Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What “Real” Engineers do!

My nephew is a mechanical engineering student at UNH. He sent me a photo sequence that makes me a bit queasy but I’m a bit nervous about heights. I’ll include his description of what he is doing.

JesseWindpower2

JesseWindpower3

For those of you out there who think that Engineers just sit around all day in front of a computer, here is a little taste of what we do on a regular basis. For those of you who don't know, I work for Sig Sauer (one of the world's foremost handgun manufacturer) as a Design Engineer. I work primarily on R&D and the design of firearms and firearms components. An average day for me includes several shootings, the handling of a minimum of 20 different firearms (more often than not there are machineguns, grenade launchers, and suppressors thrown in the mix also), and it is not uncommon for me to have to move a firearm or two to get at my keyboard. The pictures depict me investigating the possibilities for wind power at my parents house. I scaled the 32m (105ft) tower to get dimensions of the tower as well as to inspect it's structural integrity. The next steps are data collection for the areas wind activity, and perform FEA (Finite Element Analysis) of the tower to determine safe operating parameters. So, as you can see, not all of Engineering is "simply basking in the glow of a computer monitor" (quote stolen from Steph - ChE)