24/7 Open Labs

All mechanical engineering students can access these labs using PolyCards.

To view the live webcams you must be on the campus network/VPN.  IP addresses are internal to the Cal Poly network and can’t be viewed from off of the campus network.

If you have additional issues, please email us at me-dept@calpoly.edu.

Location: 13-107

The CAD Lab has 18 computer workstations with Mech. Engr. Software and a 36″ color plotter.  ME Students have 24-hour card swipe access with their Calpoly id card.


Eighteen dual screen computers, special software, and peripherals

Description of Equipment/Lab:

Students design parts or products on computers.

Software allows students to analyze their design.

View live web camera
Webcam purchased with money from the ME Student Fee Initiative.
Computers in this lab were funded by Bently Pressurized Bearing Company

Location: 192-132

The Open Lab is equipped with 15 dual monitor computer workstations with ME software for students enrolled in ME classes.  ME Students have 24-hour card swipe access with their Cal Poly id card.

View live webcam
Webcam purchased with money from the ME Student Fee Initiative.

Location: 192-120, 192-131, 192-134

Design and selection of machine elements (bearings, gears, fasteners, springs, etc.) is emphasized in the design course sequence. Some system synthesis is also practiced. ME Students have 24-hour card swipe access to the Design Studios with their Calpoly id card.


Large tables conducive to design team activities and approximately 32 computers with analysis and drawing software

Students work individually and in groups to design various machine elements.

View the HP Design Studios Lab I (Bldg 192-120) webcam

View the HP Design Studios Lab II (Bldg 192-134) webcam

View the Design Communication Lab (Bldg 192-131) webcam

Webcams purchased with money from the ME Student Fee Initiative.

Department Labs and Spaces

Location: 192-135

Lightweight materials are becoming more and more prevalent in automotive applications and other transportation fields as we continue to increase efficiency. Our composites lab gives students first-hand experience in designing, building, and testing composite parts.


Servo-hydraulic tester, small autoclave, torsion tester.

Description of Equipment/Lab:

Lab projects involve fabricating and testing composite specimens, and designing, fabricating, and verification testing of simple structures.

Most data is acquired by a PC-based data acquisition system.

View live web camera
Webcam purchased with money from the ME Student Fee Initiative.

Location: 13-126

The Engine Laboratory at Cal Poly is continuously being upgraded through the generous support of the Honeywell Corporation. The current focus is to prepare the laboratory for a potential shift toward automotive research. A series of senior projects, graduate theses, and student club activities allow students to further develop the lab for instructional use, and to attract externally-funded research programs.

Continuing efforts include enhanced emissions testing equipment, hardware-in-the-loop capabilities, advanced combustion studies, and vehicle prototyping and testing. In addition, a simulation community is being developed to model vehicle subsystems and components. This research lends itself to simulation-based, optimal vehicle design; the results from which will be validated and verified through experimentation. The following list briefly describes the various experiments in the Engine Laboratory, all of which have benefited from the yearly Honeywell contribution.

The Hybrid Vehicle Design Team: This student team prepares students for careers in systems engineering via a multidisciplinary group that draws from a wide range of majors at Cal Poly. Through design, analysis, fabrication, and testing of hybrid electric vehicle systems, students gain a hands-on appreciation for what a real engineering career entails. The team has competed nationally and will now use their vehicle to educate local and state communities about advanced powertrain solutions. The team activities are integrated within the design curriculum, lending ideas to senior projects, graduate theses, and externally-funded research projects.

HCCI: A Volkswagen 1.9-liter TDI engine has been retrofitted to study the Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) process. Students and faculty plan to incorporate gasoline direct injection, compression ratio variability, advanced combustion detectors, and water injection combustion control.

Ford Explorer: This V-8 engine was removed from the FutureTruck Team’s vehicle and is currently being overhauled. Students will apply what they learn in their classes to define a set of duty cycles representative of the engine’s expected use. These driving patterns will then be provided to the new dynamometer controller in order to predict the engine’s ‘real-life’ performance.

Perkins Diesel: Used mainly for instructional purposes in ME444, students are introduced to compression ignition with this heavy-duty diesel. The effects of varying engine controls on power and emissions outputs are studied. Students perform simulated test schedules and validate the models they develop in individual student projects.

CFR: The Co-operative Fuel Research (CFR) Engine has been a mainstay in the Engine Lab for many years. Its purpose is to educate students in the fundamental principles involved in engine design, including: compression ratio, spark timing, air-fuel ratio, and manifold tuning. Engine horsepower is measured with a dynamometer, while emissions are acquired and analyzed.

Water Brake Dynamometers: These dynamometers are used to test the various engines of the SAE teams, as well as provide continuing instruction in various thermal-fluids courses. Two spark ignition engines are attached to these dynamometers at all times for instructional purposes.

Gas Turbines: Engine Lab contributors also explore power generation using gas turbine engines. As with the reciprocating piston engines, turbine output characteristics are investigated as critical inputs are varied.

View live webcam
Webcam purchased with money from the ME Student Fee Initiative.

Location: 192-102

The Fluid Mechanics Laboratory gives students hands-on experience in fundamental and advanced concepts, from the Bernoulli Principle to boundary layer flows and fluid power machinery.


  • Air Flow Bench – for frictionless flow studies and boundary layer measurements
  • Francis Water Turbine and Pelton Wheel – for hydro-power experiments
  • Industrial Axial Fan with LabView instrumentation – for fan performance studies
  • Pipe flow experiment for measurement – for measurement of entrance loss and major friction loss
  • Demonstration wind tunnel – for lift/drag measurements
  • Shear flow test stand – for advanced studies in vortex flow
  • 1,000-gallon weighing tank – for water pump performance studies

View live webcam
This webcam was purchased with money from the ME Student Fee Initiative.

Location: 13-106

Setup for the use of Masters Program students.

View live webcam
This webcam was purchased with money from the ME student Fee Initiative.

Location: 13-132

Students can create their design (digital files), 3-D physical model, enhance quality of their design, and fine-tune their design. Parts up to 10x10x12 inches can be produced using ABS.


  • Rapid prototyping machine
  • The rapid prototyping machine allows students to build plastic prototype models of their designs. Samples are produced by dropping tempered plastic onto the creation platform. Pieces are created from the bottom up. Though some samples can take several hours to produce, the students are able to create and produce their designs even if the design is very intricate.

Location: 13-124

The HVAC Lab focuses on ventilation principles, removal of mass particles, hood and duct system design, and other aspects of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning.


  • HVAC Refrigeration demonstration system, table-top model cooling tower.


Description of Equipment/Lab:

  • Students investigate system design for air conditioning and refrigeration.
  • Refrigerants and absorption systems are explored, hardware configuration and thermodynamics are considered.
  • Local industrial facilities provide practical design situations; for example, students worked with a local guitar manufacturer, designing sawdust collectors and a constant humidity wood storage room.

Location: 192-116, 192-118

The Mechatronics Lab is used in ME 405 and ME 406, where students learn to use microcontrollers and programmable logic devices (PLCs) for intelligent control of mechanical and electromechanical devices and systems.


  • Computers, specialized software for programming microprocessors, microcontrollers and programmable logic controllers (PLCs), logic analyzers, high bandwidth oscilloscopes, and various mechatronics design projects (vehicles, mechanisms.)

Description of Equipment/Lab:

  • Focus is on the use of microcontrollers for “intelligent” control of machines.
  • Students program microcontrollers to control machine prototypes.
  • Students use logic analyzers and oscilloscopes to test electronic circuits to verify and debug system performance.
  • Students learn to program PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers.)
  • Applications are found in manufacturing automation and autonomously controlled machines.

View the live webcam
This webcam was purchased with money from the ME Student Fee Initiative.

Location: 13-102

The Mechanical Controls Laboratory was developed with generous and ongoing support from the Parker Hannifin Corporation. The lab serves the senior level Mechanical Controls course ME422 as well as senior projects and research projects.


  • Hydraulic and pneumatic position control systems,
  • Electromechanical servo control hardware systems,
  • Fluid level control systems,
  • State of the art LDS Focus multi-channel dynamic signal analyzers,
  • Agilent 54622A digital oscilloscopes,
  • PCs with National Instruments Data Acquisition Cards, LabVIEW and Matlab/Simulink, and
  • DSpace ACE Kit real-time rapid prototype system for advanced control and algorithm development.

Description of Equipment/Labs

  • Windows PCs with LabVIEW and Matlab/Simulink are used to model dynamic systems and design controllers. Extensive use of Matlab and Simulink enable high level analysis of complex systems.
  • The lab has eight electro-mechanical DC servo control systems with purely analog controllers. These allow students to implement position or velocity control of a rotor system using analog circuit analysis and dynamic analysis.
  • The lab as four fluid level control systems which are controlled from a Windows PC using the LabVIEW data acquisition and control program. Water level is measured from pressure transducers and feedback is used to control the water flow rate through an industrial flow control valve.
  • The lab has four position control systems which can use either hydraulic or pneumatic actuation to move a mass on a linear bearing. Position feedback is measured via a linear potentiometer. The system uses the Matlab/Simulink Real Time Windows Toolbox with a National Instruments data acquisition card to implement high speed real-time control.

For more information contact: Course Coordinator: Charlene Birdsong or Controls Faculty: John Ridgely, Bill Murray, Frank Owen, Julia Wu

View live webcam
This webcam was purchased with money from the ME Student Fee Initiative.
Equipment in this lab was donated by Parker Hannifin.

Location: 192-121 


The Robotics Lab is part of our robotics course and is used for teaching robotic operations and tasks, vision systems, and microprocessor control of devices and actuators. 

In this lab, students learn about robot capabilities and limitations, robot programming techniques, robotic assembly and communications, robot control, rapid prototyping, vision processing and analysis, and fuzzy logic control. 

Students program robots to perform various tasks to understand robotic programming principles, vision systems, and microprocessors. In the past, our projects have included animatronic lips capable of mimicking human lip movements in speech, flexible skin sensors, camouflage system, fingerspelling hands for the blind-deaf, a monkey robot, a program that writes entered texts, a Rubik’s Cube Robotic Player, and many more. 

We recently added a new parallel robot experiment to the robotics lab based on a Stewart platform. Trent Peterson (2020) designed and manufactured the robot and the corresponding experiment. The robot can be configured to be a type 6-6, a type 6-3, or other combinations. The robot is controlled by an Arduino Due that interfaces with a Matlab GUI.  


Three AdeptSix 300 6-axis articulated robots with vision system, a student-made SR1 robot, a student-made parallel robot, two vision systems, a microprocessor control experiment, a CNC Milling machine, and Fuzzy Logic software. 

Location: 13-101

The Vibrations Lab introduces undergraduate students to free and forced vibration of simple structures. Industrial diagnostic and monitoring equipment used for rotating machinery and structural vibration is demonstrated.

The goal of the lab is to develop mathematical models and experimental tests to determine the natural frequency, dynamic response, and damping of structures and rotating machinery.


  • Rotor analysis assemblies, shake tables, multimeters, accelerometers, spectrum analyzers, and digital oscilloscopes

Description of Equipment/Lab:

  • Rotor analysis assemblies allow students to understand the stability and response of rotors with pressurized bearings.
  • Shake table allows students to investigate the forced response of small test items.

View live webcam​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
This webcam was purchased with money from the ME Student Fee Initiative.
Equipment in this lab was donated by Bently Nevada and Esolar. 

Location: 13-203

Students conduct experiments in heat transfer and thermodynamics. The laboratory experiments are designed to give hands-on experience with operating physical equipment, instrumentation, and computer-based data acquisition systems.


  • Bell Jar Experiment – Students perform heat transfer experiments (i.e., hot/cold convection, radiation heat transfer) and study measurements of temperature as a function of time for cooling objects.
  • Air-conditioning System with thermocouples, flowmeters, and pressure gauges – Students calculate energy balances and study thermal properties.
  • Steam Turbine with dynometer and condenser – Students perform energy balance and heat/transfer experiments on this steam turbine system.
  • Boiler and Cooling Tower (on deck outside)

View live webcam
This webcam was purchased with money from the ME Student Fee Initiative.

Machine Shops

Visit machineshops.calpoly.edu for more information.

Location: 04-100

Aptly suited to provide an extensive “Learn by Doing” experience for Mechanical Engineering and other students, the Student Projects Shop offers a complete array of manufacturing equipment. From basic hand and power tools to state-of-the-art computer controlled machines, students are exposed to the myriad of processes and technologies that comprise today’s’ manufacturing and fabricating environment in a step-by-step manner. Safety and Environmental Responsibility are emphasized to meet the challenges of twenty-first century engineering and production . Students use the Student Projects Shop to produce class assignments, build Club projects for regional and national competitions, and create their Senior Projects. To find out how to how to use the Shop click here.


  • Wood shop: Sanders, Table and Radial Arm Saws, Planer/Jointer, Bandsaw, Router Table, Downdraft Sanding Table, ShopBot Computer-Controlled Router (5ft. x 10ft. bed).
  • Sheet Metal Shop: Shears, Brakes, Cylinder and Bead Rollers, Punches, Sandblasters, Planishing Hammer, Fournier English Wheel.
  • Machine Shop: Drill Presses, Grinders, Sanders, Abrasive Tubing Notcher, Vertical and Horizontal Bandsaws, Lathes, Mills, Haas Computer-Controlled Lathe and Milling Machines.
  • Weld Shop: Gas Welding Rig, Spot Welder, MIG Welders, TIG (Heli-Arc) Welders, Optically-Driven Plasma Cutter.
  • Other Equipment: Hand tools, Hand Power Tools (Electric and Air), Vacuum Pumps, Paint Booth (Car-Sized), Vehicle Frame Jig, Hand and Hydraulic Presses, Granite Surface Plate.

View detailed information on the machine shop, including test information here:

Machine Shop Information



Location: 197-114

Cal Poly College of Engineering Machine Shops is a collaborative and safety-conscious learning environment where students complete the cycle of design, from concept to finished product. The machine shops’ primary interest has been to expand the creative potential of Cal Poly students. By demonstrating the intricacies involved in designing for manufacturing we guide students to design parts using efficient, innovative and cost-effective manufacturing techniques. The shop has broken down barriers; where some once saw tools and machines as intimidating or disconnected from their own experience, they are now empowered. A common reaction to the shop experience is “I can do that!” It is our duty to ensure students safely and confidently bring their ideas to life.

For more information about Mustang 60, visit machineshops.calpoly.edu.

View the live webcams: cam 1, cam 2, cam 3, wood shop cam, office cam, 197-116