McGill Engineering Design Teams 2016-17

By Fariha Hassan


McGill Engineering has always had a great reputation when it comes to learning all the theoretical aspects of engineering. However, engineering is not meant to be only learned in the classroom behind a desk. Aside from laboratory components in some of our courses, you might be wondering where you could get some hands-on experience. This is where McGill Engineering’s accomplished design teams come in! These design teams are always looking for enthusiastic and driven students to help them compete. Learn more about them here!


McGill Baja Racing Team



What is McGill Baja?

The McGill Baja Racing Team is a student run team that designs, builds and races a single-seat off-road vehicle. We participate in SAE sponsored competitions all around North America in which 100 other universities from around the world also attend. We build a new prototype every year and apart from the stock engine almost everything is custom designed and built by team members. We are coming off from a strong season in which we placed 1st in Quebec City, 4th in Louisville, Kentucky and 8th in California.


How do you operate?

The design phase happens during the fall semester and the manufacturing phase starts just before the winter holidays and continues throughout the winter semester. Testing and competitions happen during the summer. The admin aspect of the team is handled by the captain and VP finance while the technical directors are there to help each sub-team leader in designing and building their system. We have weekly general and sub-team leader meetings along with shop days in which the new members learn about the different aspects of Baja.


What kind of different positions do you have available?

We have some admin oriented positions available such as VP finance or media director. In addition, everyone is welcome to join and take part in the design and manufacture of our Baja. Everyone is welcome to join, no prior experience necessary. We teach new members everything from using CAD software to using the different tools in the shop and working with composites.


What does McGill Baja like to do for fun as a team?

We also like to take a break from the more serious stuff and organize fun team bonding activities such as go-karting, all-you-can eat sushi, fun testing in the old Bajas and many more.


McGill Concrete Canoe



What is McGill Concrete canoe?

McGill Concrete Canoe is made up of more than 60 undergraduate students who annually design and build a canoe out of concrete to compete against dozens of schools both nationally and internationally. The idea sounds crazy, but that is exactly what makes it a challenging and exciting project to work on.


How do you operate? What kind of different positions do you have available?

The team is made up of 6 different subteams that work from September through May to complete the project. The subteams are: concrete mixing, construction, hull design & structural analysis, aesthetics, paddling, and business.


What does McGill Concrete Canoe like to do for fun as a team?

McGill Concrete Canoe likes to build a high level of team spirit each year. The team hosts events such as initiation, member of the month ceremonies, and weekend canoe trips. The team has won the team spirit award twice at competition.


McGill Robotics



What is McGill Robotics?

McGill Robotics is McGill University’s largest student-run engineering design team comprising over 200 members of various educational backgrounds. Our motto is “Inspiring students to build robots, and building robots to inspire students.” We focus on four main projects: the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV); the Mars Rover; the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), also known as the Drone; and RoboHacks, an annual hackathon.


How do you operate?

We collaborate on these projects with the goal of participating in several competitions at the end of the academic year. This will mark our fourth year at RoboSub, our third year at the University Rover Challenge (URC), our third year at the European Rover Challenge (ERC), our first year at the Student Unmanned Aerial Systems Competition (SUAS), and our first year at the Student Unmanned Aircraft System Competition (UAS).

We recruit new members in September through a process we call Mini-Projects. Teams of five to six interested students are given two weeks to build a small robot with an established objective along with the guidance of McGill Robotics members. Following recruitments, we spend the rest of the Fall semester in the conceptual design phase of the robot. In the Winter semester, we focus on building and modifying our design. We also hold weekly meetings and work sessions.


What kind of positions do you have available?

  • Technical team
    • AUV: Mechanical, electrical, software
    • Drone: Mechanical, electrical, software
    • Rover: Mechanical, electrical, software, science
    • RoboHacks
  • Business team
    • Marketing/Design: Management of social media & external communications, oversees the creation of materials.
    • Operations/Outreach: Responsible for logistical tasks of the organization, including managing merchandise orders, inventory, team lists, room booking, and handling basic logistics for RoboHacks. Also organizes team building and “Team Before Machine” events, recruitment events, and the annual team banquet. Outreach Event Coordination with team; Event and Program planning such as TBM scheduling, team building events, organizing team banquet and unveiling. External tasks such as overseeing merchandise and apparel.
    • Sponsorship: Oversees corporate relations of the organization. Communicates with potential and current sponsors, approaches new sources of funding or partnership, and strategizes for improvement in ways which the organization brings value to current sponsors.
    • Finance: Oversees the team’s finances. Approves purchases and reimburses members appropriately. Communicates with EUS and FOAPAL.


What does McGill Robotics like to do for fun as a team?

We hold “Team Before Machine events” which includes bowling, dinners, cabane à sucre outings, and Magic the gathering tournaments. We also hold a Team Banquet to celebrate at the end of the year.


McGill Racing Team (FSAE)



What is FSAE?

FSAE is a formula student design team that builds Formula 1 style prototype to compete against other universities in North America and across the world. These competitions include one in Michigan, Ontario, and Germany. Last season we came 2nd in Design and 6th overall in Ontario. We also placed 6th in Design and were the fastest accelerating single-cylinder engine in Germany!


How do you operate?

We split up the work into different sub-teams, each responsible for designing and building a sub-system of the car: aerodynamics, powertrain, chassis, dynamics (steering and suspensions) and electronics. This gives the opportunity for specialization, so that everyone can have the chance of learning what interests them and doing hands on work. The work also changes throughout the year; the first semester is centered on designing and improving the car, and involves a lot of 3D modeling and creative thinking, while the second semester is about manufacturing the car and making the model come to life. Competitions happen during summer where we travel and race our final product.


What kind of different positions do you have available?

As previously mentioned, we have positions spread out in different sub-systems. In FSAE, members can work on the aerodynamic panels of the car, testing different designs on software and in real, just like they can work on the cooling and air flow and engine if they are part of powertrain. Electronic work in also available where they can work with all the other subsystems to make a cohesive wiring package that is essential to the car running. Other sub-teams include chassis, where most of the work is done with composites, suspensions and steering, or vehicle dynamics which involves modeling the overall design on software. Members can also be part of the media and business team and take care of event planning, finances, and more.


What does FSAE like to do for fun as a team?

One of our big events every year is going go-karting as a team. It sets a great mood for the start of the year and vibe that the McGill Racing Team wants to create. It is also a way for us to spot the good drivers and decide who will race the car during competitions the next year. Other than that, we have team bonding throughout the year, such as a big thanksgiving dinner and spur of the moment outings.


McGill Rocket Team



What is McGill Rocket Team?

McGill Rocket Team is an engineering team that studies, designs, and manufactures rockets in order to compete at various international competitions. We are a team of students that represent almost all faculties at McGill, and we’re currently in our third year of operation.


How do you operate?

Our team has over 100 members. We divide the team into seven different sub-teams, each representing an important aspect of the process. These sub-teams include: aerodynamics, avionics, payload, propulsion, structures, multimedia, and business. Each sub-team hosts meetings on a weekly basis, and we hold full-team general assemblies bi-weekly. Each of our sub-teams has a team lead who is responsible for organizing their sub-team and distributing tasks to its members. At these meetings we integrate the work done separately in each sub-team, and plan future steps for the design and, later, construction of the rocket. In June we present our rocket at the Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition in the United States and compete against many other universities.


What kind of different positions do you have available?

Our team offers a large variety of positions in different areas, from computational fluid dynamics to videography, printed circuit board design, and aerodynamic modeling. Some other cool positions offered are working with propulsion systems, specifically nozzle and combustion chamber design, recovery systems, and structural analysis. We have our major recruitment during the Fall, where interested students are introduced to each sub-team and then submit official team applications.


What does McGill Rocket Team like to do for fun as a team?

 Building rockets is pretty damn fun. (Also, we’re hosting Blues Pub Nov. 18th! It’s gonna be a blast, no pun intended.)


McGill Chem-E-Car



What is McGill Chem-E-Car?

McGill Chem-E-Car is the only design team from the department of Chemical Engineering and was founded in 2013. Since then, the team has substantially grown from 13 to 81 active members. We compete at the AICHE Chem-E-Car Competition every year. Last year, in 2015, we won 1st place in all of North America at the National competition at University of Utah in Salt Lake City, USA.


How do you operate?

We are required to design and create chemically powered vehicle within certain size constraints. This vehicle must be devised to carry a specified cargo over a particular distance. The team is separated into 5 sub-teams to operate as efficiently as possible.


What kind of different positions do you have available?

The five sub-teams that a student can join are:

  1. Stopping Mechanism
  2. Power Source
  3. Mechanical
  4. Electrical and Software
  5. Management


What does McGill Chem-E-Car like to do for fun as a team?

We love to go out for laser tag or have trivia nights. Occasionally, we have an all team meeting where we play fun games such as doing little design competitions.


McGill Formula Electric Team



What is McGill Formula Electric?

The McGill Formula Electric Team is a group of undergraduate students who, each year, design, build and race a formula-style electric prototype at Formula SAE Competitions. The team’s mandate is to understand, develop and implement the latest in green technology so that our graduating members have the tools to perform in the electric vehicle industry. Each summer, we attend multiple competitions, including the Formula SAE Electric Competition (Nebraska, USA), Formula North (Barrie, Ontario), and the University of Toronto Shootout.


How do you operate? What kind of different positions do you have available?

We pride ourselves in the diversity of our members as well as our knowledge. Indeed, we are composed not only of electrical and mechanical engineers, but of all the types as well as a few members from non-engineering faculties. This allows us to be involved with, relate to and appeal to a wide variety of people or industries, thereby spreading our knowledge and passion of green technology.

Our team is composed of 6 sub-groups, each of which focuses on different components of our vehicle: ergonomics, chassis, drivetrain, powertrain, aerodynamics and suspension. However, our members are polyvalent and are often working on all aspects of the car. Involvement requires no previous experience, just passion, autonomy, and a thirst to learn!


What does McGill Formula Electric like to do for fun as a team?

Our team loves to have fun; you’ll often see us at Blues Pub or even as a MERTW team.


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