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Mechanical Design Proving Beastly for EEs Who Deal in Bits & Bytes
6/30/2013

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Compensating for the mismatch between motor shaft diameter and the propeller hole flummoxed the designers of the Mesh Network Propeller Beanie used for a popular Design West 2013 Speed Training Workshop.
Compensating for the mismatch between motor shaft diameter and the propeller hole flummoxed the designers of the Mesh Network Propeller Beanie used for a popular Design West 2013 Speed Training Workshop.

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Duane Benson
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Speak to me
Duane Benson   6/30/2013 7:30:47 PM
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This article totally speaks to me. I seem to manage some level of competence with MCU hardware, software, schematic design and layout. My head does a pretty good job of envisioning what the mechanical components should look like and how they should operate. But, when it comes time to build mechanical things, I tend to struggle. It seems like it shouldn't be that big of a deal, but it is.

Pho99
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Pho99   6/30/2013 9:58:25 PM
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Realize that anything mechanical once one gets to the sub-atomic level is mostly empty space, and the color of an object is the response to light to the object's electromagnetic fields that help old the electrons in place with the nucleus -- it is what in part gives all these different properties like conductivity and dielectric constant and modulus of elastisity, and tensile strength in part to materials

mcgrathdylan
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mcgrathdylan   7/1/2013 12:15:26 AM
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I think that is the case for many people. It seems like no big deal but it is. Ultimately we are all more comfortable with what we really know.

rfindley
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How it works
rfindley   7/1/2013 1:09:32 AM
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I've been a big fan of the TV show "How It's Made" (check it out on Youtube, Discovery Channel, The Science Channel, or Netflix).  It really gives us EE/CS types a better appreciation of the mechanical world.

Duane Benson
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Re: How it works
Duane Benson   7/1/2013 1:22:31 AM
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Robin - I like the How it Works show too. I also used to like "This old House", which made everything look significantly easier than it really is. I used to like "Orange Country Choppers" until it became about everyone yelling at everyone. In the early years, you could actually get some undestanding of how they went about fabricating things. That part was interesting.

_hm
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machatronics, optronics and more
_hm   7/1/2013 9:44:35 AM
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Most new products are multi disciplinary. It involves hardware, software, firmware and also mechanical, optics and materials technology. All engineering branch carry equally important challenges.

It is higlhy recommended to employ and utlilize mechanical and optics engineer from begining. This is very imprtant part of product success. It is not only hardware and software. If EE trys to solve all problems, problem may apparently looks very complex to them. Management may need to take help from other agencies too. Supply chain should also be involved from start to gain maximum out of product launch.

 

Jack Ganssle
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Jack Ganssle   7/1/2013 10:49:53 AM
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I think this speaks to the importance of being broadly educated, and to that of continuous learning.

Aeroengineer
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Aeroengineer   7/1/2013 1:00:27 PM
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Jack,

 

I agree with you about the importance of being broadly educated.  I come from the mechanical side of things and have since decided to learn more about microcontrollers, programming, and all other things electronics.  Do I expect to become an expert in these fields, no, but I will attain a level of competence that will allow me to work more closely in other areas to build better projects.  It also helps me to make project decisions, especially about if a vendor is truly competent, or if they are just bluffing. 

 

This and it is just fun to learn.  That is one of the reasons that I became an engineer, to learn more about how to control the elements around me to get them to work in a fashion that is useful. 

 

I also find it interesting how sometimes one engineering discipline tries to elevate its importance above another.  While it may be true in one type of product that a mechanical engineer is more important to the project than any other type of engineer, similarly an electrical engineer can be more important in a completely different product field.  Understanding what role we can play and how to lift the entire project makes for a much better work environment where each tries to help even if it is outside of their area of expertise. 

MeasurementBlues
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MeasurementBlues   7/1/2013 1:30:59 PM
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Some universities offer degrees in Robotics engineering. WPI was the first to offer robotics as an undergraduate degree. I've written about it here.

Students Design Robots

Robots Need Connectivity to Get Moving

Robotics Seniors Show Off Their Projects

Students Design Underwater Robot

All students get a background in electronics, mecanical, programming, and MCUs. The senior project teams usually specialize in one area.

kfield
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kfield   7/26/2013 10:40:34 AM
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Martin I think this is one of the reasons that more students are pursuing mechanical engineering degrees than electrical engineering degrees. it is a broader-based curriculum, where students get exposure to almost all aspects of design. Now granted, it doesn't go as deep in some areas, but you do have a working familiarty with more topics.

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