This paper describes a three semester long project which promotes the development and retention of engineering skill-sets by involving students in the design and fabrication of a can-crushing device. The can-crusher project was inspired by spiral learning theory and provides opportunities for students to practice engineering skill sets, including CAD, programming, machining and working with practical electronics. The paper details the implementation of the project and shows how the project addresses skill-set deficits that can occur in conventional curricula. Finally, modifications to the content/organization of the can-crusher project are proposed based on the experiences of the first group of students to complete the three semester sequence.

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