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Me 2110 Final Project Planning Essay

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ME 2110-D (T 3:00 - 5:45PM)

Matrix Project Planning Report




Submitted by Team D-5:

 Kristin Fairey

Jack Fenton

Abby Huelfer

  Hunter Marine




Submitted to:

Studio Instructor: Dr. Mahmoud Dinar

TA: Yang Xie

October 17, 2017


The Fall 2017 ME 2110 Big Design Project challenges teams to execute multiple tasks in a Matrix-themed competition. The goal of the project is to design a machine that scores points by carrying out these specified tasks such as repelling a sentinel, collecting programming modules, correctly placing pills in the red zones, and ultimately rescuing Morpheus. By developing a House of Quality, Function Tree, and several planning tools, the design team can generate concepts and designs to fulfill the requirements of the Big Design Project.


The Big Design Project entails designing a machine that scores more points than other teams’ machines through the completion of tasks in a 7 ft. by 7 ft. competition arena. These tasks include repelling sentinels from the team’s home zone, collecting programming modules, returning Morpheus to the team’s home or starting zone, placing pills in the red zones, and egressing from the EMP blast zone once the competition time is complete. The design team faces the challenge of limited power sources restricted to only five mousetraps, gravity, a pneumatic tank with two actuators, and a controller box to utilize in the machine. Additionally, the complexity of the point scoring system requires the machine’s scoring features to be compatible with other features’ functions and movements. The House of Quality (Figure 1) highlights the most important engineering requirements to focus on while creating a final design for the competition. In order to adhere to the competition rules, the design team must carefully design a final product that avoids any disqualifying components. For example, the shutdown time is heavily weighted in the House of Quality because the machine must stop before 40 seconds elapses since the machine runs. The power sources are also crucial to the success of the machine because the machine must be fully autonomous, and, therefore, needs to have sufficient power to complete the outlined tasks in each round.

Planning Deliverables

To aid in designing the best machine, the design team created four separate function trees for the completed machine. These are broken down into the four different primary tasks that the machine must complete. Tasks include removing the sentinel (Figure 2), collecting modules (Figure 3), taking pills (Figure 4), and retrieving Morpheus (Figure 5). Each function needs a source for power and a means to transmit the produced power to components of the machine for the task to be completed. These function trees break down the machine’s primary function into smaller functions that are easier to design in detail for the team.

The specifications list (Figure 6) guides the team in each stage of design by setting measurable goals in various categories. By setting specific target values, the team can work towards meeting, minimizing, or maximizing these parameters. The design team is responsible for each specification on the list, as required by the instructor, a safety guideline, or a standard expectation.

In order to create a machine that efficiently completes each task and competes against other teams, a solution matrix was constructed (Figure 7). The purpose of a Solution Function Table is to initially provide the design team with as many solutions to the product functions as possible. This tool effectively leads to the best solutions to each function; the design team can highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each solution, and even combine solutions to ultimately decide upon the most efficient. In this particular case however, the power resources are limited and often overlap in the solutions to the different functions. Therefore, the design team must refer to the prioritization matrix, deciding which functions should utilize the most efficient power resources and the best solutions.

Other helpful planning tools such as the planning tree diagram, Gantt chart, and prioritization matrix align the design team’s deliverables and deadlines to a well-defined outline, schedule, and list of priorities. The planning tree diagram (Figure 8) separates the large task of producing the end product into smaller tasks that can be divided and completed by individual members. A planning tree diagram has many levels, depending on the complexity of the overall task. The completion of the simpler tasks contribute to the completion of the task it originates from. The planning tree is organized chronologically with the tasks that need be completed first at the top. This chronology will help prevent the design team from moving too far forward in its work without completing the necessary prior tasks.

The Gantt chart (Figure 9) aids in time management for the design team. Because this planning tool shows a holistic view of Week 6 through Week 13 of the semester, the design team can monitor their progress by ensuring that each task is completed. The Gantt chart is visually logical in that each subsequent task begins as the previous task is completed for both subcomponent builds and reports. Week 8 and Week 9 both have an overlap of six tasks, which includes building, writing, and high-level problem understanding. These two weeks are especially crucial in meeting deadlines in order to finalize the design and complete all mandatory reports and presentations.



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