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Blogs
Content posted in August 2013
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From Napkin to Production
Guest Blogs 
8/30/2013  31 comments
After a night out with the guys, burning through five bar-napkin sketches, the perfect product idea is born. Or is it? How do you determine if your idea is worthwhile and worth pursing?
Good Robot Gets All the Blame
Sherlock Ohms 
8/30/2013  30 comments
You can't blame the robot if the parts it receives are misfed.
More Seismic Shifts in the 3D Printing Industry
Engineering Materials 
8/30/2013  38 comments
We discuss more major developments in the 3D printing industry, and focus on what's happening in materials.
Surfing in 3D: Printed Boards Make Waves in Custom Design
Blog 
8/29/2013  36 comments
Chicago-based startup MADE Boards uses a mobile app that collects user data to design custom surf, sail, and paddle boards and then produces them through 3D printing for customers.
Engineering Profs Get Low Marks in Princeton Review Survey
Electronic News & Comment 
8/29/2013  17 comments
Engineering schools made up five of the seven worst colleges in a Princeton Review survey that asked, "Are your instructors good teachers?"
Materials Spotlighted at Design & Manufacturing Show
Engineering Materials 
8/29/2013  3 comments
The choices of metals, plastics, coatings, and adhesives has never been broader, and new ones are becoming available at a rapid rate. Some of this variety is reflected at the upcoming Design and Manufacturing Midwest Show.
Fuse Holder Follies
Sherlock Ohms 
8/29/2013  17 comments
Sometimes it's the least important component that messes up the device.
7 Common Mistakes in Designing Parts for Additive Manufacturing
Guest Blogs 
8/29/2013  2 comments
Anyone who has ever designed a product to be injection molded likely learned that small design changes can significantly impact the cost, time frame, and overall success of the project.
Slideshow: Smartphone Images From Space
Electronic News & Comment 
8/28/2013  17 comments
Some of NASA's most recent images from space come, not from a multimillion-dollar satellite, but from a $3,500 steel box equipped with a smartphone.
Jobs Was a Genius; the Movie Not So Much
Blog 
8/28/2013  16 comments
The movie's producers tried to sum up Jobs's entire professional career in two hours, too many significant parts were left out, and the movie did not accurately show the genius that Jobs was.
Mixed Metals Cause Faucet Failure
Made by Monkeys 
8/28/2013  19 comments
Combining different metals in the presence of water can cause damaging corrosion.
Researchers Build Concrete-Composite Offshore Floating Wind Turbine
Blog 
8/28/2013  16 comments
The first floating wind turbine was recently deployed offshore in Brewer, Maine, developed by a team at the University of Maine and supported by the Energy Department, which is ardently backing the future use of offshore wind turbine installations.
Narrow Bandwidth Optical Filtering
Guest Blogs 
8/28/2013  Post a comment
Narrowband filtering is an excellent tool for obtaining useful data of weak signals in noisy environments.
Slideshow: Are You Being Fairly Paid?
Blog 
8/27/2013  12 comments
Although engineering salaries are up, only 27 percent of engineers say they are paid fairly and have the appropriate workload.
Robotic Automation Helps Bring Manufacturing Back Onshore
Blog 
8/27/2013  10 comments
Steve Kruse, a senior applications engineer at Bastian Solutions, will discuss reshoring and the technologies contributing to it at the upcoming Design and Manufacturing Midwest conference. He spoke to us recently about his views on the topic.
Ground Is Not Ground the World Around
Sherlock Ohms 
8/27/2013  15 comments
Not all grounds are the same. That can be a problem if they're supposed to be connected but they're not.
Wireless Monitoring of Power Usage by CMU
Blog 
8/27/2013  1 comment
Carnegie Mellon University has developed a way to wirelessly monitor power usage using non-intrusive load monitoring (NILM).
Designing Secure Machine Control Networks
Blog 
8/27/2013  5 comments
Industrial network security has become a hot topic in the wake of the Stuxnet virus and concerns about all types of Internet site attacks that could cause major damage to industrial machinery.
Video: Simulating the Universe With NASA's Supercomputers
Electronic News & Comment 
8/26/2013  35 comments
Here's a look at the launch of NASA's "heavy lift" vehicle, and the birth of the universe on one of the world's most powerful supercomputers.
3D Printing With Iron & Tungsten
Engineering Materials 
8/26/2013  7 comments
The range of metals that can be 3D printed is increasing. ExOne has added iron infiltrated with bronze, and bonded tungsten, to the range of metal and ceramic powders that can be used with its multi-material M-Flex machines.
This Dishwasher Isn't Waterproof
Made by Monkeys 
8/26/2013  21 comments
The control panel of the dishwasher is on top of the door. Once it gets wet, it's bound to fail.
Modular Systems Are the Way Forward for Motion & Motor Control
Blog 
8/26/2013  10 comments
B&R's Corey Morton and Marcel Voigt will speak about modularization and other trends in motion and motor control at the Design and Manufacturing Midwest conference in Chicago, Septempber 10–12.
Bearing Application Solution for Magnetic Clutch Failures
Blog 
8/26/2013  Post a comment
We recently asked Richard Spore, a bearing applications engineer for C&U Americas, to define the solution for a problem faced by one of his customers.
Video: Inside the World's Largest Wind Tunnel
Electronic News & Comment 
8/23/2013  29 comments
When NASA Ames runs its massive wind tunnels, the surrounding area knows it. Local aircraft are warned of potential updrafts. Electric utilities brace for sudden power draws. And nearby residents are said to hear its 300-knot airflows from miles away.
Black Hat Conference Highlights Hacking Demos
CAD/CAM Corner 
8/23/2013  19 comments
The Black Hat conference highlights hacking methods from the elite within the community, which can be downright frightening for those in the IT business.
The Case of the Confused Customer
Sherlock Ohms 
8/23/2013  42 comments
In this case, the customer was very confused about the product's problems.
Gadget Freak Case #246: Random Noise Generator
Gadget Freak 
8/23/2013  21 comments
This inexpensive device offers repeatable noise to mask the sounds of rowdy gamers, crying babies, and gossiping grandmas.
Zinc-Based Material Expands Under Pressure
Blog 
8/23/2013  20 comments
Oxford scientists have discovered a zinc-based material that expands under pressure instead of contracting.
3D Print Yourself
CAD/CAM Corner 
8/22/2013  61 comments
TwinKinds, a German startup, is creating 3D printed statues of its customers.
Slideshow: Robots Get More Thin-Skinned
Engineering Materials 
8/22/2013  23 comments
Robots may be getting more sensitive, due to a breakthrough by engineers at the University of California, Berkeley. An electronic skin made of a sensor network mounted on a substrate of flexible plastic reacts to touch by lighting up.
Sprinkler Spigot Stops Short
Made by Monkeys 
8/22/2013  19 comments
The four-spigot timed sprinkler system was too big to attach to the water outlet.
Choosing the Right Pressure Gauge
Guest Blogs 
8/22/2013  6 comments
Used since 1849, pressure gauges have had many applications, from depth to altitude measuring. Classified in different types, they show the increase and reduction of pressure in different fields. Here are some of the gauges used today.
Silicon Labs Releases New Development Kits for Smart Sensor Design
Blog 
8/22/2013  15 comments
Designers of smart sensor systems and other low-power electronics have a new toolkit for building embedded systems using Silicon Labs' EFM32 Wonder Gecko microcontrollers.
Slideshow: A Glimpse of NASA Technology
Electronic News & Comment 
8/21/2013  25 comments
Thanks to the sponsorship of Littelfuse Inc., Design News was able to take a behind-the-scenes tour of some of the work being done at NASA Ames Research Center.
Video: Robomotive Humanoid Robot Uses 3D Vision
Blog 
8/21/2013  27 comments
A 3D structured-light imaging system helps create the human-like capabilities deployed in the design of a Robomotive humanoid robot jointly developed by Yaskawa Motoman, Beltech, and Robotiq.
Earth Station Stopped by Lightning
Sherlock Ohms 
8/21/2013  15 comments
A lightning strike took out the Earth Station in Africa. Fixing it took brainpower and ingenuity.
Design & Manufacturing Show Is Sure to Attract Engineers From Across the Globe
Blog 
8/21/2013  4 comments
3D printing is sure to steal the show at the Design & Manufacturing Midwest Expo held at Chicago's McCormick Place Sept. 10-12.
MIT Researchers Study Mussels to Develop New Medical, Industrial Materials
Blog 
8/21/2013  15 comments
More and more scientists are looking to nature for inspiration for technology, and now mussels are the impetus for new types of adhesive materials thanks to the work of MIT researchers.
Are Your Electronics Protected Against Lightning Strikes?
Electronic News & Comment 
8/20/2013  17 comments
Too often, design engineers don’t want to hear about lightning. Never mind that its transient voltages can fry circuit boards, crash servers, and jeopardize data. Lightning discussions are a pain.
The Blower Was a Boggled Design
Made by Monkeys 
8/20/2013  18 comments
Replacing the heater blower was an exercise in frustration and skinned knuckles.
Researchers Develop Another Potential Battery for Renewable Energy Storage
Blog 
8/20/2013  20 comments
A research team led by Yi Cui, an associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford, has developed a new lithium-polysulfide flow battery with an energy density of between 170 Wh/kg and 190 Wh/L and a lifespan of up to 2,500 cycles -- results that are high comparatively for similar batteries being designed for renewables.
Slideshow: Design News Product Time Warp
Blog 
8/19/2013  15 comments
Take yourself back to August 1958 with a tour of some products that appeared in that month's issue of Design News.
What if You Couldn’t Parallel Park Your Car?
Guest Blogs 
8/19/2013  29 comments
Cars now do this automatically, but should you know how?
Naming Rights to the Factory Solution
Sherlock Ohms 
8/19/2013  17 comments
Sometimes figuring out what vendor's product is failing is half the solution.
What Have You 3D Printed Lately?
Blog 
8/16/2013  37 comments
We've told you about many cool things that have come out of 3D printers in recent months. Now, we want to hear from you.
Molecular Robots Could Help Medications Target Specific Cells
Blog 
8/16/2013  12 comments
What if medications could specifically target only the areas inside the body that need repair? That is the promise of molecular nanorobots developed at Columbia University that can zero in on specific human cells and either provide medication or destroy them depending on the appropriate action.
A Case of Rotordynamics Satisfaction
Sherlock Ohms 
8/16/2013  5 comments
Getting the rotordynamics right makes all the difference in high-speed rotor design.
Altair Teams With Design News for Webinar on Drop Test Simulation
CAD/CAM Corner 
8/16/2013  2 comments
Altair and Design News will host a webinar on drop test simulation on August 28. Sign up today!
Researchers Develop Thin Solar Film for Mobile Devices, Windows
Blog 
8/15/2013  41 comments
The day when your smartphone screen is also a mini solar panel may not be far off, thanks to new two-layer see-through solar film developed by UCLA researchers.
Flickering Lights Lighten at Load Time
Sherlock Ohms 
8/15/2013  9 comments
Sometimes the electrical problem takes care of itself, even after you call in the fix.
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