on September 11th, 2023

In the digital age, online education has opened a world of possibilities for students pursuing engineering disciplines.  

While theoretical knowledge forms the foundation, practical skills are equally crucial. Engaging in Do It Yourself (DIY) engineering projects can bridge the gap between theory and application, fostering a deeper understanding of concepts.  

Testing Your Theory  

Testing theories in a practical way is of paramount importance for engineering students.  

The Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) provides students interested in pursuing a career in engineering with the flexibility to choose between online and on-campus study options. 

On-campus students have access to hands-on practical experiences in fields encompassing mechanical, electrical, civil, and renewable engineering. They have the advantage of engaging directly with physical experiments and equipment to reinforce their learning.  

In contrast, online students make use of remote labs and software simulations to replicate practical experiences, ensuring that they can acquire essential skills and knowledge in a virtual environment.  

As most of EIT’s online students are working in industry – where they gain much of their hands-on experience, these DIY projects are handy additions for all students, online and on-campus. 

Why Are Engineering Practical’s Important?  

Theoretical knowledge forms the foundation of engineering education, but it’s only through practical application that students truly grasp the intricacies and nuances of their field. Hands-on experimentation not only validates theoretical concepts but also exposes students to real-world challenges and constraints that textbooks can’t fully capture.  

It evolves problem-solving skills, fosters creativity, and creates a deep understanding of the engineering principles that underpin their work.  

Ultimately, it is through practical testing that engineers can turn their theories into tangible, functional solutions that drive progress and innovation in the world. 

Here are ten creative DIY projects tailored for online students to enhance their practicality and hands-on expertise: 

Arduino-based Home Automation System 

Creating a home automation setup using Arduino boards, sensors, and actuators is an engaging project that combines coding, circuit design, and sensor integration. This project allows students to control lights, fans, and appliances remotely while gaining valuable technical skills. 

The home automation circuit is built around an Arduino Uno board, Bluetooth module HC-05, and a 1-channel relay board. The number of channels depends on the number of appliances you wish to control.  

What you will need: Arduino Uno, Arduino HC-05 Bluetooth module, relay module, lamp holder with bulb, one light switch, and sunk box.  

This will help students who are pursuing a study career in Electrical Engineering or Electronics Engineering.  

Solar-Powered Charger 

Designing a portable solar charger for smartphones or small devices involves selecting efficient solar panels, integrating energy storage solutions, and creating an optimized charging circuit.  

Solar-powered chargers are important because they provide a sustainable and portable source of energy, allowing us to charge devices in environmentally friendly ways, especially in off-grid or remote locations. 

Creating a portable solar charger enhances skills in electronics, renewable energy, programming, and mechanical design, making you proficient in sustainable technology development. 

What you will need: a 5-volt 1w solar panel and a power bank charging circuit. 

This will help students who are pursuing a study career in Electrical Engineering, Materials Science, and Renewable Energy. 

3D-Printed Mechanical Puzzle 

Crafting a complex mechanical puzzle with a 3D printer is a project that sharpens design, materials, and precision engineering skills.  

This offers a hands-on understanding of the fusion between creativity and engineering, translating digital designs into functional, tangible objects. 

It encourages creativity, problem-solving, and precision, fostering a well-rounded skill set that can be applied in various technical and creative endeavors. Additionally, it demonstrates the capabilities of modern technology and promotes innovation in design and manufacturing.  

What you will need: 3D Printer, 3D printing filament, screws, hinges, locking mechanism, and 3D modeling software.  

This will help students who are pursuing a study career in Mechanical Engineering.  

Mini Wind Turbine 

Building a small-scale wind turbine for electricity generation is a practical project that involves optimizing blade designs, gear systems, and electrical connections.  

It is important because it promotes sustainable energy solutions. It enables individuals to harness clean and renewable wind power, contributing to a greener and more environmentally friendly energy mix.  

This hands-on endeavor focuses on maximizing power output from wind energy while considering safety, material selection, and environmental factors. 

What you will need: an old fan, PVC pipe, plastic blades, small DC motor, wires, diode, connectors, and soldering equipment.   

This will help students who are pursuing a study career in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.  

Smartphone Microscope 

Creating a smartphone microscope with a 3D-printed attachment is an engaging project that blends optics, precision engineering, and image magnification principles.  

It involves designing and printing an attachment that aligns with the smartphone’s camera to capture highly magnified images. This DIY microscope offers a practical way to explore the microscopic world and can be applied in various scientific and educational contexts. 

What you will need: a smartphone, laser pointer, poster tack, white paper, clear plastic, flashlight, and water from a puddle.  

This will help students who are pursuing a study career in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering.  

Water Filtration System 

Designing a water filtration system with everyday materials is an educational project that explores filtration mechanisms, fluid dynamics, and purification techniques while addressing real-world water quality challenges.  

This hands-on project enables practical problem-solving and offers insights into ensuring clean water access. 

This enhances skills in problem-solving, engineering, critical thinking, hands-on experience, and environmental awareness. It fosters resource management, research, creativity, collaboration, and safety awareness, offering a practical, multidisciplinary learning experience with real-world relevance. 

What you will need: plastic bottle, cotton, sand, charcoal, gravel, pebbles, dirty water.  

This will help students who are pursuing a career in Civil Engineering.  

Remote-Controlled Car 

Building a remote-controlled car from scratch involves designing the car’s structure, selecting motors and controllers, wiring electronics, and implementing wireless remote control.  

This project fosters problem-solving skills, innovation, and practical engineering applications. 

This provides hands-on learning experience in wireless communication. 

What you will need: Toy-grade RC receiver and transmitter, steering motor, drive motor, battery, large + small gear for larger motor, pinion gear, gear rack, & 4 wheels, electrical hobby wire – 24 gauge, 20x14cm piece of cardboard for the base of the car, bamboo skewers, drinking straw – 3mm, (x2) mini hex nuts for front wheels. 

This will help students who are pursuing a study career in Mechanical, Electronic and Electrical Engineering.  

Raspberry Pi Weather Station 

Creating a weather station with Raspberry Pi involves hardware setup, data collection, analysis, visualization, and remote monitoring. It’s a hands-on project that teaches coding and meteorological concepts, making it perfect for tech enthusiasts and weather enthusiasts alike. 

What you will need: Raspberry Pi board, SD card, SD card reader, 3.5-inch RPi display monitor.  

This will help students who are pursuing a study career in Electrical Computer Engineering.  

Electric Guitar Effects Pedal 

Creating an effects pedal for electric guitars involves a blend of electrical engineering, audio processing, and user interface design. This project includes designing audio circuits, selecting components, and implementing signal processing algorithms to achieve unique guitar effects.  

What you will need: 9 v battery clip, DC power jack, 2 mono jacks, standard 3-pole double throw foot switch, single pod, blue LED, black bezel, black PCB.  

This will help students who are pursuing a study career in Electrical, Audio, and Industrial Design Engineering.  

Automated Plant Watering System 

Creating an automated plant watering system involves a blend of control systems, and environmental science. It includes integrating moisture sensors, programming microcontrollers for feedback control, and designing efficient irrigation methods.  

Field testing, user interface development, and water conservation are also key components of this project.  

What you will need: Arduino uno, water pump, jumper wire, relay module, soil moisture sensor, forex sheet, 6mm PVC tube.  

This will help students who are pursuing a study career in Environmental, Electrical, and Control Systems Engineering.  

These DIY engineering projects offer online students a hands-on approach to engineering principles and technologies.  

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