16.810 Engineering Design and Rapid Prototyping

January (IAP) 2005

The design process of the class.
A graphic representation of the steps of the design process that the class follows. (Image by Prof. Olivier de Weck.)

Course Highlights

This course features lecture notes for a new MIT course that provides students with an opportunity to design, optimize, manufacture, and validate a physical system component. The projects from the course are also included here. This course is offered during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which is a special 4-week term at MIT that runs from the first week of January until the end of the month.

Course Description

This course provides students with an opportunity to conceive, design and implement a product, using rapid prototyping methods and computer-aid tools. The first of two phases challenges each student team to meet a set of design requirements and constraints for a structural component. A course of iteration, fabrication, and validation completes this manual design cycle. During the second phase, each team conducts design optimization using structural analysis software, with their phase one prototype as a baseline.


This course is made possible thanks to a grant by the alumni sponsored Teaching and Education Enhancement Program (Class of '51 Fund for Excellence in Education, Class of '55 Fund for Excellence in Teaching, Class of '72 Fund for Educational Innovation). The instructors gratefully acknowledge the financial support.

The course was approved by the Undergraduate Committee of the MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2003. The instructors thank Prof. Manuel Martinez-Sanchez and the committee members for their support and suggestions.

Special Features

Technical Requirements

Special software is required to use some of the files in this course: .xls, .sldprt, .rm.

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Prof. Olivier de Weck
Prof. David Wallace
Prof. Peter Young

Course Meeting Times

Two sessions / week for four weeks
4 hours / session



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