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  • Should a Mechanical Design Engineer know everything about everything?

    Discussion in 'The main mechanical design forum' started by Archimedes, Apr 26, 2012.

    1. Mikeflaggmead

      Mikeflaggmead New Member

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      The answer is simple :

      We should not and cannot know everything. But if there is a need, most times, there is no one else to turn to. Most companies cannot afford to have a specialist for everything. Day in and day out, most of us prove that our companies confidence in us was well founded. They give us a difficult task and we succeed. This reinforces them to do the same thing the next time.
       
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    3. maniacal_engineer

      maniacal_engineer Well-Known Member

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      I don't have to run faster than the bear, I just have to run faster than you. I don't have to know everything the customer wants me to know, I just have to know more of it, and where to find it, than you do.
       
    4. tonycro

      tonycro Well-Known Member

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      I like that !
       
    5. reversethrust

      reversethrust Member

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      In my opinion, a mechanical design engineer does need to know ABC of almost everything related to his goal. But not like you need to be expert on that. If you do not know a particular thing, that is where you need to communicate with fellow team members to get an idea regarding the problem
       
    6. Aleksey721

      Aleksey721 Member

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      My college Philosophy professor told us a phrase his professor taught him many-many years ago:

      "A Specialist must know everything about something and something about everything"
       
    7. reversethrust

      reversethrust Member

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      What I make out of it that you need to know everything in detail about one field but it's good to have insight of other relevant disciplines as well.

      However, Mechanical Design Engineering doesn't have anything specific which you can learn more about than others. A design engineers must know something about everything. Not everything about something
       
    8. mvalenti

      mvalenti Well-Known Member

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      Most that say they do, really dont.
       
    9. srdfmc

      srdfmc Well-Known Member

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      I agree with that.

      There is a lot of showoff attitude in a design department nowadays. And sadly often the blind lead the others.

      I always have a good ten to twenty books on my desk... ranging from Fluids mechanics, SMD minimal values, or simply ISO norms. I am not shy about. What I don't remember is then easily at hands reach.

      The most vital is to have a "situation awareness" or a good SA as the pilots says with what you have to deal. Then it's just a matter of time lost in research to get into the "details" of your design. For me it's often trough the energy of a system that I can have a good eyes of what is needed to do.

      Frankly, I have seen dozen of times of quite competent experts in their own fields pushing a project in the wrong direction just because it suited mainly their way of doing the work.
       
    10. srdfmc

      srdfmc Well-Known Member

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      For example, one day when I was asking a talented engineer why is rotating drum was made so heavy, he then replied to me : "the more mass you hve on the axis, the less severe it oscillate"... That particular design ended up with several tons of extra weight that had to be carried by extra centimeters of materials on the structural frame, complex vibrating modes, heavy lifting equipment, special trucks on the road and so on and so on...

      SA is the way to go.
       
    11. vidgolob

      vidgolob Active Member

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      I am now the only engineer in a company for the second time. Its basically how I work every day ( expected to know everything about everything )
      1) Yes. All the time. But that was never an expectation from another engineer.
      2) Not possible. I think people don't realize that to have a solid knowledge on ten fields you would need to have 10 majors in college and/or work in 10 different areas as an engineer ( I think you really understand a field of mechanical engineering when you work in that field for at least one year - first you have to master the theory, and then you have to use it to see how it applies ).
      3) Yes. And even if you do know the answer, its best to double check, do some quick calculations etc.
      4) I start with Google. I only use wikipedia for some technical terms, otherwise I look for forums, literature references or specialized sites. Technical supports are getting better and better as well..

      I think the main problem is that people with other degrees simply don't understand what they are talking about, but when you try to explain, they think you're making excuses. When people asked what I do for a living, and I told them I am a mechanical engineer, some have asked me to fix their car so they don't have to take it to the mechanic. And when I tell them that even if I did that, their car warranty could be canceled, they ask you why...
      I have had development projects ( calculations, construction, simulations, reconstruction, ... ) and the sales department started asking me if the project is finished after two days. No matter how hard you try to explain that this takes more time, its just no use... They say they already did their job, and when you say 'yes, you made a quotation and sold something thats not even constructed yet' they just don't see the problem ( or the difference ).
      But I do agree - most companies don't have the resources for consultants or entire engineering departments, so in this situations you just have to do your best.
       

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