6 Engineering Design Competitions for College Students

Are you an engineering student looking for real opportunities to test your knowledge and put your theories into action? In this post, we discuss six different engineering design competitions that are open to students, ranging from miniature tractor construction, to racecar building, to constructing fighting robots.

SAE Formula One Competition

For any engineer in training who fancies him or herself a gearhead or who admires the sleek, aerodynamic construction of racing cars, this is the competition for you. Hosted by the Society of Automotive Engineers, the SAE Formula One competitions allows students to not only design their own formula one racer, but also to build it. Students in the competition get to put their knowledge to the test by drawing up the plans for their perfect racecar, assembling the vehicle, and having student drivers operate them in the competition’s eight different events. The cars are tested not only for their speed, but also their endurance, their fuel economy, and other important automotive criteria, which means that even if your car isn’t the fastest, it still has a chance to win overall based on the quality of its construction.

ASME Student Design Competition

The ASME Student Design Competition is designed to “[showcase] the extraordinary talents of mechanical engineering students while encouraging them to develop innovative ideas towards an improved quality of life for all.” The competition takes the form of multiple competitions, in which teams of up to four students test their inventions against others at regional competitions, with the winners moving on to the ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition. Last year’s event featured a drone-building contest, in which teams from all over the world created their own designs for unpiloted aircraft and submitted them for competition.

National Robotics League

If the box office numbers for the Transformers movies tell us anything, it’s that people enjoy watching robots battle it out with each other. The National Robotics League certainly likes the idea, anyway—the organization hosts an event in which students are encouraged to partner up with industrial companies and design their own robots, which are then pitted against other students’ creations. This competition not only lets students test their skills in a fun way, but also gives them the chance to make contacts with professionals and companies in the industry.

VEX Robotics

Similar to the National Robotics League’s robot fighting competition, VEX Robotics hosts a robot-building contest for engineering students where contestants’ creations are made to compete with each other. Instead of fighting, VEX’s competition has the students and their robots compete with each other at games; last year’s game separated the contestants into teams of two, and then had them race to stack colored cubes.

Steel Bridge Competition from AISC

While it’s less flashy than the previous two competition’s robot arena battles, the American Institute of Steel Construction’s bridge building competition also provides students with a chance to test their knowledge in a practical way. Every year, the competition asks students to build miniature replicas of steel bridges, with a particular set of parameters attached to the situation. For example, last year’s match asked students to design a bridge that could span the seventeen-foot Nogo River, and allow farm and commerce vehicles to pass over it.

International ¼ Scale Tractor Student Design Competition

For any engineering student who is fascinated with tractors and farming equipment, this one’s a great choice. Students taking part in the competition are given an engine and four tires, and are left to come up with the rest of their replica tractor themselves. Entries are then judged on factors including design, manufacturability, safety, and loudness over the course of a mock sales meeting and two performance tests.

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Sources

1. https://www.asme.org/events/competitions/student-design-competition

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