James Madison University

Design, Build, Deploy

Corey Allison, Engineering Freshman, provides his prospective on the FLING.

PHOTO: Duke Dog Fling

Twenty teams signed up, six persevered.  What does it take to compete in the Third Annual Freshman Design Competition?

“Be patient, think things through, and consider the forces with whatever design is built.” says Corey Allison, first place winner.  From start to finish, students have approximately six weeks to design, build, and test a prototype that will “fling” a stuffed Duke Dog 50 feet. 

PHOTO: Duke Dog Fling A budget of $70.00, the use of recycled components and a catapult weighing in at 50 pounds will earn points with the judges on Game Day.  “My teams’ catapult releases over 60 lbs of spring force on each release.  By the time the competition was completed, major cracks and faults began forming all over the catapult,” said Allison.

The engineering design process characterizes ill-defined problems with multiple, often conflicting, requirements and constraints.  Judges evaluate students on economics, sustainability, team collaboration, and technical performance.  This forces them to think about multiple requirements and constraints simultaneously.  Educating students to become creative and critical systems-level thinkers that design sustainable engineering solutions is the first step in the educational process.  Students design and build a project in almost every semester between now and the end of their senior year.

Freshmen learn more about the engineering design process, techniques, and strategies.  They work together and get to know one another other, the faculty, and our industry partners.  It is a great community-building activity.  

PHOTO: Duke Dog Fling

The FLING is a great component to the Department of Engineering, and I strongly encourage all incoming students to participate.  Seeing ideas come together into a physical object was a great thrill!” Allison said. 

Each year, the competition is held on Family Weekend.  Learn more.

View the 2010 competition video

View the 2010 photos on flickr