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What's Your First 'Engineering' Story?

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Tim
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Engineering Story
Tim   10/29/2012 10:51:26 AM
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My story is the installation of a toggle switch on a hand-held game to create a mute button for my toy as a kid.  This was my first foray into changing existing technology and using a solder iron.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Platinum
Early Electronics Kits
Jack Rupert, PE   10/29/2012 10:57:45 AM
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I had a little electronics kit that was essentially a large bread board with a handful of components.  It came with a book of a whole bunch of circuits to build and showed both the schematic and the "wiring diagram".  The quality left something to be desired, especially the potenitometers, which needed to be assembled from cheaper componets.  Later, I upgraded to a much better kit.

NadineJ
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hide the phillips
NadineJ   10/29/2012 11:07:42 AM
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In the earliest stories, my family jokes about having to hide screwdrivers when I was around.  I had a habit of screwing the backs off of any electronic device to look inside.  I don't remember that but I'm sure it's true.

When my dad built his own digital clock, I didn't leave his side all summer.  I HAD to learn how to do that too.  Best summer ever...

richnass
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Blogger
Re: hide the phillips
richnass   10/29/2012 11:43:12 AM
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NadineJ: I can appreciate your story. I was always really good at taking stuff apart, but not as good at (or maybe not as interested in) putting stuff back together. Now, thanks to our Tear Down articles, I actually get paid to take stuff apart. And it usually gets returned in a ziplock bag.

gsmith120
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Platinum
Re: Early Electronics Kits
gsmith120   10/29/2012 12:55:35 PM
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I only discovered fun with electronics while in community college.  My first project was a Light Beam Communicator, think it was a Heath-Kit.  It was a lot of fun to build, my soldering skills... well not the best but I got the job done.  While Daddy wasn't an engineer he know a lot and was really good at electronics and fixing stuff.  However, in our house the girls were mostly taught "lady like things" by Mommy and my brother was taught "manly things" by Daddy.  Guess Daddy may have been surprised to get a girl that's an electrical engineer.  Surprised me too. lol

Tim
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Platinum
Re: hide the phillips
Tim   10/29/2012 3:14:50 PM
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My dad hid all of the 9/16"wrenches and sockets, so I would stop taking my bike apart. It worked until I found his set of slip joint pliers.

notarboca
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Gold
Re: Engineering Story
notarboca   10/29/2012 3:38:15 PM
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Tube testing at the drugstore for our first color TV (1969).  We watched the Moonshot on that TV.  I later helped my Dad change the picture tube on that Zenith console.  Matter of fact, I took the TV to college and used it right up until I wanted something better (1986).  Oh yes, and pulling the crystal/mechanical tuner and cleaning all the contacts.  My Dad was an Aviation Electronics man in the Navy; I had a great time growing up and fixing/modifying electronics.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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First lesson in Engineering Economics
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   10/29/2012 6:48:01 PM
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When I was just a toddler, Lego Blocks let my imagination turn into enormous creations.  But I remember something of a very specific value, quite a few years later.  I was 16 and landed a job as a Detail Draftsman at a Detroit Tool & Die shop, a job obtained thru the High School Co-Op program.  A 5-ton cylindrical hub-cap die was crushing the part with a small interference.  I attempted the corrective action by reducing the Inside diameter of the tool member by ½ inch.  When the shop owner saw my attempt, he showed me that the entire I.D. didn't need reducing; only about .050" at the face needed relieving.  He explained that while the full I.D. could have been reduced for the clearance it would have taken 25x longer in lathe work to reduce the diameter, instead of simply "facing" the small, local depression.  He put his hand on my shoulder and informed me that machine time costs money! My first lesson in Engineering Economics.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Blogger
Re: Engineering Story
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   10/29/2012 6:53:50 PM
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Hey I remember those Tube-Tester panels at the Drug Stores!  I had forgotten about those – What a blast from the past!

Nancy Golden
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Platinum
Re: Engineering Story
Nancy Golden   10/29/2012 10:10:34 PM
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So I found a little FM transmitter project in Radio Electronics and decided to build it. Remember the days you could go to Radio Shack and get the stuff to etch your own board? I didn't know enough to solder in all of my components as close to the board as possible so I had everything with the leads up high hanging in the air...fortunately when I was talking to a friend about it and that I was puzzled that it wouldn't work, they pointed out the problem. After resoldering my components I got it to work - and I have it to this day!

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