Your grade is very dependent on meeting the milestones (just like in industry, your salary depends on meeting milestones). Each milestone focuses on helping you create your 2.007 machine. There are no busy-work assignments. Everything is focused on the contest machine from Day 1. There are no formal quizzes. Grades are based on how well you complete each milestone:

WEEK # Grading ItemS (due at end of lab that week) Points for MilestoneS Total Points
1 Milepebble 1    
2 Milepebble 2    
3 Milestone 1 - Strategy 15 Points for Strategy Milestone 15
4 Milepebble 3    
5 Milestone 2 - Concept 15 Points for Concept Milestone 30
6 Milepebble 4    
7 Milestone 3 - Most Critical Module 15 Points for MCM Development 45
8 Milepebble 5    
9 Milestone 4 - Detail Module and Components 15 Points for Completed Engineering 60
10 Milepebble 6    
11 Milepebble 7    
12 Milestone 5 - Demonstrate Working Machine 15 Points for Working Machine 75
13 Milepebble 8    
14 Milestone 6 - Final Contest and Reflection 15 Points for Reflection Document 90
All Overall Milepebble Performance 10 Points for Semester 100
All Lab Section Participation 10 Points for Participation (Includes PREP, Attendance, etc.) 110

grades percentages
A 90% - 100%
B 80% - 90%
C 70% - 80%
D 60% - 70%
F < 60%

The key to earning an "A" is not putting in long hours, the key to earning an "A" is to follow the schedule, come to class and lab, and to think creatively and deterministically (e.g., can you use a spreadsheet to justify and optimize major design decisions, such as the size of a motor?). The student's grade will thus be largely based by how well the student learns the design process taught in 2.007. If you wait until the last couple weeks to "go into hyper mode", you will fail (D grades are indeed given to students who try and do everything the last few weeks of the course, even if their machines work) not only in 2.007, but also in the real world! There is no curve in this class. We hope everyone earns an "A". What do the grades actually mean in terms of your engineering capabilities?

  • An "A" is for a student you would be happy to lead the design of a major product (as they get more education and experience). These students are selfstarters and can learn by finding and studying needed materials when they realize they are lacking in knowledge. These are also the students who create new ideas and identify tasks to be done in order to complete a project according to schedule. (Truly understands the fundamentals [analysis] and can use them to solve challenging engineering problems).
  • A "B" is for a good solid potential engineer that sometimes needs guidance, but overall can be given a task and will complete it effectively. They can usually pick things up from references as needed. (Mostly understands the fundamentals and needs some help to address challenging problems). They still do a little too much "shoot from the hip" selection of elements because they really are not that comfortable with using analysis in their design as much as they should.
  • A "C" is for the student who needs a lot of direction. Some just do not understand the material, despite trying. Some just ask a lot of questions because they rarely study or come to class or read the notes. Some expect to be spoon fed because they do not have the time to put in the effort. On a project, they must be given a specific task and solution direction instructions. (Need help to grasp the fundamentals and needs help to understand basic problems). These people may seem like they are good creative designers, but they are afraid of analysis and do not see how to use it to select design parameters, and rather than ask, they hide.
  • A "D" is for the student who is never around much but might manage to get a machine to work. They never justify any of their engineering decisions (they meet no milestones except the last one) and are not part of the team (lab section). (Have you really grasped the fundamentals? Are you really ready to move on?).
  • An "F" is for a no-show total loss that never accomplished anything, and barely even tried. They should have dropped the course, but were too out of it to do so. Why are they bothering staying at MIT? They should transfer somewhere else and make room for someone who really does care.

Peer Review

Students will be responsible for using the Peer review evaluation process (PREP) for providing feedback on each other's lab Milestone reports. You will be part of a 3 person Peer Review Evaluation Team that you are responsible for forming in your section! Your section instructor will review the teams' comments and will give feedback to the team on how effective they are at providing constructive criticism. This is a critical part of learning to become a great engineer. As in industry, how well you critique each other's work affects your grade.

Course Schedule

Come to Lectures and Labs. Create a schedule for all your courses and activities, noting milestone due dates, exams, etc. Use the plan as a reminder to not fall behind! If you are falling behind, you need to ask for help, but also ask yourself if you are doing too much! If you follow the schedule and work smart on the milestone reports, you can earn an "A" without ever having to spend an evening or a weekend in the shop. The Design Process Works! 2.007 is a 12-unit course designed to be completed on time and on budget!   Tell A Friend