Senior Project for Manufacturing Engineering Bachelors at Cal Poly SLO

Finished Prototype of my motorcycle stabilizer.

The best thing about having this blog is sharing ALL the things I've worked on. This includes past projects from my university days. Specifically my senior project at Cal Poly SLO for my Bachelors Degree in Manufacturing Engineering. It was a project to help motorcycle riders with disabilities support their bikes when not moving. There are other products that do this but typically didn't look good or they adversely affected the motorcycle riding experience. I was charged with designing and manufacturing a product that worked, didn't change the way a bike rode and was hopefully less expensive. A very difficult assignment.

Screenshot of existing products from my presentation. 

It's been five years since I finished my degree and I have come a long way. Its very clear to me how far I've come because I can now see the many things wrong with my senior project. To list a few of the mistakes: All the weight of the motorcycle and rider was supported by a linear motor. Bad idea, especially since the linear motor is the weakest link of the entire assembly. The wheels were also fixed at an angle that side loaded them. This bad angle caused them to never spin well.

Stabilizer closed.

Stabilizer open and hopefully supporting motorcycle and rider.

But these mistakes are not what I want to focus on, especially since I'm not planning to work on this project again. What I want to focus on are the benefits of posting this project and other old projects like this here.

Swing Assembly in fixture and ready for welding.

I designed, wrote CNC code, built and tested this prototype with tooling in a matter of months. This project earned me an A grade for my Bachelors Degree and gave me a good starting point for my existing project management skills. My senior project is simply a good example of a senior project and I post it here so other soon to be engineers can look it over and be inspired for their projects.

Project Abstract just as I wrote it in 2012

"Executive Summary:
This report will include the design, manufacture and testing of a motorcycle stabilizer prototype. The motorcycle stabilizer concept can be described as an automated center stand or landing gear. It supports a motorcycle while it is stationary, taking off or stopping. The mo- torcycle stabilizer is intended for people who range from having low leg function to having no legs at all. Motorcycle stabilizers currently exist but are generally large, expensive and don’t work well on smaller sport bikes. For these reasons the stabilizer designed for this project will be small, lightweight, inexpensive and designed for sport bikes.
The stabilizer design incorporates a single linear actuator that controls two main sup- port legs. It is mounted directly below the engine of the motorcycle using the frame and en- gine as support. In its collapsed, un-deployed, position it is small and narrow making it hard to see. This allows the motorcycle to keep its original styling. When deployed the legs become much wider and extend toward the ground providing support.
A prototype of the stabilizer design was made using conventional methods in a ma- chine shop. Equipment used were CNC milling machines, CNC lathes, a band saw, a MIG welder and general hand tools. Soft jaws and a simple welding fixture were also made to aid in the manufacture of the prototype for the milling and welding operations. This prototype cost $347.85 in material and is estimated to cost a maximum of $413.33 to manufacture. This means the current developed stabilizer design will cost a maximum of $761.18 to produce each unit.
The prototype was then tested on a motorcycle. The test motorcycle used was a 1988 Honda Hawk NT650GT. The initial test on the motorcycle was a failure as the linear actuator was collapsing under the weight of the motorcycle. After eliminating the linear actuator from the test, the stabilizer design worked under the weight of the 450 pound motorcycle and a 180 pound rider."

Downloadable Content:


Front Block Drawing

Front Block Operation Sheets

Front Block CNC Program


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