Well hey there! Are you surviving? I hope so! If not, I’m sending hugs and good vibes through the screen :DD
And as promised, a breakdown of the semester 1 courses, in all their glory!
MECHENG 201: Introduction to Mechatronics
Do you love Hazim with all your heart? I’m glad you do, because there’s never a dull moment with him in this course! Because we started semester one online, we randomly joined breakout rooms and awkwardly interacted with the person who would now be our partner for the rest of the semester. I took the initiative to message a fellow girl whose name I recognised from posting memes on the Part I Facebook page, who fortunately agreed to be my partner (thanks Kate!). For this first project, we got to program (janky) VEX robots to follow a certain path! But beware, this is a lot harder than it sounds – you’ll learn all about PI and P controllers, overshooting, line following, etc along the way.
This year we’ve also had two other wonderful lecturers: Justine, who’ll teach you all about filters, microcontrollers and microprocessors; and Minas, who introduces you to electronics, sensors and actuators. I thoroughly enjoyed both the content and the projects in this course – looks like I’m in the right spec!
MECHENG 235: Design and Manufacture 1
You may have noticed this paper ends with a “1”, because yes, there is another. However, this is the first and only encounter mechatronics students will have with this paper – the future versions are for mechanical students only. (We instead begin our journey into software design in second sem, which is the only course that differs from mechanical in Part II.)
There are two main projects in this course, the Warman Project and the Window Washer Project. The Warman project is done in groups of four, and you’ll be conceptually designing a system to compete in your respective year of the Warman Design and Build Competition (https://warmandesignandbuild.org.au/). If you’re fortunate enough to have landed in a year with minimal impact from COVID, you’ll have the opportunity to actually build your system to compete!
The Window Washer Project is quite different from the previous one – this time you work in pairs to design a window washer gantry system. This project involves less CAD, but you learn how to select components from catalogues to utilise in your design. You’re not given heaps of guidance in this project, and there’s a fair bit of intersection with MECHENG 242 (up next!).
MECHENG 242: Mechanics of Materials 1
Again, another course that ends with “1” which we (thankfully) don’t encounter again in our mechatronics journey. I say thankfully, because I personally struggled a fair bit with this paper. I’d strongly suggest actually doing and keeping up with the study aids provided, because you develop a good sense of how to properly tackle the problems so you’re not panicking before the exam. I continuously chucked them to the bottom of my priority list and ended up neglecting them as a result. Wouldn’t recommend.
As stated in my last post, this course is the literal child of ENGGEN 121 and CHEMMAT 121. The overarching topics we covered were axial loading, bending of beams, shear stresses, torsion, failure, elastic deformation and stress states. Unfortunately, there are now more than three equations and things get a whole lot more complicated.
ENGSCI 211: Mathematical Modelling 2
I’m gonna keep this short, as you’ll probably see a breakdown of this from every blogger to have ever lived.
There are four topics: ODE’s, Linear Algebra, Multivariable Calculus and Data Analysis. Data Analysis (DA) is the new topic here, and the section of the exam which I (amongst many other students) completely bombed because I ran out of time. (Lesson learnt? Time management is important.)
My key piece of advice? Don’t rely too heavily on online calculators when you’re studying. They’re a great tool for checking your answers, but if you skip the process of actually doing the maths too frequently, you’re going to get clapped in your tests and exams. (Exams with a plural? Yep! You’ll need these skills in future courses too.)
And how are you doing, Sarina?
I thought you’d never ask! I’m still recovering from the onslaught of tests which coincided with the week of the engineering revue, but other than that, surviving! Speaking of revue… have you considered joining? If it’s something you’re interested in, come on over! Not a stage person? Not a problem! There’s plenty of roles behind the scenes doing backstage work, tech stuff, tron, props, writing, etc – none of which you need experience for. Come join me behind the sound desk if you dare!
In my next post I’ll introduce the semester 2 courses, and shine some light on the difference between mechanical and mechatronics!
Until next time!