I know someone who is a degreed EE who, as a brand new EE, was given the task by his boss of taking apart an LED based replacement for 4ft fluorescent tube made by a competitor and copying it, but cheaper.
Not black-box reverse engineering it, not challenged to make something better. Just to copy it while finding a way to make it even cheaper to build. He tells me that there is no one else there to ask as it is very cut-throat at that company, and that most are in the same boat as he is. No or low experience, and no-one to mentor him.
He didn't choose to become a potential "made by monkeys" engineer, but has become one by his boss's demands.
When someone posts a problem with a gas mower I wish they would include brand or at least type. I have gotten years of service from power mowers with both Briggs or Tecumseh 4 cycle engines. But I did have some problem with a Lawnboy 2 cycle engine. I also torched a 2 cycle Mercury outboard and the mechanic told me the addition of ethanol into our gasoline causes a break down in the gas/oil mix which in turn causes excessive engine wear. Perhaps that was a contributer to the Lawnboy issue.
I do not know how true that is, but the marina where I store my current boat only sells gasoline which does not contain ethanol. I do enjoy the ease of starting electric, but it is totally impractical in my yard which is 3/4 acre and gets mostly mowed by a riding lawn mower, also a 4 cycle engine.
I had a gas mower that lasted over ten years and was still running when I gave it away, but...... I had to rebuild the carburetor every couple years. The carburetor body of the Briggs and Stanton engine appeared to be made of nylon and metering was performed by an odd, neoprene baffle separating the two halves of the carburetor. The neoprene part would wear out and needed to be replaced, which meant pulling the carburetor off, disassembling it, and replacing the neoprene part every couple of years. I bought a handful of the strange little baffles and kept them in the garage so I could replace them whenever the mower started chugging.
Another case of going cheap; carburetors used to be made of metal and the metering was performed by needle valves that yielded years and years of surface before cleaning was required, and that was cleaning, not replacing. I went electric too, and then gutted the charging electronics to go solar.
There is a good lesson to be learned here. It doesn't matter how much of your heart and soul you put into a design, when it comes down to it, your shortcuts will destroy your reputation. I am sure the mower was designed very well and worked as advertised, but all this goes down the toilet when you design the part that every customer will deal with almost every day to be flimsy, ugly, bothersome, unwieldy, or otherwise Mickey Mouse (no offense to the king of mice). The little things will kill you!
When you buy something that is packaged well, good looking, nice graphics, and so on, you suspect that you have a quality item. You buy a Mercedes, you expect and get a loaner car, and your car is returned vacuumed and washed. When you buy a Craftsman tool, you expect to return it for a new one if it breaks. When you shop at a great grocery store like Price Chopper, Whole Foods, etc., you get and expect great produce and good service. When you buy a name brand item, like Black and Decker, you expect a good product with good features. You don't expect a piece of wire to be the key. Shame on them! There goes a piece of Americana...
I had no idea gas mowers lasted longer. I've had no problems with my electric mower, kind of looks like a little car with its lazyman start. It was a nice change from the gas one I used on my family's farm , which didn't have an easy starter.
Nah.. Don't need three hands to feed to line out on the weedeater. Just make sure you spool the string nice and flat. Don't criss-cross the string on the spool and no backlash. It should work perfect everytime. I wish I could fine a tap-and-go line feed for my weed eater. I hate cutting small lengths to carry around in my pocket only to find they fell out somewhere along my trek around the yard.
I worked as a component supplier to Dewalt in the late 90's when they introduced 24 volt tools that they thought would sell like wildfire. I do not know the exact numbers, but we did not supply to them as many components as was planned. Consumers thought that they were too heavy and too expensive and bought the time tested 18 volt instead.
The water soak is a trick that pro landscapers use to get high life out of their line. One word of advice is that all troimmer lines arenot the same. All are mostly nylon, but some are 6 and some are 66. Usually the higher the cost the tougher the line.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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