Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Engineering isn't a career...

I was once told "Engineering isn't just a career; it's a way of life." At the time I doubt I really appreciated how true the statement was, but over time I have learned how true it really is. I'm quite serious about that too! How else can I explain the compulsion to sketch boiler schematics, plumbing layouts, pneumatic systems, and circuitry on napkins at the dinner table?

In many cases the "engineering lifestyle" means the continual search for knowledge, especially when it means disassembling gadgets and various interesting items. But for some there is the strong compulsion to build as well. I just stumbled across one of the best examples of this instinct that I have ever seen.

Over at www.fivebears.com there are all sorts of projects online. This page covers everything from a home-made CNC milling machine to an 8,000 rpm (at the propeller) turboprop.

What's even more amazing is the amount of do-it-yourself work that went into these projects. For example the 9-cylinder radial engine has a custom cylinder head design. The heads weren't made at some shop and shipped in! No they were cast by the builder himself (through a process he had apparently never been trained in).

All I can say is that I am impressed! It must be an incredible feeling to go from having a pot of molten metal to having a beautiful little piece of machinery like this!
9 cylinder, home built, radial engine.

2 Comments:

At 1:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

True that, true that...

Being an engineer is having dinner with a few people and then randomly geeking out (or, in some cases like dates where you're trying to impress and not just eat, restraining the urge to geek out) when you look around and start to wonder about the beer taps, the wall decorations, the pipes overhead, the reservation scheduling system, the how-long-will-the-wait-be prediction system, and think the following (in order):
- I wonder how...
- But you could do it more efficiently by...
- Ah, but that's crap. The *real* solution would be...
- [out loud] hey guys, what do you think about a reservation scheduling system based on the disk access algorithm...

Cheers, -Bo

P.S. Hey, who marked my webpage with "(inactive?)"

 
At 11:29 PM, Blogger Mr. Engineering Johnson said...

Actually I would focus on trying to change the ID on one of those pagers (like they use at chilis) so I would get called instead of someone who showed up before me.

PS, error corrected. The absense of activity for several months had me fooled.

 

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