Sean McGee, 2021
Hello, my name is

Sean McGee

Portrait Photo

About Me

Majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in electrical engineering has given me the opportunity to design, analyze, and troubleshoot both mechanical and electrical systems. In particular, I have a breadth of experience performing analysis and simulation using SOLIDWORKS and MATLAB/Simulink. I am skilled at programming in MATLAB, C/C++, and Python. I also have experience working with control systems in S- and Z-domains, including lead and lag compensators, PID controllers, state space representation, and linear quadratic regulators/estimators.

My determination, analytical mindset, and passion for learning will make me a valuable addition to any team. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to reach out to me by email or via my LinkedIn profile. Thank you very much for your time.


Northern Arizona University

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Minor in Electrical Engineering (ABET accredited)

Graduated: December 2021

Cumulative GPA: 3.12 / 4.00

Elective major coursework:

  • ME 465: Machine Design II
    • Design and analysis of geartrains, bearings, shafts, and belt/chain drives
  • ME 467 + Lab: Manufacturing Processes
    • Applications, cost, and requirements of various manufacturing processes
    • Performing basic operations using vertical mill, lathe, and CNC
  • ME 484: Kinematics
    • Kinematic and kinetic analysis of 4, 5, and 6 bar linkages
    • Linkage design for paths, force, and velocity

Minor coursework:

  • EE 110: Introduction to Digital Logic
    • Fundamentals of Boolean algebra, logic gates, and flip flops
  • EE 188: Electrical Engineering I
    • Design and analysis using resistors, inductors, capacitors, and op amps
  • EE 222: Intermediate Programming
    • Programming in C including functions, pointers, structs, input/output, algorithms, and applications
  • EE 280: Introduction to Electronics
    • Structure, operation, and applications of diodes and transistors
  • EE 325: Engineering Analysis II
    • Engineering applications of linear algebra, differential equations, Laplace transforms, and Fourier series
  • EE 458: Automatic Controls
    • Control system design and analysis in S- and Z-domains, including block diagrams, lead/lag compensators, PID, and state space
    • System design, simulation, and tuning using MATLAB Control System Toolbox and Simulink

Photo by Joshbiggs, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Senior Capstone Project - Sponsored by General Atomics EMS

Project objectives: Design a fixture to interface between a spherical air bearing and a satellite undergoing testing. The fixture must allow the combined center of mass (COM) of the fixture, the bearing, and the satellite to be precisely colocated with the bearing's center of rotation (COR), including satellites of various form factors.

Final design: Our fixture uses satellite mounting brackets affixed to a system of movable carriages to change the satellite's position relative to the air bearing. This permits the satellite's COM to be aligned with the bearing COR along two axes, while the repositioning of two weights allows alignment along the vertical axis. The fixture is outfitted with an IMU to identify current fixture angle and a microcontroller which drives stepper motors to adjust translation of the carriages and weights to the appropriate locations.

Project outcomes: Testing procedures indicated that the final design falls just short of the Y-axis COM adjustment requirement, but meets all other engineering requirements including X- and Z-axis adjustment, reducing mass and moment of inertia, satellite retention, and short setup time.

  • Project Manager: Lead team meetings, scheduling, managing completion of tasks and deliverables
  • Developed and evaluated various system and subsystem design concepts using requirements matrix and FMEA
  • Performed PDR and CDR with client to verify design is capable of meeting requirements
  • Generated parametric CAD models for system components, optimized based on hand calculations, FEA results, and manufacturability
  • Created detailed mechanical drawings using GD&T for accurate, reliable manufacturing
  • Designed motor control system using Simulink for fast yet precise performance, validated expected performance using Simscape multibody dynamics simulation
  • Used Raspberry Pi and Arduino to read inertial measurement unit (IMU) data for locating COM position
  • Designed testing procedures to validate requirements and inform design revisions
  • Kept detailed notes throughout the design and testing of the device for teammates, client, and future work
  • Delivered high-quality reports and presentations to update client on project progress, results, and timeline
Capstone Render

Rendering of the SOLIDWORKS assembly created for the fixture, including modular test satellite and simulated bearing stand.

Capstone Team

Capstone team presenting final design to General Atomics EMS on 12/15/2021

From left: Travis Harrison, Scott Mesoyedz, Connor Hoffmann, Sean McGee

Heat Transfer Project

Project objectives: Calculate temperature distribution across 2D plate at steady state given prescribed boundary conditions, using MATLAB to compute results by numerical methods.

Final design: The MATLAB script created for this project assigns a "type" to each finite element depending on the boundary conditions present on that element. It then populates a coefficient matrix according to each element's type and solves the resulting system of equations for the temperature of each node.

Project outcomes: The resulting 2D temperature distribution was displayed as a surface plot (shown right), while line plots were used to display the temperature distribution along each external edge of the geometry. The generated surface plot qualitatively matches the verification plot provided by my instructor, and the calculated net heat flow out of the geometry differs from the expected value by about 5e-18 percent.

  • Derived nodal equations from 2D heat equation
  • Numerically computed temperature distribution using MATLAB script, including:
    • User-defined finite element size
    • Constant temperature, constant heat flux, and heat generation boundary conditions
    • Resulting temperature distribution visualization as surface plot and line plots
  • Validated results and calculated error from expected values
  • Summarized analysis, approach, results, and conclusions in final report deliverable.

Resulting temperature distribution using 20⨯40 elements. The shaded region on the X-Y plane illustrates the surface of interest, while the vertical rectangular column illustrates the region of heat generation.

Experimental Methods Project

Project objectives: Design and carry out a scientific experiment using the equipment available in NAU's thermal fluids laboratory.

Selected design: My proposal involved measuring the temperature profile of a heat sink placed on a hot plate. Twelve K-type thermocouples were calibrated and installed along various surfaces of the heat sink which was then heated and allowed to reach steady-state conditions, whereupon temperature data was captured and stored. Experimental results were then compared to results from MATLAB and ANSYS simulations.

Project outcomes: The experiment was conducted successfully and yielded reliable data. Simulation results were within ±5°C of experimental results.

Convection coefficient isosurface plot

Plot from MATLAB PDE Toolbox simulation illustrating isosurfaces of the convection coefficient h.

Machine Design II Project

Project objectives: Design a winch system which delivers 4,000 in·lbf of torque to the drum at a speed of 30-35 rpm. The project was split into three sections (geartrain selection, shaft design, and bearing selection), each of which required a report with accompanying SOLIDWORKS models and calculations. A particular emphasis was placed on simulating a real-world design scenario: there was not a "correct design" and performance requirements were vague and conflicting, which required students to make several judgement calls about which aspects of performance were most critical.

Selected design: Our calculations indicated that delivering the required 4,000 in·lbf of torque at the lowest required speed of 30 rpm would require 1.9 hp before accounting for losses, exceeding the 1.2 hp output from the prescribed motor. We reasoned that the torque output requirement was more critical than the speed requirement, and designed the system accordingly using a larger gear ratio to produce the necessary reduction. We also iterated the design multiple times as constraints from one phase would require changes to a prior design decision. Since the shaft was designed prior to selecting bearings, for instance, we discovered that our shaft exceeded the maximum angular deflection requirements for all appropriate bearings requiring modifications to the shaft design. Our design ultimately used an 80:1 worm gear reduction, a shaft major diameter of 2.60", and flanged bronze bushings supporting the shaft.

Project outcomes: The final design meets stated requirements for torque output, factor of safety, reliability, and heat dissipation. The design only falls short of the aforementioned output speed, operating instead at an output speed of around 15 rpm.

Winch design render

Rendering of SOLIDWORKS assembly for final winch design. Some elements are rendered as transparent to better illustrate the design.