At the risk of wearing out a phrase; “It’s a great time to be an Engineer!” Not only an Engineer but any person that is involved or interested in innovation in science and technology. I believe that we are in a perpetual state of revolution of technology. No matter what field of science and technology you choose to explore or contribute, the level of innovation is nothing short of astounding.
Previously I’ve been discussing the engineering process and prototyping… important subjects… dry… but hey, it’s engineering. Not so dry for those of us that live it.
I’d like to thank everyone who has appreciated and contributed to follow-up, discussion and praise. However, I’m going to shift gears and share with you an anecdotal experience that I believe taught me a very important Engineering lesson.
As many of you know, I worked for a major aircraft manufacturer for many years and truly believe that my experiences there made me the engineer I am today. I have many fond memories of those experiences.
Previously we spoke about 3D printers, their promise or lack thereof! I will admit I have been a bit cynical of their reliability, accuracy and actual usefulness. There is absolutely no doubt that 3D printers are here to stay and promise great things for our future. Sadly, for most of us, it still remains in the future. Despite the fact that Adept designs 100’s of parts per month we don’t own a 3D printer and don’t expect to purchase one anytime soon. That’s not to say we don’t utilize rapid manufacturing a great deal. However, by not bringing a single technology in house we are not bound or tempted to fit our process into the single technology we own. Prototyping companies put out a horde of advertising displaying complex assemblies that have been 3D printed in order to entice us towards their machines and services, but beware, (we’ll talk about that a little later). I don’t want to necessarily talk about 3D printers but more about prototyping as a whole. Specifically about when to prototype and when not to prototype, a sort of Shakespearean… “to Prototype or not to Prototype”.