Department - Author 1

Mechanical Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Mechanical Engineering



Primary Advisor

James Widmann


As a part of the Cal Poly Mechanical Engineering curriculum, all students must take part in a three quarter long senior design project. Students are presented with existing problems, select a project, and then apply the knowledge they have gained throughout their academic career to design and build a solution. The intent behind this project is to create an experience that is similar to an engineering project in industry, by applying engineering and teamwork skills to solve a problem.

Team Trikeceratops’ mission was to develop an adaptive adjustable tricycle to be used in the Special Education Department of the Buena Park School District for recreational use and physical therapy. The design team was comprised of four Cal Poly mechanical engineering students and a kinesiology student-consultant who worked through three primary design phases over the course of nine months to develop a functional prototype. These phases included ideation and conception, detailed design, and manufacturing, all of which have different requirements that call for a variety of skill sets.

During ideation and conception, Team Trikeceratops developed lists of requirements from sponsor input, divided the project into components, generated ideas, and refined the options to reach an overall conceptual design. This initial phase was also essential in developing a team mentality and establishing the basic rules and guidelines by which the team would operate. At the end of ideation and conception, the team had developed a full theoretical design that would meet the customer requirements.

Detailed design was the second phase wherein the students took the conceptual design and applied engineering knowledge to clearly define the solution. In this phase, most of the more stereotypical engineering occurred. Students sized tubing for the frame, performed calculations and analysis on components, created manufacturing drawings, identified part numbers for acquisition, and began contacting companies for parts and services. At the end of detailed design, the team had a bill of materials, manufacturing plan, contact information for suppliers, and fully dimensioned drawings for manufacturing custom parts.

The third phase of product development was manufacturing and testing. Students cut, notched, welded, and machined various custom components while simultaneously overcoming problems of improper sizing and extended lead times on ordered materials. Following this process, the students tested the tricycle to ensure that it met the customer requirements set forth in the Design Verification Plan and Report (DVPR). At the end of this phase a functioning prototype was completed and staged for delivery and the final report was compiled.

This remainder of this report details Team Trikeceratops’ progress from initial concept generation to prototype realization and explores each part of the aforementioned engineering design process in depth.