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Clock Report Information

MAE3 Clock Report

Updated for FA18.

General Technical Writing

In general, engineering reports are critical components of a design report and should:

  • Clearly and concisely summarize the main findings of the project.
  • Provide the background, objective, and relevance of the work.
  • Provide the engineering details so that another engineer can follow the analysis performed and verify the results. These engineering details should include the methods and assumptions used, as well as all numerical values used and discussion of results.

The reports written in MAE 3 are designed to help you develop good practices for engineering documentation and analysis. Good practices allow others to easily verify your work. Even the lead designer on a project has someone else check their analysis and signoff as reviewer). As discussed in class, good practices in analysis and documentation allow one to avoid errors, and include: 

Clear Documentation

Multiple Methods of Analysis

Intermediate Verification

Technical writing is different than writing for literature/humanities. You are describing the goals of your work, what you have done and the results of what was done, and what you can conclude from the results. This is a very important skill: throughout your career, you will need to communicate your technical ideas to your colleagues and superiors. The way you write will affect how well others understand your ideas and how others perceive the quality of your technical work.

Basic keys for technical report writing:

  •         Introduce the purpose and goals of the work in the opening; all information and any conclusions should relate to the goals of the work.
  •          Formal writing style: no colloquialisms, slang, contractions, etc. Proofread your work, as spell checkers and autocorrect are not always accurate (eg. do/due/dew).
  •          Write in third person impersonal using active verbs.
  •      Make it legible. Usually this is 12 pt font, double spaced, with a professional.
  •          Work already done is in past tense (eg. experiments completed, calculations done), facts that are always true are in present tense (eg. definition of terms).
  •          All figures should have a figure number and caption underneath.
  •          All tables should have a table number and caption above.
  •          Remember that plots should have descriptive axis labels with symbol and units

Clock Report

Each student should turn in a hardcopy printed report. The report will be graded on the correctness of the analysis as well as the clarity and quality of the writing.

After the cover page, begin with an executive summary. This should clearly explain the objective of the project (ie. what a general reader should take away after reading the report); the entire report should be built around the objective. You should summarize the important results of the timing analysis, such as percentage accuracy of the two calculation methods. A non-technical reader should be able to understand what you did and the results by reading this half-page section. See example of an Abstract taken from MAE 156B; an executive summary is a bit different than an abstract, but both need to be concise and cover key results.

In the clock timing analysis, two theoretical methods will be used. The first method approximates the mass of the pendulum as occurring at a single point, and a more accurate method treats the pendulum as a rigid body with a moment of inertia along with its mass. The timing analysis should be done using an Excel spreadsheet. The Excel Tutorial includes a downloadable template to get the clock analysis started and explains how to use named cells.

In this report it is not necessary to show the free body diagrams or derive the clock timing equations since they are shown on the instructional webpage (these webpages should be referenced in the report). However, in the robot report at the end of the quarter, free body diagrams and derivations are expected.

Don’t forget to discuss the meaning of your results – why did we use two different calculation methods? How does each theoretical prediction compare to the corresponding experimental result and what might cause any differences? Answering questions like these demonstrates the point of the analysis you did – the meaning of your results is what the reader wants to see.

The clock report should include the following sections:

  • Cover page: name, section and clock photo
  • Executive summary: brief description of the project and objective of analysis, summary of most important results (half page)
  • Theoretical Analysis: explanation of the theory and analysis with the equations you used and the calculated results/values
  • Experimental Results: explanation of the experiments you did with the measured results/values
  • Discussion: discuss what the results of your theoretical calculations and experiments mean
  • Appendix:  Includes Excel printout showing numerical results and Excel printout showing the equations with named variables (use ctrl ~)


The writeup should include:

  1. CAD figure of pendulum (cut and paste CAD figures)
  2. Area and moment values from CAD region analysis of pendulum
  3. Predicted weight and centroid of pendulum 
  4. Comparison of predicted weight and centroid to actual weight and centroid
  5. Discussion of any discrepancy between actual and calculated values 
  6. Natural Frequency Analysis: state assumptions used and reference source of equations (i.e. timing analysis webpage). Must include analysis for both rigid body and point mass.
  7. Comparison of predicted natural frequency and measured natural frequency
  8. Discussion of results and propose reasons for any discrepancies (optional: how could you verify your hypotheses for these discrepancies)


There is an example report (written by TA Michael and group during his undergrad) at the bottom of this page with commentary as to how it relates to the clock report. It is an unrelated topic, but is an example of organization and technical writing style.

Michael Ishida,
Oct 16, 2018, 9:19 AM