Designing the magnetorquer winding device was the practical portion of a required course in “engineering design”. The course taught a new framework for engineering design proposed by Peter Ostafichuk in his book The Engineering Design Process: An Introduction for Mechanical Engineers 3rd Ed. Ostafichuk’s method is very similar to the traditional paradigms of engineering design, but he proposes a detailed process with specific tasks to perform at each stage during design. Among them are,
- concept generation,
- concept selection,
- testing, and
- engineering analysis.
However, the method also included detailed techniques such as how to create concept fragments through a functional decomposition, and how to re-assemble them. The theoretical portion of the course was very thorough.
The practical portion was a project, chosen from four potential projects, by groups of five students who designed them using the principles taught in the course. My group chose a magnetorquer winding machine as our design project of choice. We carried the project through Ostafichuk’s design method up to the prototyping phase at which time the course was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We were still able to document and present our progress on the project, though. The final presentation video can be found here:
Overall, the project proved to be a great opportunity to solidify our understanding of the design process and apply it in a practical setting.