Come see about us
Have you visited www.designnews.com lately? Not only will you notice a color upgrade, you'll also find offerings from Product Design & Development, Design News's sister magazine and co-host of the website. With the newly expanded site, DesignNews.com now provides more content in its product database and more help in locating suppliers through the enhanced OEM Directory. With the merged site, visitors have an even larger resource for design engineering.
Chances are, at some point in your lifetime, you've wondered how or why something was invented, be it Play-Doh®, the compact disk, or electricity. At the Great Idea Finder website (www.ideafinder.com/history), the history of inventions small and large features the facts—and myths—of ideas from the automobile to the zipper. Read about 19-year old Blaise Pascal's invention of the calculator in 1642, an invention formerly attempted by none other than Leonardo da Vinci. On the lighter side, look into the masterminded marketing of Silly Putty, a pliable rubber material overstocked from World War II and repackaged in plastic eggs for children, or VELCRO®, the fastening result of a burr-covered Swiss engineer.
DSP for dummies
Texas Instruments (TI) is reaching out to those less fortunate than digital signal processing (DSP) users—that is, those in need of learning to design with DSP. At its site (www.dspvillage.ti.com/cocostu), TI discusses what DSP is, as well as when and how it should be used. Offering white pages and technical briefs for further understanding, the site also includes a section on which of the company's three DSP platforms would best suit a particular application.
Steinmeyer Inc. is offering its Design Tool—for free—to visitors of its website (www.steinmeyer.com). Intended to help engineers choose ball screws, the Design Tool database software operates by having engineers select nut style, screw diameter, pitch, and preload value parameters. The tool displays the remaining ball screw option, given the parameters. Visitors may then use the mouse to fully rotate a 3D image of the nut, before downloading the 2D or 3D drawing. The Design Tool is also compatible with AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Solid Edge, Mechanical Desktop, and Pro/ENGINEER.
For deals on electrical distribution, automation and control products, do some bargain shopping at Elestream.com (www.us.elestream.com). The site is an e-commerce superstore for SIEI, S.p.A. of Italy, making it the sole factory-direct source of these products in North America, according to the company. Presently, their product line includes reduced voltage starters, ac drives, manual motor starters, and a full line of switches, but it will eventually include circuit breakers, relays, contactors, timers, pressure switches, micro PLCs, and solenoid valves.
More bargain shopping
Bossard's e-commerce site, BossShop (www.bossard.com), provides ideas for engineers looking for the right fastener. The site allows visitors to search by product use, product standard, or product BN number; in return, it provides product descriptions, dimensions, and technical features, as well as discounted prices. Other online features include Boss Calc, for information on durability, surface pressure, and yield strength of a screw, and Boss CAD, the 20 fastener CAD library.