Tutor Notes for Assignments

Tutor Notes for Assignments

NOTE: Before submitting your assignment – use the learning outcome checklist on the cover sheet and cross-check these requirements to your submission. Are you happy that each of these points are covered?

Below are some helpful notes to support you through these assignments.

Assignment LO1

In this assignment, you are given a design brief and asked to produce a report to cover the below points:

Let’s take these sections one at a time:

Outline of the problem and understanding of the customer brief 

Keep this simple. In this section you are simply showing that you understand what is being asked. Write in the first person e.g. “I am a design engineer and I have been asked to produce……..”. You are demonstrating to the tutor that you understand who your customer is and what they want.

Research the current designs of human powered driven pumps 

In this section you should demonstrate that you’ve done some basic research on current designs on the market. This should start to give you an idea of typical costs, materials, sizes etc.

Detailed Design Specification which meets all the customer requirements

This is the most important part of this assignment and will be key for the upcoming LO2-LO4 assignments.

In this section are you demonstrating that you can turn your descriptive customer requirements into a list of quantifiable requirements. I highly suggest you view the example kettle design specification given in the resource section here, and in Chapter 5 of Mechanical Engineering (page 306-312) available here.

You should include any relevant design requirements in sections such as Performance, Ergonomics, Environment, Maintenance, Costs, Manufacture etc

Present  project schedule for the design of the product (including sequence and timing of each activity)

This section is testing your understanding of project management tools, specifically Gantt charts. You should show the duration of the project (design through to installation) on a gantt chart with some sample timescales included. (There are no right or wrong timings here, just propose some suitable timescales and present them on an appropriate gantt chart). Gantt chart template available here.

Critical path items should be identified.

Evaluate which design methodology you are using and explain why

Have a think about, is this an iterative design? E.g. 5-stage design as described in the workbook? Does this need to be “right first time” such as a new airliner, or can this be released as a “beta” design such as software? Is it driven by customer requirements? Or is this a new innovative product not yet seen on the market?

For merit, you are expected to show some evaluation on these topics.

Identify the critical path activities on your plan and what impact they may have on the project.

To achieve merit, you would be expected to expand on the critical path analysis and use critical path tools shown in the LO1 workbook section 1.3. Give an overview of what this means in a real-life project.

Critically analysis other industry standard design briefs (on any product), and compare them with your own

To achieve a Distinction, you would be expected to do some self-research on other products on the market. It could be anything, perhaps a mobile phone, aircraft, or even an X-ray machine! Compare the design brief to this other product. What is similar, what is different and why? How might the projects differ?

Assignment LO2

This assignment continues from LO1 on your development of the water pump. The purpose of this assignment is to show your product develop ideas and skills. It should contain sketches/ideas/thoughts on how this pump could look or work. You are not expected to come up with a final design yet!

This is simply your opportunity to show your ideas and then how you start to compare different solutions.

Again you should present a report which covers the below points.

Use of concept sketches and ideas

Propose at least 3 possible design solutions

Use of decision making tools to help develop solutions, and derive the preferred final design solution

Critically compare and provide justification for your chosen final design solution

Let’s take these one at a time:

Use of concept sketches and ideas

Quite simply, start to sketch out ideas. This could be hand drawn, sketched on a PC, Don’t get caught out with the details, keep it simple.

Investigate ideas such as:

How will the pump be driven? By hand? By foot? By bicycle!?

How many people will it need to operate it? One person, two-people?

What rough sizes should it be?

Start to sketch out some key features;

Will it have a handle? What will it look like?

Are there any joints/connections?

How will it be attached to the ground?

Propose at least 3 possible design solutions

Following the above. You should show 3 different ideas for your pump design.

Use of decision making tools to help develop solutions, and derive the preferred final design solution

See LO2 workbook section 2.1. Compare your 3 design ideas to the original customer brief. You should demonstrate that you can use quantifiable decision making tools to decide on which idea is the best.

Critically compare and provide justification for your chosen final design solution

Expand on your decision-making table above. Demonstrate some more in-depth engineering judgement, perhaps compare with industry standard designs to explain why you have picked your chosen design. Use of fishbone / cause and effect diagrams etc.

Assignment LO3

Continuing your design project, the goal of this assignment is to put the “meat on the bones” of your design, and produce a final Technical Design report, as well as a brief presentation that you would give back to the customer.

In order to pass this assignment, you need to produce these deliverables:

Create and present a technical design report. 

Create a presentation which outlines the key messages of the design report

Include engineering drawings following industry recognised drawing standards into the report

Include appropriate validation and verification methods into the design report

Critically assess relevant engineering materials and processes for their chosen design solution and provide justifications for their chosen method.

Present your presentation to a suitable audience, and provide written feedback from an appropriate audience member.

Let’s look at the top two in more detail:

Create and present a technical design report. 

This is the main part of this assignment. All of the learning outcomes should be included somewhere in this report. I highly recommend you review section 3.4 of the workbook before starting this.

The Technical Design Report must follow the format given within the workbook (you can also see ‘Presenting the final design solution’ in Mechanical Engineering ebook (chapter 5 pages 322-329 available here). i.e. structure your report with the relevant headings throughout.

As per the ebook referenced above, some key sections of the report should be:


Refer back to your specification table from LO1 and include it within the report here.

Design Parameters

in this section you need to show how your design meets the specification above. For example, within this section you should now include sub-sections such as:

The ergonomics of the design

Refer to the workbook for how to use ergonomic tables. What size is your pump? Can it be operated by a 95percentile person? Explain the design features that would make this possible.

Any specific engineering constraints (e.g. tolerances/limits and fits)

Think about 1 or 2 key features of the pump and provide typical tolerances for these features (perhaps a shaft and hole tolerance), or pin for the handle etc.

Also consider general sizing – think about the flow rate of water needed vs how quickly you can operate the pump… And therefore deduce how much water is needed per ‘movement’ of the pump. From here, it could be possible to calculate overall pump dimensions.

Material selection 

State your chosen materials and why (always referring back to the specification requirements)

Potential manufacturing processes to be used

Give an appropriate method of manufacture for some components within your design.

Description of Design

This should contain a succinct description of your overall design. Include sketches and/or engineering drawings where appropriate. Explain clearly how it works (which parts move, how is it operated etc)

(note: in industry, in this section of the report you would be expected to provide full engineering drawings and an assembly drawing of your final product. However this is not expected for this assignment; instead you should ensure this section clearly states your overall design concept and includes technical descriptions of some key features). The tutor should understand how the pump would look and how it would be operated.

Design Evaluation

This should include a final appraisal of your design and it should include recommendations for further development and research. You should also include:

Testing / validation requirements – i.e. how would you validate that your design works in real-life.

Part 2 of this assignment is to:

Create a presentation which outlines the key messages of the design report

This should be a PowerPoint presentation or similar, but it should not simply be a copy/paste of your report. Instead, it should highlight the key features of your project and the chosen design. Imagine you are giving the presentation to a senior manager at the customer’s company.

Assignment LO4

The final assignment! This one is different in that it covers the legal and ethical considerations as an engineer.

Keeping your water pump project in mind. In this report you need to cover:

Any relevant standards which can be utilised in your project or design 

Outlines any H&S or regulatory compliance during the design project 

Discuss any moral or ethically responsible points on the whole project, including any environmental and social considerations that could be included within the original Design Specification.

Relevant to your design, critically compare different regulatory compliance requirements from around the world

Relevant to your design, critically discuss an ethical decision or sustainability trade-off, and analyse the alternative options.

Again, this submission should take be a written report. Clearly identify each of the above points in a different heading.

That’s look at the one at a time:

Any relevant standards which can be utilised in your chosen design 

Refer back to the workbooks section 4.1. What ISO, BS or ASTM standards would be needed at any point in the project?

Think of things such as; drawing standards? Planning/quality project management standards? Material standards? Service standards?

Outlines any H&S or regulatory compliance for your chosen design 

Explain some of the regulations that you would be bound by as an engineer working on a project.

Also consider, how do regulations differ from the standards listed above? What is your responsibility as an engineer?

Discuss any moral or ethically responsible points on the whole project, including any environmental and social considerations that could be included within the original Design Specification.

Different to standards and regulations, in this section you should discuss any moral or ethical considerations you face as an engineer. Discuss any engineering code of conducts, and sustainability considerations (See section 4.3 Ethical Design in the LO4 workbook.)

Consider the use of sustainability triangles.

In summary

Hopefully this gives some support during these assignments. Don’t forget, the point of this unit is not to become an expert in water pumps, but it is your chance to demonstrate to the tutor that you understand how design projects work, and a chance to practise your design ideas and sketching. Have fun in your designs and think outside the box!