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This paper describes the design and assembly of a novel prototype three-phase synchronous machine constructed as a closely-sponsored undergraduate student project. The machine is significantly different from its more traditional counterparts in that the rotor and stator pole configurations are each in the form of a full-pitch helix, rather than parallel to the axis of rotation. A primary objective of this paper is to illustrate that a construction and design project such as this can be of special attractiveness and value to students in a university having relatively limited laboratory facilities for power-systems research. In addition, the scope of the traditional polyphase synchronous machine is enlarged in an innovative way. The novel features of this prototype machine are described and the design and construction sequences leading to its completion are outlined. The value of such an innovative project to the student, his faculty sponsor, and the department are assessed.