Prototyping in Mechanical Engineering

Learn prototyping skills mechanical engineering: schematics and drawings, materials, manufacturing, fluids, and motion

Instructors will-fischerWill Fischer
Tuesday, January 26, 2021 01:00 pm EST - Tuesday, February 23, 2021 01:00 pm EST Local time zone:
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Welcome to Prototyping in Mechanical Engineering!  

Tickets to this course

I'll give you a toolkit to think about the world as a mechanical engineer does, and I'll impart some of my knowledge from years of prototyping and mechanical system design.  I'll throw in some anecdotes from my past, including cocktail robots, nanotechnology, and other hilarious subjects. 

This course is aimed at technical people, and I'll teach with an assumption that you already know basic physics, chemistry, and algebra.  The pace of the class will be extremely quick; we have a lot to cover in a very short amount of time and this class is really meant as an overview of decades of my experience.

Materials: You won't need anything special to participate in the course, but I do recommend taking notes, since we'll be moving very quickly.  In week 3, I'll give a list of the twelve tools I think are most critical to engineering, but you won't need those to take the class (just to implement it on your own stuff!).

About me: Will Fischer is a serial entrepreneur, mechanical engineer, and patent agent with more than a decade of engineering experience in medical devices, material science, nanotechnology, semiconductor, robotics, and furniture. He has a BS and MME from Rice University and an MBA from University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and resides in Berlin, Germany where he teaches classes on machining, manufacturing, and business and consults as a prototyping engineer and business strategist.

His hobby has been building cocktail robots and his team has won 3 First Prizes at the San Francisco Cocktail Robotics Grand Challenge for their robots N.E.Bree-8 and The Blaster. He is currently working on his 6th cocktail robot in Berlin.

Hackaday Class 5.pdf

These are the slides from the fifth lecture: Motion, Gearing, and Actuation

Adobe Portable Document Format - 3.69 MB - 03/15/2021 at 23:10


Hackaday Class 4.pdf

These are the slides from the fourth lecture: Fluids and Thermodynamics

Adobe Portable Document Format - 5.84 MB - 03/15/2021 at 23:09


Hackaday Class 3.pdf

These are the slides from the third lecture: Fabrication and Machining

Adobe Portable Document Format - 4.73 MB - 02/11/2021 at 08:02


Hackaday Class 2.pdf

These are the slides from the second lecture: Materials (and how to select them)

Adobe Portable Document Format - 10.74 MB - 02/08/2021 at 13:46


Hackaday Class 1.pdf

These are the slides from the first lecture: Introduction and How to Read a Schematic Drawing

Adobe Portable Document Format - 5.31 MB - 02/08/2021 at 13:45


  • Class 1: Introduction to Prototyping, Schematics, and Drawings

    Will Fischer12/23/2020 at 11:27 0 comments

    This is our intro class, and I'll talk about my background, why engineers prototype, and I'll finish with important information on how to read and think about schematic drawings and buying parts from vendors.

      1. Introduction
        1. Who I am and my background
        2. How I tend to work
        3. Course intro
          1. What is Mechanical Engineering?
          2. What to expect to learn
          3. Pace
      2. Why prototype?
        1. Move quickly
        2. Learn from your prototypes
      3. Drawings
        1. Why drawings are important
        2. How to read a drawing
        3. Things to keep in mind when creating a drawing
        4. Inspection

    Image used in Quiz 1

    Class 1 Video:

  • Class 2: Materials and Material Selection

    Will Fischer12/23/2020 at 11:31 0 comments

    This class will be a lightning quick overview of material science, an important facet of mechanical engineering

    Class 2 - Materials

    1. Why materials are important
      1. Considerations in selection
    2. Types of materials
      1. Metals
        1. Aluminum
        2. Steel
        3. Others
      2. Plastics / Polymers
        1. Cheap plastics
        2. ‘Designer’ plastics
        3. Elastomers
    3. Ceramics
    4. Composites/Other
      1. Wood
      2. Carbon fiber / fiberglass
      3. Other

    Class 2 Video:

  • Class 3: Fabrication, Tools, and the Machine Shop

    Will Fischer12/23/2020 at 11:34 0 comments

    This course will cover methods of conventional fabrication and will include a list of twelve essential tools to own.  Plus, we'll talk about how to use your machine shop (or how to select a good one).

    1. Types of fabrication
      1. Additive
      2. Subtractive
        1. Cutting
        2. Grinding
        3. Others
      3. Welding
    2. Will’s List of Twelve Tools To Own
    3. How to design for the machine shop

    Class 3 Video:

  • Class 4: Fluids

    Will Fischer12/23/2020 at 11:38 0 comments

    In another speedy overview, we'll discuss some of the knowledge necessary to design fluid systems.  Will include anecdotes from my background in cocktail robotics and practical design criteria to help you build your own piping, pumping, and valving systems.

    1. Definition of a ‘fluid’
    2. Piping
    3. Pressure vessel design
    4. Pumping systems
    5. Valves

    Class 4 Video:

  • Class 5: Motion, Gears, and Actuation

    Will Fischer12/23/2020 at 11:42 0 comments

    The class you've all been waiting for: how stuff moves.  We'll cover some of the math of actuation, as well as an overview of the different parts you can use to move things around.  I'll get into how each different system works so that you can understand the theory behind selecting things.  Because movement is at the core of mechanical engineering, we have to build up to this!

    1. Introduction to motion
      1. The math of motion
    2. Gearing systems
      1. Spurs
      2. Bevels
      3. Worms
      4. Differential
      5. Transmissions
      6. Clutches
    3. Actuation
      1. Linear actuation
        1. Solenoids
        2. Pneumatics/hydraulics
        3. Electrical linear actuators
      2. Rotary actuation
        1. Standard DC motors
        2. Servos 
        3. Steppers

    Class 5 Video:

  • Weekly Quizzes

    Lutetium01/26/2021 at 00:08 0 comments

View all 6 course classes

Enjoy this course?



Bowwerreinaldoson4 wrote 05/28/2022 at 11:36 point

Wow, really amazing course. As you have designed the course in a very explanatory way. Is there any course related to web designing so that I could get it and make our a brand. Because I have started this project since 2020 and still working on it.

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tiydaresto wrote 03/29/2021 at 17:30 point


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Narashiman wrote 03/27/2021 at 12:01 point

Really brilliant course. Thanks Will. Looking forward to learn more from you.

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