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11 Top iPad Engineering Apps

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Rob Spiegel
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Many of these apps are free
Rob Spiegel   11/28/2011 1:29:22 PM
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Nice slide show, Alex. Quite a range of apps, and it seems Siemens is particularly advanced in mobile apps. It's also encouraging that many of these companies are providing their apps at no charge. That's is a no-brainer, since customers are already spending considerable sums for the technology.

MikeVV
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Re: Many of these apps are free
MikeVV   6/28/2012 10:45:06 AM
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Several apps that are ideal in a mobile setting are shown in the slide show (slides #4, #8, #9, #10 and #11).  These apps are very useful when available at your fingertips during a meeting or field activity.  Websites that are formatted for mobile devices also meet these needs and should be discussed too.  http://AnalysisChamp.com is a great example of a site with advanced calculation and unit converter capabilities that is formatted for a mobile device and free to use any time.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Many of these apps are free
Rob Spiegel   6/28/2012 1:00:08 PM
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Thanks much for the link, MikeVV. That fact that it's free and formatted for mobile use is great.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Top iPad Engineering Apps
Jack Rupert, PE   11/28/2011 1:56:44 PM
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Thanks for posting, Alex.  While I'm not quite ready to join the ranks of the daily iPad users, it's good to know that companies are starting to offer some useful apps for when you're on the road.

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Top iPad Engineering Apps
Alexander Wolfe   11/28/2011 2:15:49 PM
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Thanks, Jack.  It's interesting to me that, utlities excepted, many of these iPad apps are adjuncts to the real thing, rather than full-blown, standalone programs. I think that's a function of the data-entry limitations of the tablet form-factor.

Tim
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Re: Top iPad Engineering Apps
Tim   11/28/2011 9:38:46 PM
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I can definitely see usefulness of the Autodesk App for production floor use of CAD drawings.  A lot of times it would be nice to have a good viewer for drawings that can be brought to meetings or to the production line.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Top iPad Engineering Apps
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   11/29/2011 1:39:57 AM
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I have to agree. Running any CAD routine, the bigger the screen you have, the easier it is to truly develop your design solution.  As a design engineer its more necessity than luxury when designing on a 42” flat screen, or at least two adjacent screens.  I just wouldn’t be comfortable driving a little tablet as my tool of choice, unless using it for just the processor then augmenting it with a larger display. Then I could always use my pocket-folding Targus QWERTY keypad I’ve had since 2001. Gotta have a keyboard.

Dave
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Re: Top iPad Engineering Apps
Dave   11/29/2011 10:00:13 AM
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I have to agree with Jim. After using my 24 or 25.5" monitor for design work most of the time, it is somewhat frustrating to use a 15" laptop when I travel, let alone a 10" tablet. For engineering apps like conversion programs and even language translators, my Windows phone 7.5 fits the bill very nicely and is small enough to clip onto my belt (much like my HP-21 calculator did in the 70s).

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Top iPad Engineering Apps
Beth Stackpole   11/29/2011 6:27:42 AM
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Alex: I think the whole key to making the mobile platform successful is to figure out where the mobility equation fits in with the way engineers work--be it, on the road for design reviews with customers or going home at night and needing to finish a simulation--and creating apps to meet those specific needs. Given the significant graphics rendering and performance requirements of full-blown CAD modeling or simulation tools, I don't think any one is expecting the full tool to translate to the more limited processing and screen real estate of a mobile tablet or smart phone. There would be too many tradeoffs and it wouldn't fill a need--rather, it would just be pursuing technology for technology's sake.

Autodesk actually has the largest selection of mobile apps thus far and is taking the platform really seriously, particularly for its AEC segment.

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Top iPad Engineering Apps
Alexander Wolfe   11/29/2011 9:22:55 AM
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As you noted, Beth, I've just mentioned one Autodesk mobile app, whereas there are actually more. Same deal with the other vendors. This is a starter list and I'll go with the suggestions to broaden and also to include Android in future iterations.

Beth Stackpole
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Re: Top iPad Engineering Apps
Beth Stackpole   11/29/2011 9:30:05 AM
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Well noted, Alex. And as far as Android goes, most companies are definitely planning to release for Android as well. Typically it's first up for Apple iOS and then Android follows in fairly short order.

ken.booth
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Re: Top iPad Engineering Apps
ken.booth   11/28/2011 5:06:09 PM
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Thanks for starting this list, Alex. How about one for Android tablets? I think they are likely to be popular amongst Engineers - I'm getting one.

Stuart21
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Get out of the dark ages!
Stuart21   11/29/2011 9:32:38 AM
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Wot no iCircuit?

ScotCan
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Netbooks do the same job at half the price
ScotCan   11/29/2011 9:58:23 AM
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We do a lot of concept work using RhinoCad which can be "translated" into all the high end CAD systems. A scaled 3D model is copied from the laptop into a netbook together with notes, spreadsheets, sketches AND RhinoCad itself. We then go along to the client and either connect the netbook to a borrowed monitor or project it to a large screen and carry out the design audit in house. Any changes requested by the client are added directly to the CAD model using the annotation facility in RhinoCad with the objects requiring revision transferred to another layer. Moreover, if the client wants a CAD copy of what has been done it can be transferred to the inhouse CAD system via the IGES or STEP facility built into RhinoCad. The netbook capabilities and portability and the keyboard are vastly superior for design work...maybe when the I-pad comes down to the price of the netbooks we'll give it another look.

TJ McDermott
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Re: Netbooks do the same job at half the price
TJ McDermott   11/29/2011 10:33:49 PM
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I agree that the netbook would be better for creation, but I think the price comparison is a bit low.

One wonders why the convertible notebook computers (where the screen can be rotated 180 degrees then closed again to make a tablet) never caught on.  You have the best of both worlds (easy presentation like an I-Pad, full notebook when needed without an extra piece of hardware like external keyboard).

Maybe we'll see a resurgence of such a device.

Franckb
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Re: Netbooks do the same job at half the price
Franckb   11/29/2011 11:11:40 PM
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To answer "why the convertible notebook computrs never caught on". From my experience having looked at those for years and never been convinced to buy one, they were : - twice the price or more of the Ipad - half or less of the battery life of the Ipad - heavier than the Ipad - mechanically fragile

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Netbooks do the same job at half the price
Alexander Wolfe   12/1/2011 7:43:44 PM
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To TJ and Franck, I was at the press introduction of the first generation of Windows-based Tablet PCs in 2002, and did a lot of coverage at the time, including an article for IEEE Spectrum. I have to say they were nowhere near as bad as people now claim. They were advanced for the time. True, the Windows for Pen Computing didn't work quite as well as claimed. And the Toshiba convertibles were cumbersome (that's what I'd call them, as opposed to fragile). My ex post facto take is that they failed because of a) price and b) there wasn't a perceived need for them at the time. I think that's what Steve Jobs brought to the party with the iPad. He created a "need" for a device that people hadn't really been all that interested in before. He did it by making the tablet a good looking and desireable consumer product. In conclusion, I think sometimes Microsoft takes the rap for failure when the failure wasn't really its fault. Those 2002 tablets laid the foundation for what followed.

Franckb
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Re: Netbooks do the same job at half the price
Franckb   12/2/2011 2:37:45 PM
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For the small story and responding on "created a "need" for a device", I was following tablets since 2000 because of that need, and I ended using until 2008 the psion Netbook (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psion_netBook) designed before 2000. What it had valuable for me, was 10hours battery autonomy, touch screen, light weight (~1kg), a super stable OS with instant switch-on, many useful apps (email, browser, games, HP RPN calc emulator, ..) and the best, a full word processor integrating spreadsheet tables, charts and on-screen drawings. Those specs I wanted from a tablet or convertible was certainly not achieved by any of the PC-based ones. The need was there, the technology was there, but no product before the Ipad succeded in convincing a large public. Franck (written on IPad)

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Netbooks do the same job at half the price
Alexander Wolfe   12/5/2011 5:00:57 PM
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Point well taken, Franck. What I was trying to say is that, in retrospect, Microsoft should be given more credit for attempting to seed the technology than they've been given. (They've received none, and have been bashed instead.) As you note, it's more a case that the capabilities weren't there, even circa 2008, and this relates I think more to available processor power than to product conceptualization or a desire to field something. The ubiquity of computing cycles today -- they are essentially free -- does indeed make a difference. (Well, they're still not free in the smartphone form factor, which is another story/discussion in and of itself.)

Franckb
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Re: Netbooks do the same job at half the price
Franckb   12/6/2011 11:56:42 AM
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Dear Alexander, I have to correct, the only credit I would give to Microsoft is to not have been able to propose any good solution to that market need. My credits are first for the “Psion” founders (David Potter, .. ; ref :http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/1434369.stm) who pushed since the 80’s for a solution for handheld computer, and created an advanced solution for the time (the Psion 3, 5, revo, netbook). And second for Apple (Steve Jobs) who broke the total inertia (Microsoft based-solutions) existing in that product line, proposed an innovative product (iphone, ipad) and did a superb work in proposing value for non-technical users. For the small story again, to remind the NON-support of Microsoft for those technologies, please listen to Steve Ballmer on Iphone (2007,  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eywi0h_Y5_U&feature=youtube_gdata_player ). This is going a little out of topic, but history of technology is one of my subject of interest.

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Netbooks do the same job at half the price
Alexander Wolfe   12/6/2011 3:04:05 PM
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Franckb- I agree with you that the Psion was a great product. I'd also like to mention the original Toshiba Libretto, circa 1996. This wasn't a tablet, but a true, downsized mini, right down to the chiclet-sized keys. I remember when I took it on airplanes, the flight atttendants always wanted to check it out.

EdBolz
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How do Tablets fit into an Engineers world?
EdBolz   11/29/2011 10:16:23 AM
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I'd love to get a tablet - but I just can't figure out what it would do for me, besides be very cool to have.  The App list illustrates that the only real function is viewing drawings, which could be very useful, but a laptop can do that better - even a relatively small one.  All the other Apps are available on the web, so even my Android phone can do them.  As someone mentioned, a keyboard is a must if I wanted to use it for taking notes, so there, again, a laptop would be better.  I saw a note about an engineer getting an Android tablet - is there an advantage to Android vs. iPad?  When I can get an iPad II for $500 vs. the MUCH less capable Android based Kindle Fire for $200, it seems I'd forever regret not spending the extra $300.  But, I haven't done either yet, because I just don't see it as anything more than a toy. An awesome toy.

brett_cgb
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Re: How do Tablets fit into an Engineers world?
brett_cgb   11/29/2011 2:22:35 PM
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The Kindle Fire is a limited capability Android platform, and may be a poor comparison to a more complete android device. My Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S) also includes TWO cameras, accelerometers, and a magnetometer, all of which the Kindle appears to lack.


(Why isn't there a spell checker and previewer for these forum posts?)


Leigh
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Re: How do Tablets fit into an Engineers world?
Leigh   3/28/2012 7:24:53 PM
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iPADs and the like are media consumption devices. They are not good at creating (where KB/Mouse is the most productive input dev)

We use iPADs on our factory floor for work instructions where they view PDFs on our network. My wife and I each have one. She reads books and posts on facebook. I browse the net and watch TV (usually in Bed).

The new iPAD3 display is stunning.

One of my pet peeves is the computer industry has gone backwards in monitor resolution. ie Try getting a 1920x1200 screen now in a laptop. The highest you can now get is 1920x1050, and most laptops are 1366x768 or some similar miserable resolution. I would dearly love 300DPI monitors. (I know one of the issues is windows doen't do vector scaling)

Stirwelder
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11 Top iPad engineering Apps
Stirwelder   11/29/2011 11:15:52 AM
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I've acquired an IPad for use in my airplane as an electronic flight bag displaying charts and other data, and it is wonderful at that. I have come to value it as away to access the internet without all the flapdoodle associated with booting a computer. It is a great device foer consuming information, but not so great at creating information.

My personal favorite engineering app for the IPad (and IPhone!) is the HP calcualtor RPN emulating PCalc app. Many of us who embraced (in the 1970's)the HP calculator logic have always been uncomfortable using those addled "regular" calculators. I do not use a handheld calculator for extended engineering calculations much anymore, as I prefer the record and re-usability of a spreadsheet, but it is nice to have a serious calculator in my pocket or on my desk when it is appropriate.  

Curt Carpenter
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Instrumentation Display
Curt Carpenter   11/29/2011 11:33:59 AM
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I can see a lot of applications for a tablet in field maintenance and on the test bench.

On the bench, the tablet could serve as the virtual display and control panel for a whole range of instruments connected via usb or wireless.  In the field, it could be used to interface to systems with embedded test and maintenance capabilities (like JTAG).  

 

I'd love to have one to start working on apps like this, but it will have to wait 'til they become a little more affordable.  Meanwhile, I already have a range of instruments that interface to my laptop, and their a big plus.

 

brett_cgb
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Phone vs Tablet vs PC
brett_cgb   11/29/2011 2:01:27 PM
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When you say "mobile", I think mobile as in a tablet, and very mobile as in a phone.

I always have my phone with me wherever I go, so whatever I use would have to be usable on the phone. If I needed an app that required a tablet or keyboard, I would use a computer instead - a tablet would still be too limiting to be usefull. Exceptions to that would be the touch interface really added value, a viewer that allowed me to rotate/zoom objects, or a virtual control panel using sliders/knobs/buttons/switches.

(I do not have a tablet, but I do have an android phone.)

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Phone vs Tablet vs PC
Alexander Wolfe   11/29/2011 3:48:03 PM
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Good point about mobile, Brett. The definition is/has become fungible. Mobile no longer means just a smartphone, which is what is still my default thought. In the real world, though, the def now includes tablets, and basically actually refers more to a mode of working than to the platform upon which you're doing the work -- the latter (that platform) being almost irrevelant. The one exception I would say is the (lack of a) hard keyboard, which limits input capability on tablets.

brett_cgb
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Android phone apps
brett_cgb   11/29/2011 2:34:05 PM
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Consider RealCalc (try before buy, $3.49). This is a virtual scientific calculator that also support decimal/binary/octal/hex conversions and operations, RPN entry, customizable constants, and customizable conversions (ie, add your own constants and conversions).

Leigh
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Re: Android phone apps
Leigh   3/28/2012 7:27:45 PM
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I use console calc on the PC because you do things like

30m / 3.3u

ANS 9.09k

Thus I can work and think in us, nF, kOhms etc.

Do you know of any ios app that has that ability?

MikeVV
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Re: Android phone apps
MikeVV   6/28/2012 3:44:40 PM
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A web application at http://AnalysisChamp.com is capable of performing expression evaluation with complex unit conversion.  It includes a list of searchable units that can be entered as expressions and returned in desired units.  The webpage is formatted for desktop or mobile device screens and is free.  



I entered your example (assuming that "m" = meters and "um" = micrometers) and it returned 9.09E6.  It also has magnetic, luminescence, electric, viscocity, energy, force, mass, pressure, temperature, time, velocity and other unit types. 

ron2
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Top ipad
ron2   12/22/2011 12:59:19 AM
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The apps used in iPad are really very wonderful and in demand. They have some new concepts in them and are unique.

used office furniture Tampa

DCHopkins
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Another iPad app
DCHopkins   1/10/2012 9:32:48 AM
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Very impressed with iPocket Draw. I quickly work with a client on a spontanelus idea or, particularly good, is to draw up a full CAD and walk through making moderate changes. Later we go back through the changes and verify on the 'big screen'.

Richie_Rich
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Shock and Vibraion Apps
Richie_Rich   1/19/2012 12:57:31 PM
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You should take a look at the LuxCalc shock and vibration apps from Luxea Inc. Up to 3 DOF and linear and random vibe input. Drop Shock and different shock profiles (sawtooth, etc) are available.

Dave
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Nothing new, here
Dave   1/19/2012 3:11:58 PM
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't most, if not all of these apps available for a laptop and smart phone? I think if I must carry something other my smart phone, it will be a laptop with an I3 processor (or better) that I can dock to a 24-inch monitor for efficient CAD work at my place of destination. I3 laptops are now going for $400 - less costly than a smaller tablet and yet much more versatile.

 

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: Nothing new, here
Alexander Wolfe   1/24/2012 4:11:48 PM
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That's true, Dave. Nearly all of the apps mentioned here came in iPhone versions initially, then the iPad version followed.

Mccwho
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Tablets are not new Tech
Mccwho   2/6/2012 1:01:23 PM
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Tablets are not, as most of us know. I have one from the mid 90's, it runs an 386, and another that s running a P3. They were pretty much a niche market before. But technology is always upping, so bashing old tech is pointless, 10 yrs from now what we use now will be laughed at. I thing as a CAD/CAM user we use what is best for our needs at the point in time that it's best solution. If it makes my job more productive, I don't care who makes it. It will be outdated next year anyway, and I will using something else by then. These apps in the article could be useful given the right need. Thanks for the info on current Tech/software.

StevePotter
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12 Top iPad Engineering Apps
StevePotter   2/24/2012 10:47:00 AM
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For those of us that like nostalgia, I'd add one:  Virtual Slide Rule, from the Interrobang Group.  An excellent electronic representation of the Pickett N3-ES, with instructions.  Brings back great memories and helps keep math history alive!

Alexander Wolfe
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Re: 12 Top iPad Engineering Apps
Alexander Wolfe   2/24/2012 11:00:55 AM
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Thanks for that, Steve. In fact, I'd be very interested in people send me engineering ipad apps they use, for a follow-on slideshow.

jadbp
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Agilent's GREAT FREE APPS!
jadbp   3/28/2012 11:13:31 AM
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You missed some of the best engineering apps there are!  Go check out the free engineering apps from Agilent!

uWave Calc

EngrCalc

LC Calc

PCBCalc

They are currently pretty small, but very handy and VERY WELL DONE!

 

 

Vipin
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Re: Agilent's GREAT FREE APPS!
Vipin   3/28/2012 4:13:28 PM
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Jad,

Could you please kindly send me a link about Agilent's link!    

Thank you for your assistance.

Vipin S.

rhl
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Schematic Drawing and Circuit Analysis apps
rhl   5/2/2012 9:13:40 AM
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I would really like to know if someone knows or can recommend any schematic drawing and or circuit analysis apps for the iPAD.

RonChownyk
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Re: Schematic Drawing and Circuit Analysis apps
RonChownyk   11/19/2012 4:27:26 PM
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How about iCircuit?  Well worth the ten bucks for iPhone / iPad.  Has over 30 devices available as well as a meter and oscilloscope.  There are some screenshots on their website at icircuitapp.com

labernache
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Re: Schematic Drawing and Circuit Analysis apps
labernache   3/20/2013 1:28:56 PM
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I too have used and would like to see more apps like iCircuit. I would also like to see a pSpice tie-in app as well as a component EDA Librarian for iCircuit, so we could expand the 30+ components and families to include other glue logic, FPGA DSP and - why not - even tubes!

It would go a long way towards removing the iPad from toy status and turning it into a real work platform.

Let's hope, short of jail-breaking your device and running Linux variants on it, you could actually turn the iPAD (and other tablets) into a valuable workhorse type of highly portable tool.

Thanks for citing iCircuit. Most of the posts had to do with Electro-Mechanical apps or add-ons and viewers.

Why not some really productive tools that allow creation at first hand in the iOS domain rather than doing all the work on big desktops and saving the tablets to passing the work around for comment? Not to belittle that aspect. It is invaluable, but must we always be tied to our big computers?

labernache

RogueMoon
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a few of my favorite engineering apps
RogueMoon   6/7/2012 10:06:38 AM
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For those of us who are mechanical engineers, I have a few recommendations to offer for good iPad apps.  I echo the earlier sentiment about how most apps for iPad are more for novelty than utility.  I'm happy to include a few exceptions to the rule.

One is called "IntSteamTable" for International Steam Tables.  Although you have to pay a fee for it, I have used it a lot!  I highly recommend it for those trying to do powerplant calculations or other types of analysis requiring quick and accurate answers from steam tables.  It's based on the IAPWS-IF97 tables which are fairly common.  I was VERY impressed and have found it VERY useful.  iPad apps for engineering are not always this robust.

They also have a website: www.thermodynamic-property-libraries.com

Another is called "Compressible" which is a calculator for isentropic compressible flow relations, normal and oblique shock, Fanno and Rayleigh types of flow.  For the aerospace engineer, it's an awesome tool to have as I recently had cause to dig up my aerospace chops to get a valve problem solved.  This is an iPhone app that is stretched to fit the iPad.  (Anyone else find that annoying? having to stretch an iPhone app into iPad... )

thanks for the sliderule app recommendation (speaking of geek novelties).  I have one made by TestTubeGames.  I'll check out the other one.

 

RogueMoon
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stress/strain relations for iPad
RogueMoon   6/7/2012 10:09:47 AM
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this is more of a recommendation for a future app for iPad: A potentially awesome app would be if someone would take the time to build an iPad app for stress and strain types of problems. Using Roark's Stress and Strain as a guide would be a good start. It's a huge catalog of closed-form solutions to common and weirdly recurring stress and strain problems. For those who do nuts and bolts kind of mechanism evaluations, this would be priceless. The iPad is very graphic so the pictures of the different setups with the variables clearly illustrated would be easily doable. The user could just punch in the input variables and get an answer dumped out quickly, then adjust the values as needed to get the right answer for the specific job. Many stress/strain kinds of problems can be simplified so that you don't need a full-blown FEA model. Most of the time, your boss won't want you to spend that kind of time getting that kind of accuracy if it's a fairly inconsequential issue.

MikeVV
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Re: stress/strain relations for iPad
MikeVV   6/28/2012 4:16:30 PM
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I agree - RY as an App would be very useful.  I have a web application that I use for simple stress-strain calculations but would love to expand it to include RY equations. 



Go to http://analysischamp.com/links.htm for access to some useful web applications.

RogueMoon
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just found it: one for pyschrometric kinds of problems
RogueMoon   6/7/2012 10:21:10 AM
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I just discovered this one, but not sure about its utility...at least it was free?

Mechanical engineers sometimes need to deal with HVAC types of issues and that means dealing with the pyschrometric charts to figure out how much water is in the air and how much cooling you can get...etc

Reets Drying Academy has made a specialized app for this kind of general purpose although it is specific to his terminology and application for water damage professionals.  It's worthy to note.  There's always room for other apps in the same flavor.

MikeVV
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Re: 12 Top iPad Engineering Apps
MikeVV   6/28/2012 10:52:17 AM
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It's funny how things go around - check out the virtual slide rule at: http://www.antiquark.com/sliderule/sim/n909es/virtual-n909-es.html !

Cadman-LT
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Nice roundup
Cadman-LT   12/14/2012 11:39:36 AM
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I saw some good apps there, but would be more interested in android apps personally...or what might be to come for the new windows tablets.

apresher
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iPad Engineering Apps
apresher   1/8/2013 2:35:45 PM
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Very interesting selection of apps.  I suspect that the number of engineering apps will grow exponentially in the next 1-2 years.

Hudgmiester
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IPad Apps
Hudgmiester   2/18/2013 10:41:50 AM
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Apps appear to be great but i did not see or could you recommend Pure 3D Model viewing or editing apps?

Medvezhonok
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iPad schmyPad
Medvezhonok   10/16/2013 10:52:00 AM
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It's really too bad that all you promote is iPad, especially considering that Apple is rapidly losing market share to Android. Forget "the rest of us", how 'bout articles and apps for "the most of us"?

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Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: September 30 - October 2
Sponsored by Altera
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