Capstone Design

Welcome to Mechanical and Materials Engineering's Capstone Design webpage

We are always looking for fresh opportunities for our students to work directly with clients in industry to help solve practical engineering problems. While the benefits to the students are obvious, our industrial partners also benefit.

  • You will receive the output of 80 person-hours of work per team member from a team of 4th year students spread over 3 months in the Fall for design work
  • An additional 80 person-hours of work per team member in the Winter term if your project proceeds to the prototyping stage
  • Teams are typically made up or four or five students ... for a potential of between 320 to 800 person-hours of work depending on if a tested prototyped design is a desired outcome
  • The chance to get to know some potential new-hires with an interest in your industry
  • An opportunity to work with one of our Faculty members as they advise your team(s) through the process

The annual nature of the program means we need to get descriptions ready for review by the students before they start classes in early September. Ideally discussions regarding project ideas should happen in the June-July time period.

If you have a suitable project, please contact the course instructor to discuss your ideas, Jan Sneep, P.Eng. at 613-533-6000 ext 79575 or via email:

An Ideal Capstone Design Project

Although the list below provides some of the characteristics of an ideal project, there is plenty of scope to include any project that provides a practical engineering challenge to the student team.

  • A challenging design problem related to a real industrial application - something that is likely to be implemented.
  • Not necessarily limited to pure mechanical design - can include analysis and process development, etc.
  • Client representative should preferably be an engineer.
  • The project should not be on the critical path to any time sensitive client goals. There is always the risk that student designs may not meet deadlines or may not be feasible for implementation.

Client Commitments

The client commitment is relatively minor and potential rewards substantial. The client is expected to provide a cash amount $1,500 to support the program, cover material and machine shop costs, and provide in-kind support including:

  • Client staff time for liaison with the student design team to:
    • clearly define scope and objectives of the project
    • provide necessary technical information specific to the industry or project
    • provide feedback on proposed approaches to the problem
    • typically on the order of an hour a week over 12 weeks, no marking required
  • An opportunity for students to visit the client site if located in Ontario
  • A signed letter of support on company letterhead to assist us in obtaining matching funds from government sources.

Projects only proceed in the Winter semester with the approval of the client, the student team, and the course instructional team. The client commitment includes continued staff time plus any additional resources necessary to complete the project. These would include such things as materials, machine shop expenses, equipment purchases/rentals, etc. A budget for those costs will be established prior to any work commencing.

Queen's Commitments

The course coordinator will try to find you a suitable student team to match up with your project, although there may be more projects than teams available.

The course instructor meets with the students every two weeks to:

  • provide project management guidance and support
  • monitor progress
  • evaluate their work; from both a communications and management perspective
  • provide feedback to encourage innovative solutions to the design challenges

Each project will be assigned a faculty advisor who will meet regularly with the students to:

  • provide specific technical advice and guidance
  • monitor progress
  • evaluate their work; from both a communications and technical perspective
  • provide feedback to encourage continuous improvement of the designs

The students will:

  • Spend 8 - 12 hours on the project in a typical week over ten weeks in both the Fall and Winter terms
  • Consult with you, usually by email or conference call, regularly throughout the term
  • Provide you with:
    • regular progress updates
    • a copy of the final design report by mid-December
    • a copy of the final project report by the end of April
    • and other deliverables as specified through out the year

Project Descriptions

Each project requires a description so we can match student teams with projects. These descriptions are posted on the course web page for students to review, so they should not contain any proprietary information. In the first week of classes students submit a letter of intent applying to the projects they would prefer to work on, so an attractive description is more likely to get strong student interest. Please follow this format as far as possible.

If you have a suitable project, please contact the course instructor to discuss your ideas, Jan Sneep, P.Eng. at 613-533-6000 extn 79575 or via email: