Tag Archives: machine shop

CAD modeling, virtual prototyping, and 3-d printing all have their place; but at the end of the day, You Still Need to Build Real Hardware. In this post, I’ll share a few examples of my own hard won knowledge that no book or classroom lecture ever covered. The real lessons of the day came from some time in the shop with experienced and very talented machinists. I was doing work¬†designing¬†a socket drive to connect a steel shafted motor to an aluminum component. The socket and motor were both modeled in CAD, tolerance stackups were taken into account, and we had something like a .0025″ clearance between the walls of the socket and the drive shaft. The parts came from the machine shop, and like a little kid on Christmas, I tore open the packaging and started putting parts together. We put the mechanism (and associated motor) through it’s paces and…

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  One of my favorite aspects of being an mechanical engineer is that I get to build things. When I was a young kid I took apart my potty training chair, and ever since I’ve had a penchant for both destroying and putting things back together again (the latter much to my mother’s relief). My Dad has the same tinkering tendencies, and so I grew up with plenty of places to work on projects. Being so mechanically minded, I sometimes forget that it is a character trait – but not the only one, or the best one, or even a common one. Much of the population has no feel for mechanical things at ALL. (And please note, my mother is one of them – this is not to criticize or put down, but simple observations.) And the best place to witness this, to me, is the machine shop. Most mechanical…

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