Topics In Engineering And Outsourcing That Scare Me

Topics In Engineering And Outsourcing That Scare Me

When I was job hunting a few months ago, I decided I was less interested in aerospace/defense and more interested in working in consumer product development. I was particularly interested in working at a consulting firm, because the variety of work appealed to me. The thought of working on a single product line for years on end…did not have much appeal. At many of the product design and consulting firms where I interviewed, I encountered a disturbing trend. I had been peripherally aware of it, but finally encountered face to face: Not many consumer products are engineered in the United States. At one firm, for example, I saw a design for a new model blender. The firm had handled the industrial design, essentially designing the appearance of the blender, it’s contours and colors and the shape and number of it’s knobs. A factory in China, they told me, would do […]

Old Technology That’s Still Surprisingly Useful

Old Technology That’s Still Surprisingly Useful

At my old job, when one of the engineers retired, he would ceremonially dump everything they had in their office onto a table in the hallway for the rest of us to pick over like vultures.  The coolest thing I ever found was something called a Gerber Variable Scale. The variable scale is a stretchable spring with markings at regular intervals. When you stretch the spring, the markings change size. The tool is made for transferring markings off graphs without well laid out axes. You can also draw neatly delineated tick marks with it as well, at any size you want! Pretty cool! In the picture below the spring for the scale is compressed all the way.  The little disks are numbers, but most of them seem to have fallen off over the years. In this picture though, the little silver colored block (the slider) has been moved all the […]