You can see the directory at: http://www.discovery-press.com/discovery-press/studyengr/projects.asp
There you will find assignment statements for more than 100 projects currently being used at both community colleges and 4-year institutions across the nation. Many of the projects are design, build, test projects. Others focus on one or more aspects of student development. Some projects are small (one or two weeks) while others are comprehensive (semster long or year long).
Also included in the directory is a catalog of 33 regional and national engineering student design competitions (e.g., steel bridge truss, solar splash, Baja SAE, etc.). Although these projects are not strictly for first-year engineering students, you can perhaps find a role for your students in them.
Links are also provided to other sources of design projects for first-year engineering students. The first link is the IEEE Real World Engineering Project Library. There you will find 28 electrical and computer engineering projects for first-year engineering students. The second link is a directory of 70 first-year engineering projects compiled by Southern Methodist University in the mid 1990s.
The directory is a “living” resource. Additional projects are always welcome as are any references to sources of projects. Comments on how to improve the directory will be appreciated as well.
I hope this directory serves as a resource to bring more and better engineering projects to first-year engineering students.