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Mechanical Engineering Project Ideas

Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail If you were in a raiding army in the Middle Ages, a catapult would come in mighty handy for taking down castle walls. But only if you could aim it reliably! With this science project, you will try your hand at catapult technology. Using a rubber-band-powered catapult you will send ping pong balls flying through the air. The catapult's design makes it easy to measure and repeat how hard the ball is launched and its direction, so you can find the right catapult settings to hit the target reliably. Read more
ApMech_p008
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability A catapult kit is needed; see the Materials tab for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Do not aim the catapult at breakable objects or people; minor injury possible.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Why do so many people use cell phone cases? Do cell phones really need the extra protection, or is it just because cases look fancy? In this engineering science project, you will test the durability of calculators instead of cell phones, find out if cases increase the durability of the device, and build some of your own cases that do! Read more
ApMech_p050
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Music boxes, bicycles, and clocks all have one thing in common: GEARS! You might say that gears make the world turn, since they are in so many mechanical instruments. How do they work and how do you know which gears to use? Find out in this simple experiment. Read more
ApMech_p016
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Amaze your friends and family by moving water with just a few turns of your wrist! Nope, it's not a magic trick. It's simply an Archimedes screw. In this science project, you will build a very simple pump, called an Archimedes screw, to transfer water from a low-lying location to a higher location. Read more
ApMech_p039
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Minor injury possible. Be careful when cutting the tubing.
Science Fair Project Idea
When you open up your presents on your birthday, you probably don't spend a lot of time admiring the wrapping—you'd much rather see what's inside. It can be the same way with the packaging that products come in, but packaging is important for protecting the things we buy as they make their way from the factory to our homes. How much shock force is produced when a box gets dropped accidentally? What kinds of materials work best to protect products from damage? This project can show you… Read more
ApMech_p009
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty item
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail How much force does it take to drive a nail through different types of wood? In this project you'll build a simple test apparatus to swing a hammer reproducibly so you can find out. Read more
ApMech_p024
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision and assistance recommended (power tools used to assemble test apparatus).
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever set up a line of dominoes and watched them fall? If you wanted to make your line of dominoes fall faster, do you think you should set the dominoes up with more or less space between them? Set your dominoes up in a straight line, using a ruler to keep the spacing between them constant. Try different spacings at 0.5cm increments. Conduct multiple trials at each spacing, and time how long it takes for a fixed total length of dominoes to fall (e.g., a 1.5 or 3.0 meter length of… Read more
ApMech_p034
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
The funny thing about friction is that you couldn't get anywhere without it, yet it still acts to slow you down as you're getting there. Here is an easy project to measure the effects of friction. Read more
ApMech_p012
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
How much force can a rubber band withstand before breaking? Do rubber bands that stretch longer take more or less force to break? How does the elasticity of a rubber band change with temperature? Use a spring scale to measure the applied force, and a meter stick or ruler to measure the change in length. Recording with a video camera (or possibly two) can help you to capture the values at the moment before the rubber band breaks. You can change the temperature of the rubber bands using… Read more
ApMech_p033
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail When something goes wrong, do you like to try to figure out why? Engineers do this all the time. They even have a fancy name for it: failure analysis. Understanding how different materials break is an important part of failure analysis. Here's a project with one approach to studying the way things break. Read more
ApMech_p014
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision recommended, eye protection required.
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