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People Who REALLY Build Things! Message Board › Mechanical stuff

Mechanical stuff

Antelope, CA
Post #: 164
I’m in one of those moods for a really good rant…. Or two.

First of all, I just had an awakening, it started at the Maker Faire…
Went there with high expectations of seeing mechanical stuff, builders, workers of metal or plastics, fiberglass, carbon fiber, designers of mechanical stuff…
The representation turnout for mechanical fabrication was very low, probably way less than 10% of all the vendors.
The one mechanical standout was a guy that built a clock from old bicycles. The gearing was amazing. It had a touch of genius.
But that was pretty much it, nothing else stood out.
As for the most of the booth venders, it was so crowded you couldn’t get close. I was there on a Saturday. It looked like the vast majority was software or software related.

On a different side of the coin, I like to keep an eye open to new businesses that are just starting out. One way to do that is to watch the venture capitalists and what they are looking for and investing in. Right now by far, software and apps are hot. They are also looking for medical stuff.

Why are there no new gadgets, doodads or mechanical fads coming out?

Here’s my guess, the schools took the industrial arts away. When I was in jr. high we had wood shop, metal shop and electronics. In HS we had metal shop and related (welding etc…), wood shop, some electronics. That was back in the 70’s.
Guess I turned into one of those old timers. When I think of building something it is something you can hold, now when many people talk about building something it is usually software related.

Even on this board there are many software leaning folk.

Are there any Junk Yard Wars type people here? People that make stuff out of other stuff?
I think it may be the older folks that are still thinking mechanically.
How about the retired folk that like to build stuff?

If you are interested in mechanical stuff, leave a note on this thread. Just say hi, I’m mechanical, or something with more detail such as what you like to build or work with, how much time you get to or want to play in the shop, what you would like to learn in building things, your skills, etc...

Introduce yourself mechanical folks, let’s see how many there are of us.

Group Organizer
Sacramento, CA
Post #: 2,033
There are a bunch of us here Bill!
A former member
Post #: 27
i had the same impression at the maker faire a few years ago, lots of electronics. i suspect that most people think of mechanisms as boring, which is too bad because there's so much one can do without engines or motors. electronics are what's sexy now, but then you are tethered to the grid or PV.

however, altho i'm very interested in design of useful manual devices, i'm interested in boring things like washing machines and kitchen tools, not sexy things like 20-speed bikes. and i'm not skilled in the industrial arts and i'm too old to think that spending my time learning would be efficient. but i'd love to work with someone who is.
user 9419483
Placerville, CA
Post #: 74
...You kids get off my lawn!

Come awn guys. Maker fair is like that cause that is what Maker fair is. Just because it is called maker fair does not make it the sum of all that people are making.

I think its wrongheaded to ask ‘why are you people all not like me?’. One thing I like about this meetup is that is loosely defined and yet celebrates anything that people want to build.
I'm guilty of not taking the time to put most of the things I build up to share with others. I appreciate those that do.

I just think we should keep things open here and applaud everything that people do.
I am glad there are people that are into code. They do great stuff that I need to do what I want to do. I have a programmer that works for me. He makes the magic dust that brings my electro-mechanical inventions to life.

As an anecdote, the other month I was working on a project where I needed to mount a piece of equipment on an engine. The engines vibration profile was not available to me for proprietary reasons but in order to design the appropriate vibration isolation I needed to get some idea of the frequencies and magnitude. I turned to my smart phone and found a promising seismograph app. I quickly discovered that the app was written as more of a novelty than a tool and it had some limitations that made it unworkable for me. It took long period, low frequency samples that aliased out what I was looking for. After a bit of research to confirm that the hardware in my phone was capable of better, I emailed the developer and asked if it would be possible to take a short period at a higher frequency. Twenty minutes later, I had a new version with a setting for both period and frequency and I was getting usable results. I offer this as an illustration that it takes all kinds.

I am so grateful that the world is filled with people that are different from me. Were it not so, people that were better at the things I am good at would get my job and I would be forced to do something I where I don’t fit as well.

I am so excited that kids are growing up today in a world where they have access to so much diversity in making. While the loss of shop class is scandalous, I’m betting that gaining the internet as a community and classroom for the interested will yield a boom of great innovation, and not just in code.
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