Lilbixxie
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I am about to start Year 13 and am looking to apply for Mechanical Engineering next year. I want to enhance my application and thought that instead of doing a written independent project it might be a good idea to make something. I have no idea what to make and don't really have the resources required for something complex. Does anyone who has applied for engineering have any ideas on what to do?
Thanks
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pleasedtobeatyou
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(Original post by Lilbixxie)
I am about to start Year 13 and am looking to apply for Mechanical Engineering next year. I want to enhance my application and thought that instead of doing a written independent project it might be a good idea to make something. I have no idea what to make and don't really have the resources required for something complex. Does anyone who has applied for engineering have any ideas on what to do?
Thanks
Any sort of engine would be a good idea.
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SillyEddy
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Do you do electronics or 3D design or any sort of technology already?


The sorts of concepts and skills you'll learn about during mechanical engineering will be along the lines of:

Planning (setting schedules and making sure you're able to complete the task with what you have available (such as people or equipment))
Research (material properties, production methods, other related projects. You could also research British and international standards for what you're making. Research the client and things like their dimensions (anthropometrics and ergonomics))
Design (2D and 3D sketches, isometric drawings, cutting lists, assembly procedures. Use mathematics to size parts and also consider mechanical properties)
Manufacture (making the parts and assembling them)
Testing and evaluation (make sure it works. If it does, how well? If not, why not? If it exceeds its requirements, such as being able to carry a 500kg person when it needed to only carry someone of 70kg, then it's over engineered!)


So long as you cover those sorts of ideas, you could make just about anything. But where are you going to mention this when applying? The personal statement is quite short, so you might struggle to fully describe it. You could make something simple and just give a vague overview of the methods you went through to create it.


Ideas of things you could make:

A chair - This was my A-level A2 project. A chair is also what my design lecturer always uses (the chair's name is Geoff) because it's a perfectly valid way of getting across mechanical properties and explaining how simple things can actually be quite complex to design

A bridge - Part of our coursework at uni was to design, build and test a bridge. The winner was the one which was the lightest. It had to carry a 2kg mass across a 30cm gap. We had to design the bridge, transport system and power for it (elastic bands). The winning bridge was under 50 grams! That's a massive load-to-mass ratio! I think our bridge was able to support 7kg before a non-supporting element of it failed. We got okay marks, but it was over engineered for the task.

Failing that, look around your room or house. What do you use on a daily basis, and why is it awful to use? How could you improve it? Mechanical engineering isn't just about designing huge planes, trains and auto-mobiles. There is significant work to be done just investigating how "basic" components work. Something like a door handle must fit the required standards for safety and usability whilst remaining cheap, provide adequate turning force and remain durable.
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Lilbixxie
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(Original post by SillyEddy)
Do you do electronics or 3D design or any sort of technology already?


The sorts of concepts and skills you'll learn about during mechanical engineering will be along the lines of:

Planning (setting schedules and making sure you're able to complete the task with what you have available (such as people or equipment))
Research (material properties, production methods, other related projects. You could also research British and international standards for what you're making. Research the client and things like their dimensions (anthropometrics and ergonomics))
Design (2D and 3D sketches, isometric drawings, cutting lists, assembly procedures. Use mathematics to size parts and also consider mechanical properties)
Manufacture (making the parts and assembling them)
Testing and evaluation (make sure it works. If it does, how well? If not, why not? If it exceeds its requirements, such as being able to carry a 500kg person when it needed to only carry someone of 70kg, then it's over engineered!)


So long as you cover those sorts of ideas, you could make just about anything. But where are you going to mention this when applying? The personal statement is quite short, so you might struggle to fully describe it. You could make something simple and just give a vague overview of the methods you went through to create it.


Ideas of things you could make:

A chair - This was my A-level A2 project. A chair is also what my design lecturer always uses (the chair's name is Geoff) because it's a perfectly valid way of getting across mechanical properties and explaining how simple things can actually be quite complex to design

A bridge - Part of our coursework at uni was to design, build and test a bridge. The winner was the one which was the lightest. It had to carry a 2kg mass across a 30cm gap. We had to design the bridge, transport system and power for it (elastic bands). The winning bridge was under 50 grams! That's a massive load-to-mass ratio! I think our bridge was able to support 7kg before a non-supporting element of it failed. We got okay marks, but it was over engineered for the task.

Failing that, look around your room or house. What do you use on a daily basis, and why is it awful to use? How could you improve it? Mechanical engineering isn't just about designing huge planes, trains and auto-mobiles. There is significant work to be done just investigating how "basic" components work. Something like a door handle must fit the required standards for safety and usability whilst remaining cheap, provide adequate turning force and remain durable.
Thank You soo much for your advice. I appreciate this a lot, it must have taken a while to write. I did GCSE Product Design where I made chair
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dhutch
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Year 13 = A2 , second year of 6th form. Yes? Is this project part of that or stand alone in your own time?

I have just found from another thread of yours you are doing Maths, FM, Physics and Art (and Economics?) and have looked at combined engineer/economics/business degrees as well as architecture. But have presumably as of now settled on Mechanical, i'm clearly biased, but enjoy mechanical engineering a lot.

Did you enjoy Product design? Tell us about the chair.

Some of engineering is about complex (ish) sums, finite element analyse, design life calculations, fluid dynamics. But equally a large amount of it, is about 'does that look about right' and 'what did we do last time, and how are we changing it' type decisions, even if that's only a basis from which you work from, certainly if your in design. Obviously even within mechanical engineering the is huge scope for jobs and interests, from a research engineer post for a international super company, through automotive time roles, right thought to three man trailer outfit working as combined design/development engineer making one off kit. At JCB i'm towards the hands on low volume design end, desk based working on CAD and managing projects, design stuff that's going to be sold several hundred a year, but not getting too up to your neck in the theoretical side. Plus is it comes to it, depressingly or otherwise, we where told 40% of graduate mechanical engineers become accountants,if that's your thing...

Eddy writes a good post, but another option would be do something random like enroll on a 10 week evening course in welding!


Daniel
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