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General Card #1319
Truck Bed Ramp Design Project
Updated: 6/8/2023 10:05 AM by Michael Johnson
Reviewed: 10/17/2022 8:12 AM by Becky Benishek
Students design solutions after they have identified the pain of loading ATVs, snowmobiles, and other recreational vehicles into the back of a pick up truck
As part of a design of machine elements course, this design project asks students to design a solution after they have identified the pain of loading ATVs, snowmobiles, and other recreational vehicles into the back of a pick up truck. They must first do research on the market need, intellectual property, codes and standards, and human factors before beginning the design and calculations. While the design is open ended, all solutions to the problem tend to involve stress and strain calculations, shear through pins and other fasteners, fatigue, and overall weight.
Learning Objectives
Skillset Objectives
– Demonstrate an awareness of social, economic, legal, and ethical issues in design
– Follow the design process for a mechanical system
– Assure that the design will fulfill its intended function
– Assess different failure modes in a design
– Select standard components to be used in design

Mindset Objectives
– Demonstrate curiosity about the state of the market and assess whether an idea is commercially viable (curiosity)
– Assess and manage risk in pursuing a business opportunity (connections)
– Integrate knowledge of technical design with the business aspects of launching a product (connections)
Instructor Tips
This design project was implemented in to a design of machine elements course over a 4-5 week period to include a 15-20 minute session to introduce the project with brainstorming, a 50-minute lecture period used for expert group research, and 30 minute team meetings outside of class before turning it over to student teams to complete the analysis and report for their designs.

The hook: Many truck owners like to use the bed to its fullest extent, including loading heavy equipment in the back like this ATV. To do this, the owner needs to be a bit creative on how they load the vehicle!  (see the ppt in the files below for introduction slides)


1. Introduction of project and brainstorming session (15-20 mins of class time)

An introduction to the problem (pain) of loading recreational vehicles in to a truck bed is introduced and then the class is asked to think about all the things they would would need to know in order to design a solution. The students are guided to think past the initial technical considerations. Once a list has been made, each is categorized as either a technical or a business consideration (though other categories may make sense including legal/regulatory considerations).

2. Expert group research on 4 different topics: Current solutions to the problem (market research), related patents, codes and standards, and ergonomics (1 class period of 50 mins)

Each design team of 4 was separated to have 1 member in each of the expert groups.Canvas was utilized to have each expert group add sources and information to the pool. In the last 10-15 minutes of the class period, expert groups were asked to discuss their findings.

3. Customer requirements (out of class assignment)

Design teams were asked to reflect on the information gathered and come up with a list of customer requirements that would determine if their design was a success or not.

4. Initial Designs and Initial Design Review (out of class preparation for 30 min meeting with instructor)

Teams were asked to brainstorm solutions and then assess the feasibility of each before narrowing their pool to 3 solutions. Once completed, the teams scheduled a 30 minute meeting with me to discuss their ideas and decide on a final solution to pursue. (Initially, my thought behind this step was to ensure that the design had enough content to be a good design project for the class but I quickly realized that this wasn't going to be an issue. Instead, I focused on making sure the team knew which calculations I expected.)

5. Final Reports (out of class preparation)

Teams prepared and submitted final design reports which summarized information from all steps.

+ all solutions the students came up with required multiple relevant calculations
+ students were engaged in the brainstorming and expert groups
+ teams felt comfortable asking questions to define expectations
- there was a little confusion with the use of Canvas discussion boards for the expert groups. I would adjust the reporting format if I do it again
- The customer requirements could have a more formal presentation and be incorporated in to the final report better. I like this portion of the staging as it allows them to internalize the brainstorming session and expert group information but I think it could be incorporated better
  • Demonstrate constant curiosity about our changing world
  • Integrate information from many sources to gain insight
  • Assess and manage risk
Creating Value
  • Identify unexpected opportunities to create extraordinary value
  • Determine Design Requirements
  • Perform Technical Design
  • Identify Opportunity
  • Evaluate Tech Feasibility, Customer Value, Societal Benefits & Economic Viability
  • Investigate Market
  • Develop Partnerships & Build Team
  • Validate Market Interest
  • Protect Intellectual Property
Categories & Tags
  • Classroom & Courses
  • Mechanical Engineering
These documents were either presented or given to the students to describe the project and its deliverables
Title Type Ext Date Size Download All Downloads
Truck Bed Ramp System.pptx Presentation .pptx 8/1/2019 8.1 MB 213
Design Project Truck Bed Ramp.pdf Activity / Handout .pdf 8/1/2019 83.5 KB 220
Screenshot_2019-08-01 Topic Expert Group Information.png Other .png 8/1/2019 38.9 KB 204
Samples of student work
Title Type Ext Date Size Download All Downloads
Sample 1: Customer Requirements Student Artifact / Example .docx 9/18/2019 24.5 KB 231
Sample 2: Customer Requirements Student Artifact / Example .docx 9/18/2019 16.5 KB 240
Design Report Rubric Assessment / Rubric .png 9/18/2019 82 KB 233
Sample 3: Design Report Student Artifact / Example .pdf 9/18/2019 3.4 MB 237
Sample 4: Design Report Student Artifact / Example .pdf 9/18/2019 887.7 KB 242