Skip to main content

Department of Mechanical Engineering: laptop and equipment advice

If you are wondering what you need to bring with you for your first year studying Mechanical Engineering, here is some advice from the Director of Studies.


Computer Equipment

Our Department has a site licence for all the academic software that you will need as part of your degree, most of which you'll be able to download to your own PC. We have recently upgraded our CAD labs; however, capacity is limited so we still advise our students to buy a laptop.

Several key pieces of engineering software are Windows only and we strongly recommend a Windows laptop that meets the minimum required specifications for Autodesk Inventor. A Chromebook will not be able to run the software needed.

We recommend the following laptop minimum specifications:

  • Intel laptop i7
  • 8Gb of RAM, preferably 16Gb
  • A hard drive capacity of 512 GB is the recommended minimum size
  • if possible a dedicated graphics card
  • HDMI/DisplayPort adapter to connect to external monitors
  • conventional mouse with central wheel

We have a Windows Azure Cloud-based option to allow you to access the software via a web app or a remote desktop. So even if your laptop can’t meet these specifications, you will be able to work effectively.

Drawing Equipment

Engineering design underpins all our undergraduate engineering courses and starts in week 1 with a focus on visual communication through formal engineering drawings, isometric views and design concept sketches. While not compulsory, we suggest you buy the following:

  • a Linex A3 Student Drawing Board or similar. View example from Amazon
  • pencils: mechanical pencils of two different thicknesses: 0.5mm and 0.9mm and a softer lead (HB and 2B are useful)
  • ruler: 300mm ruler (transparent)
  • set squares and a protractor: both 30˚ and 45˚ will be needed (those found in school maths sets are generally too small - 200mm is more suitable)
  • eraser and erasing shield: this will be very useful in helping you to modify areas of a detailed drawing by covering the lines you wish to retain so that you can easily erase only those you do not
  • compass/circle/ellipse templates:
    • a proper technical drawing compass with a thumb wheel for circles (>25mm <150mm)
    • circle template for smaller circles (<25mm)
    • a 30-degree ellipse template for Isometrics will save a good deal of work


If you have any questions, please contact us.

On this page