Publication Date

Fall 2018

Document Type

Final Report

Embargo Date


Problem Statement

The T-shirt square cutter was commissioned by fashion design professor at Washington University, Dr. Mary RuppertStroescu who has developed a method of turning T-shirts that might have otherwise been thrown away into a unique, woven fabric. Dr. Ruppert-Stroescu cuts T-shirts into either strips or squares that she then quilts together, she uses this fabric to make one-of-a-kind clothes, bags, and rugs. Though she is proficient at weaving the fabric scraps together, cutting the Tshirts was a very time-consuming process – it takes her at least 20 minutes to cut a T-shirt into squares by hand. Our team was tasked with designing and building a machine that would speed up the cutting process for her. With a budget of $250, we have spent the semester designing, building, and testing a machine that would cut T-shirts into squares safely and with minimal effort from the user. This report details the entire design process, beginning with the assessing user needs so we could brainstorm ideas. After a concept was selected based on certain criteria, we built and tested a proof of concept. After assessing the failures and successes of the proof of concept prototype we were able to build a final prototype that was ultimately able to successfully cut a T-shirt into squares.

Author's School

McKelvey School of Engineering

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Class Name

Mechanical Engineering Design Project (MEMS 411)