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University of Arizona, UA Senior Design Program, Senior Design, Engineering 498
PSE Archery logoUniversity of Arizona, UA Senior Design Program, Senior Design, Engineering 498After sponsoring a 2015 UA Engineering Design team that helped double its rate of compound bow production, without increasing the number of employees on the assembly line, Precision Shooting Equipment is back for a second year. This time to create an affordable American-made crossbow for beginning shooters.

Team 1402’s time studies during the fall of 2014 and spring of 2015 tracked assembly-line movement of the crossbow, employees and resources. Based on results of the study, which determined precisely how long each assembly operation took, the team recommended cutting batch size to promote single-piece flow, redesigning the assembly floor layout, and implementing a conveyor belt, system designs the company has built on to significantly decrease cost of production of its hand-assembled crossbows. Members of the team included systems engineering majors Bryan Krause and Michael Miramontez, mechanical engineering seniors Clark Pedersen and Robert McLean, industrial engineering senior Ryan Saunders, and electrical engineering major Chris Carr.

This year, UA Interdisciplinary Engineering Design Team 15022 has big shoes to fill.

Mechanical engineering seniors Joseph Lucero, Austin Masterson and Ahmed Mustafawi, systems engineering student Matthew Modean, and materials science and engineering major Kyle Vinh Nguyen are tasked with creating a crossbow constructed at least 80 percent from components already available at PSE’s Tucson, Arizona, facilities.

PSE, one of the world’s largest privately owned archery equipment manufacturers, intends to expand its manufacturing repertoire with its own version of the Taiwan-imported Fang 350.

“We want to build a crossbow valued at $299 to $399, something that is lightweight, fast and quiet,” said Bret Simon, PSE vice president of operations. “There is no reason we can’t make our own product right here in Tucson.”

lockheed martin_51A7266_00Members of Engineering Design Team 1425 presented their 2015 project in August at the largest international multidisciplinary optical sciences and technology gathering in North America, the SPIE Optics + Photonics Conference. Mechanical engineering graduates Richard Bates and Harrison Herzog and senior Jeremy Smith drew the attention of hundreds in San Diego as they demonstrated their 3-D printed mirror – strong enough to endure the polishing process and stiff enough to eliminate print-through.

“Our room was almost full, and there were people standing in the back of the room. They wanted to see what we had done,” said Bates. “We were lucky to be sponsored by Lockheed Martin, go to the conference and network with people in the industry.”

About 180 companies were represented at the 2015 conference, with an attendance of more than 4,500.

“Normally with metal optics you have stress on the optics from mounting it,” Smith explained. “This way the mounting is already done, and there is an optical mirror ready to go.”

Key challenges included reducing the mirror’s porosity and determining the best polishing methods.

“I think we are among the first to polish a material within a 3-D printer,” said Smith.

While the team was not able to perfect the process – the 3-D printer used to make the optical mirror created bubbles on the surface of the titanium during the manufacturing process – the project, “Optical Fabrication of Light-Weighted 3-D Printed Mirrors,” proved the feasibility of metal 3-D printing of optical mirrors.

“3-D printing has not made it yet with what we were doing, but I think 3-D will get to that point; we just need more time,” said Bates, who is now employed with Apple in California. Herzog is at NASA, and Smith is looking forward to graduating in December.

University of Arizona, UA Senior Design Program, Senior Design, Engineering 498


More sponsors and students than ever before filled the Grand Ballroom in the Student Union on Aug. 28, 2015, for the Engineering Design Program’s Open House. The kickoff event provided an opportunity for 368 engineering seniors to meet with industry and faculty sponsors to discuss 70 projects.


Richard Fox of Honeywell (left) talks with a potential student regarding his project during Open House. (Photo by Julian Ybarra)

“We are pleased that our sponsors recognize the great value in this program,” said Ara Arabyan, director of the Engineering Clinic at the University of Arizona, which oversees the Engineering Design Program. “This is a course where students transition to professional careers, and employers see opportunities to recruit tried and tested top talent.”

Companies also say the program is an opportunity to advance new technology.

“Industry doesn’t have anything like the project we have proposed,” said Honeywell’s Richard Fox.
“If the students succeed, we will have a potential new design that can be applied in industry.”

New Companies, New Ideas

Along with longtime multiproject industry sponsors such as Raytheon Missile Systems, Honeywell Aerospace, Ventana Medical Systems (Roche Group), Texas Instruments and B/E Aerospace, this year’s Open House welcomed several new companies, among them powerhouses Procter & Gamble, Southwest Gas and Shamrock Foods, as well as local companies Western Design Center, PACE Technologies, ACSS (L-3 Communications), Control Vision, Hydronalix, Lightsense Technology, Xeridiem Medical Devices, Universal Avionics, Securaplane Technologies, and CardioSpark. Back in the mix for their second year of sponsorships were Tucson Electric Power, Lincus Energy, NeuroMetrix and PSE-Archery.

Check out all of the 2016 Engineering Senior Design projects and sponsors.
The projects areas are as varied as their sponsors, for example:

  • From a heart rate monitor for athletes to a laser based collision prevention system, Texas Instruments’ five projects alone cover a wide range of designs.
  • Shamrock Foods is exploring a way to recycle and reuse 500,000 gallons of water used daily in processing and cleaning.
  • Hydronalix is sponsoring two project to advance its robotic rescue system, Emily, a 4-foot-long, remote-controlled buoy that cruises at speeds up to 22 mph to reach distressed swimmers.
  • Newcomer Xeridiem’s project focuses on more effective use of nasogastric tubes for patients unable to ingest food and medication orally.

Familiar Faces, Full Circle

Some graduates of ENGR 498, the course that encompasses the Senior Design Program, traded in their roles as students for those of sponsors, recruiting the perfect students for the perfect project.

Ben Subeck and Huy Le, who graduated in 2015, returned for this year’s Open House as representatives for Raytheon.

“Without the 498 program, I wouldn’t have the experience I have now, and I wouldn’t be where I am today in my career,” said Subeck. “There are things I have applied on the job that I only gained through the program.”

Boeing representative Danielle Craig (Class of 2011) added, “My executives love that we do this. Every year after Engineering Design Day, I give a presentation of what the students did… That’s why we keep coming back, because it’s such a good program.”

Check out the photos from Open House!


With the new round of capstone projects for 2015, Ivar Sanders begins his seventh year as a mentor for the Engineering Senior Design Program. A University of Minnesota graduate, the retired electrical engineer who spent 35 years in California, now calls Tucson home.

Having worked with companies such as Honeywell, National Semiconductor and Nokia, and been involved with three startups, Sanders brings to the program a wealth of leadership experience and a breadth of knowledge in wired and wireless networking, hardware development and strategic technology.

More than anything, Sanders said, the program gives students a chance to sample their future careers.

“The projects are more complex than anything they have worked on until this point. We try to give them an idea of how industry plans and designs products. These are real world-projects. That’s the wonderful thing about this program: This is not make-work; these are things that sponsoring companies actually want to accomplish.”

Over the years, including his time as a vice president of engineering for a Silicon Valley semiconductor firm and as a mentor in the Senior Design Program, Sanders has especially enjoyed forming multimodal teams that merge different skill sets and perspectives.

“Working on an interdisciplinary team is particularly valuable for students,” said Sanders. “It exposes them to peers from different specialties, and it helps them learn how to collaborate on everything from product design to time management as they figure out how to distribute the workload, plan their tasks and budgets, build a prototype and do all the testing.”

Mentoring the budding engineers also gives Sanders a chance to ride the wave of new technology.

“I like working with the students, and I like the broad range of projects that are brought into the program. The fact that this is an interdisciplinary program is a real plus. We try to mix it up and encourage the sponsoring companies to propose multifaceted projects that require different kinds of expertise.”