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BCIT Mechanical Engineering Technologies: Student Projects

The Program

The Mechanical Design and Mechanical Design (Computing Option) programs at BCIT are two-year diploma of technology programs. In the first year of the programs, students take courses in engineering fundamentals that are common to all mechanical engineering technology options. In the second year, students in both programs take courses in mechanical engineering and mechanical design while the Computing option has a heavier concentration on engineering computer applications, programming, and engineering hardware/software management.

Projects Course

As part of the graduation requirements for our programs, students must undertake an industrial project. The project course runs from mid-January to mid-May, concurrent with the studentsí final term of study. Since the students are in full-time attendance at BCIT while they are working on their project, the project cannot be too large or have a restrictive schedule. The suggested size of the project is 120 hours, with students spending 6 to 8 hours per week on the project. Facilities and technical support for the projects are provided by BCIT.

Project Overview

The type of project depends on the needs of the industry sponsor. Typically, students work towards providing solutions to industrial problems. Student projects are not designed to replace work that would normally be done in-house, but to tackle those problems that are not currently being investigated. For smaller projects, the student can take the project from concept to completion. However, for larger projects, the student may either produce a portion of the project, a working prototype, or proof of concept for the entire project. Alternatively, two students may collaborate on a project if the depth and scope warrant it.

Type of projects

As well as having basic mechanical engineering design and manufacturing skills, the students are familiar with a variety of software applications including AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, Algor (Finite Element Analysis) and standard office applications such as Microsoft Excel. The students in the Computing option are also familiar with MicroStation, MasterCAM, and Access as well as programming in Visual Basic for standalone applications or for customizing AutoCAD and Inventor.

For a list of sample projects, see pages 3 through 5.


BCIT Mechanical Engineering Technologies

Design and Design (Computing) Student Projects

There is no charge to the company sponsoring the project. However, if specialized software or equipment is required, the sponsoring company may be asked to make a contribution.

Sponsorís Involvement

A company sponsoring a project will participate in training job-ready mechanical technologists, and typically:

  • Assign the project, define the scope of work and deliverables.

  • Approve the project proposal written by students.

  • Provide periodic guidance to students.

  • Fill out an evaluation form at the end of the project.

Technical Support

BCIT provides the facilities and technical support for the project. Generally, the sponsor would initially meet with the student to define problem to be solved, possible methods of solving the problem, and the overall scope. The student must complete a proposal and have the proposal approved before proceeding with the project. Once the project is underway, the amount of contact between the student and the sponsor is limited to information gathering, progress reports, and technical questions that relate directly to the project.

Ownership and Disclosure

Generally, the student is the owner of any software, device, or any other tangible resource produced during the project. However, where the sponsor makes a significant contribution, alternate arrangements can be made. It is best that all issues regarding ownership be discussed and settled while the project is in the proposal stage.

It is also understandable that in certain situations, sponsors may ask the students to limit their disclosure of proprietary knowledge.


As the students pursue these projects on a non-fee basis, there is no guarantee that the project  will be completed and that it will meet the sponsorís expectations. Since successful completion of a project is a requirement for graduation from the Mechanical Design and Design (Computing) programs, the number of unsuccessful projects is quite small. Also, as there may be more projects proposed than there are students, or in the case that the proposed project does not meet the academic requirements of the program, there are no assurances that a project will proceed. If you are interested in supporting a student project, or if you have any questions regarding projects, please contact one of the instructors listed below.


Brent Dunn, P.Eng.Program Head,

Mechanical Design (Computing) and CAD Programming

tel: 432-8755, fax: 431-8422, email:


Ken Wong, P.Eng.

Program Head, Mechanical Design

Tel: 451-6708, fax: 431-8422, email:



Types of Projects

Mechanical Design/Computing

The following examples describe sample projects undertaken by students in the Computing option of Mechanical Design at BCIT.

Mechanical Design

A company is designing a new consumer product and needs to do some basic analysis including deflection, stress and product packaging (space allocation).

3D Modeling

A company requires design and modeling of a new product. They plan to upgrade to Autodesk Inventor so would like to see what Inventor can do.

3D Prototyping and Reverse Engineering

A company wishes to improve on an existing product but does not have models. They would like to have the existing product digitized, modeled, and then prototyped so they can evaluate and implement changes.

CNC Programming

A company wishes to produce a series of wooden propellers. They make the propellers by hand and wish to rough them out using a CNC machine. They require a system which

automatically produces a G-Code file given several parameters which define a propeller.

Drawing System Management

A company has recently converted to CAD. Although they have 500 - 600 drawings in total, and are finding it difficult to find drawings on their computer. In addition, they have lost released drawings and have had to recreate them from scratch. They require a drawing management system to manage drawings for each project, keep track of revision histories, and archive released drawings and unused drawings to CD.

AutoCAD or Inventor Customization

A company produces custom doors and windows in a variety of styles and sizes. They require a VBA program in AutoCAD or Inventor to create the models and drawings automatically with little user input or interaction.

Systems/Needs Analysis

A company is considering converting to a different CAD package or adding an add-on to their current package. They require recommendations on hardware and software to meet current and future needs and economic justification for their senior management. They also require initial training and setup.

Setup/General Customization

A company has recently purchased AutoCAD for municipal drawings. They require template drawings, standards, blocks for frequently used items, custom menus, programming, and plotter setup.

Drawing Translation

A company wishes to use survey data in AutoCAD. The data comes in a well-known,documented format. They require a program to translate the data into DXF or DWG format.

Visual Basic Programming

An engineering company would like an old Fortran program converted to Visual Basic along with an updated user interface and access to engineering data that is stored in a database.

Batch processing

A company wishes to upgrade hundreds of older drawings to a new title block format without losing attributes and other information. They require a program that can convert the title block to the new version, transfer the attribute values, and record all the attributes to an Access database.

Linking to an External Database

An interior design company uses AutoCAD to place furniture in hotel floor plans as part of their interior design. They manually extract furniture schedules information from plots of the finished drawings then enter the data into Access to create reports for clients. They require a set of attributed furniture blocks that can be automatically extracted to an Access file and linked to a second Access file containing the manufacturer's data on each piece of furniture. They also require custom Access reports to report total cost for each floor, room, supplier, etc.



Types of Projects

Mechanical Design

The following projects were undertaken by students in the Mechanical Design option at BCIT.

  1. Redesign of sparger inserts and header, testing of the header system of a column cell for mineral processing plants ( 5 projects for the same company for 5 years ),

  2. Redesign of truck air compressor unit, hydraulic vent plug system, design / manufacture of a hydraulic valve block, design of a rod pre-heater ( 4 projects for the same company for 4 years ).

  3. Numerous FEA ( Finite element analysis ) projects - Examples : mountain bicycle frame, grapple structure of a mobile equipment.

  4. Stress Analysis of 400 and 600 HP helical gear reducer used in coal conveyors. Project was done for a local gear manufacturer.

  5. Design and Fabrication of a Lever propulsion system for wheelchairs. Design and Fabrication of a Brake and Gear Train for wheelchairs.

  6. Design of automated lock assembly system ( 2 projects for the company for 2 years ).

  7. Testing of aluminum welds for marine vessels for a local ship yard,

  8. Design / fabrication of exercising machine for physically-challenged children,

  9. Re-design of babitt molds for a local sawmill machinery manufacturer,

  10. Design of a tractor-mounted vineyard duster for Okanagan vineyards.

  11. Design of a Polishing machine for hydraulic cylinders.

  12. Analysis and Design of Belt Conveyor Plow Lift Mechanisms for a major mining engineering company.

  13. Design of a Lumber Stacking Machine for a sawmill engineering company.

  14. Design of a pneumatically-controlled mini-doctor for a paper roll.

  15. Design of a 2-Ton Gib Crane for a local fabrication company.

  16. Design of a Lifting Boom for a local aerospace manufacturer.

  17. Design of a bow towing winch for a marine hydraulic steering system manufacturer.

  18. Re-design of a rotary ripper for a pulp & paper machine manufacturer.

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