You're right, Chuck. The ones I see in shops are not the $50 to $100 kind. I didn't know the cheap ones even existed. Surely there must be a significant difference or the shops wouldn't invest in pricy equipment.
SS corrodes in warm salt water. So I would question its use on a washer.
I used my gun cleaning brushes on the Toy valve guides after reaming. Just discovered chamber brushes from CMP M1 Garand. So that is another story. Don't use a chamber brush and use your foot to eject an empty case. My dad's hunting partner had it happen to him. Good thing he didn't have the timber wolf encounter.
ConstitutionMan, I don't think that a designer has any say in the features. That is determined by marketing idiots, possibly based on inputs from focus groups, who are mostly dysfunctional in a few aspects. The main emphasis is always on minimum cost to produce it while still having an adequate production yield. So even a cheap plastic insert in the hinge would have been a cost penalty at around 4 cents. And the plastic would have been a better choice than stainless, since it would be simpler to install and require a less precise alignment. And it would be quieter.
So the designers will never learn anything, or even hear about the problems, unless, possibly, the machines start killing people. That may get some attention, possibly.
I understand your frustration, Jim_E. I frequently travel, and when I do, I keep running into vehicles with difficult user interfaces. I recently rented a car on vacation and none of the three people in our car were able to figure out how to turn on the radio until we reached our destination -- approximately 35 miles away. The problem is that designers are trying to make their interfaces do too much. As a result, they have screens with multple nested displays. The user needs to learn which "buttons" to hit in order to move to the screen they want. I'm sure the owners have no problems with the displays after a few weeks, but it's hard for people who are renting the cars, or getting into them for the first time. We need more simplicity...please!
One reason for doing away with the simple timer on washing machines has to do with the DOE regulations. There are a bunch of laws that require a machine to default to a low energy wash (Cold/Cold) no matter what the consumer did on the previous load. It's expensive to do that and still provide all the wash options that consumers want without using a computer interface, even if it is just buttons and LEDs.
We recently upgraded our Toyota minivan from a 2005 to a 2013 and are not too thrilled about the user interface for the HVAC. Luckily the radio still has knobs, but the HVAC controls are not very intuitive.
With the old van, there were four knobs. One controlled the fan, one controlled the temperature, one controlled the function (floor, dash, defrost, etc) and the last one controlled the rear HVAC function. The A/C button had an LED which let you know if it was on, and everything worked well. While driving, I could reach down and make adjustments by feel without looking.
The new minivan has one knob-like control, a bunch of buttons and a small color computer monitor (non-touchscreen). The knob isn't a knob, but a left right switch with two buttons on the front. The button for the Air Conditioning does not have an LED on it, and you now have to look up at the color monitor to see if the A/C is on. There are +/- switches for the fan control, but the response is delayed, so when you press them, you have to wait for a second or two to know if it's blowing fast or slow enough, which is quite annoying. To make any changes to the system, I have to take my eyes off of the road, not once, but twice, as I have to first look at the controls to make sure that I'm pushing the correct button, but then I have to look at the screen to see if the system is in the correct mode. This is particularly annoying when you want to change the air from blowing on your feet to coming from the dash. In my opinion, a single mode button is a poor implementation of this feature as you have to cycle through all of the other options to get the one that you want.
With all of the power features (seats, doors, rear hatch, moonroof) on this new van, I dread when they start to fail....
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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