Date: 12-Oct-99 01:43 PM
Author: NITRO
Subject: Engineering Typo And The Loss Of The Mars Probe

In Reply To: Blah! Metal, metal...., I'm allowed a typo or n/m - Owen (view MIP | leave MSG) 12-Oct-99 09:33 AM

When we get into frenzied writing of engineering facts, the impact can potentially be extremely costly.

There's no room for "passion" in the world of engineering, so don't get too wound up. A lot of these subjects do tend to frustrate a lot of us, but keep in mind that the principal effort here is to educate the masses of enthusiasts.

Larry's worked hard with the staffs at major magazines and scientific periodicals to make them write articles where the verbiage doesn't suddenly turn into a flood of formulas, strange terms, and numbers. Studies conducted show clearly that if the principal article has "scientific BS" mixed in, even interested engineers regress to reading captions under pictures and the conclusion of the article, at best. We favor making details available only should people desire more data.

As teachers, our responsibilities are to create a strong base for knowledge on these fronts, without overwhelming interested enthusiasts. After all, you don't place a first grader into advanced calculus do you? Somewhere, a strong association with numbers and basic math must come first.

The people that hang on this board are all experts in fields that aren't necessarily automotive in nature and that's why they're here. They want to learn what to buy and how to "do". So the immediate job at hand is to help educate (Assuming one has understandable facts to present). We'd like to think that some might desire to follow in some realms of combustion engineering, but that's up to them, and they'll seek greater knowledge when they want and need it.

Engineers who have specialized in one particular field of the science tend to focus on that specialty. The job of designing an engine is that of a systems integrator or a crew chief. Engineering knowledge is a must, but the ability to put together all the different sciences into a buildable and workable package requires far greater understanding than any "channeled" expert could muster.

This business requires the ability to capture the various shapes and complexities in one's mind. You must be able to "see" what must be done. You have to have the ability to walk all the way around the beach ball to see all the colors.

Mr Honda felt that his company made it due to the "dreamers" he'd hired and they hadn't finished their degrees, so they never understood that they couldn't "do it". "Read the final chapters in that book and your frontiers will remain in that book's pages"*.

I'm about done, but engineering knowledge on multiple fronts, vast amounts of practical experience, a passion for the job and the ability to dream are what it takes to make it in this business and many others. Personally, I challenge anyone to find one engine designer of note who didn't possess all of these qualities. I also would challenge the same people to actually find a (non-bankrupt) business that must bring something from concept to reality to market, which is run by an engineer of specificity.

In following up, I need to mention that with the current crop of degreed engineers, who are seeming experts in every discipline, perhaps colleges should consider instituting a single EEX* or EEXBS* degree.

* Old Quote by Larry Widmer * EEX Engineering Expert * EEXBS Engineering Expert BS

Date: 12-Oct-99 08:26 PM
Author: alloy_625
Subject: Engineers, worse than lawyers?

In Reply To: RE: Just Don't Start Speaking It. - NITRO 12-Oct-99 07:12 PM

"Jack of all trades, master of none." Funny how that's often what it takes to get the job done. Carroll Smith has a really nice description in one of his books about the difference between what is an engineer here and what he feels an engineer is. Probably close to your description...

One of the first things Larry told people to do when talking about l/r was to plot the position, velocity, and acceleration. That takes calculus or a friendly guy like Andre to put up an applet. The curves were important, but without that math, most of us probably couldn't have visualized the behaviour in our heads. On the one hand, someone with a lot of practical experience might know that 1.75 was the magic number, but he doesn't know WHY because he can't express the dynamics. The engineer might be able to point out, hey look at this interesting behavior in acceleration, but he doesn't know what it's useful for. We all speak different languages already, the trick is communciating with each other and learning what the other people know. Mathematics is a language that many of us can relate too. Numbers and terms allow us to communicate ideas and many of them can be made palatable to the general public, reading one of Carroll Smith's books is evidence of that.

If you think a topic or explanation is BS, please inform us, but don't just dismiss it as crap and leave us wondering what's wrong. We don't have your experience and intuition. What the hell does Is Ti Really an Impact Resistant Steel? You Guys Gimme a Break mean? Does it mean you're picking nits over a typo, or are you attacking the concept that Ti is a very tough (and boy does the use of that word open a can of worms) material in impact? I don't know, but I'd like to. If you think Ti rods are a waste of money, perhaps you can quantify that further by a statement like endurance applications only because a steel rod would fatigue or whatever. Sure everyone wants to have the latest hi tech material (myself included) because it's cool and neato. Rather than labeling everyone who buys a carbon fiber hood as rich and stupid, one could point out that the advantages of carbon are typically not realized in the average "import" quality layup and the money saved on a fiberglass hood can be used to buy Eagle rods. Please educate us because no one likes to have their nose rubbed in it regardless of how well deserved it is. The audience here is fairly focused, and the catchup material is all archived on

Date: 12-Oct-99 09:47 PM
Author: NITRO
Subject: RE: It's Far From Simply Physics, But

In Reply To: Engineers, worse than lawyers? - alloy_625 12-Oct-99 08:26 PM

You'll need to be fitted for some new caps first.

Date: 13-Oct-99 12:24 PM
Author: alloy_625
Subject: Haha, I KNEW you were going to bring that up

In Reply To: RE: It's Far From Simply Physics, But - NITRO 12-Oct-99 09:47 PM

After going in circles, reading numerous stale books filled with numbers, and asking a bunch of people, I've decided on CR 1018 bar stock for two very simple reasons. I called one well regarded local engine builder who basically said "shit, what the hell are you thinking [using E4340], 1018 is more than strong enough" and the machine shop who will do the line bore/hone said there was NO way they would bore a cap @ RC32 and suggested the tried and true method of flame cutting hot rolled plate which for me would be more expensive since I don't know which end of the torch is hot!

To be true to my engineering roots though, I will take a page from TOO's book of experience and X-ray the rough parts prior to finish machine to check for voids.