Looking at architecture firms on the web, the firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) has some cool projects and fun models. I built a number of bridge models in my life (not great ones) and they were great visual aids for public meetings.
How many engineers have ever built a model for a presentation? Should we build models or use 3D graphics more often?
My blog is starting to be a place for me to place my random thoughts before they
escape my increasingly slippery mind.
One of the things I have thought about lately is the advent of more commercial engineering software. It seems that in-house or self-derived software was the norm for most engineering offices. Now most engineering software is coming from commercial vendors.
The question, is this a good thing?
I found this to be a half-full kind of thing. Engineers just do not have the time or training to program complex design software, so outside programs can be really helpful. The downside may be software that cannot “design” the way YOU want to design. By that I mean, the software may do things differently than you did in the past. Its still right, just a different methodology.
I also lament the lose of experience an engineer gets from really knowing all the quirks in a program (or spreadsheet) they put together. It seems to me that a good designer has to personalize their tools.
So is structural software just a tool like excel or is it a more personal commodity?
In what may have been my last class teaching in a University I spoke about analyzing trusses. You remember, assuming only compression or tension in the members, pin connections and coplaner 2D truss members. Using the method of joints or the method of sections to find the forces in each element of the truss and only loading the truss at the joints.
Since I have never really designed a truss bridge, I wondered if this simple model would actually apply to a bridge? Is this really the method bridge designers used to design all those great old bridges before the advent of computers?
Some of my colleagues just designed a new sign truss, using an FE model with secondary bending stresses in the truss. Would a simple model have worked? Check out Historicbridges.org for tons of truss bridges!
Now I know copying your CDs to your ipod is legal but I kinda doubt digitizing your personal book collection is legal….BUT I wish/hope it is.
I have a ton of books and I would like to carry digital copies of them wherever I go. (Well not everywhere…) So here is the DIY home book scanner.
As to teaching, two things. One, digitized text books would be welcome.I end up scanning images from the book so often for lectures that a digital copy would be heaven.
And two, I’m fairly unhappy the way my University is going.
I just got the word that next semester my section will be combined into one super section. That means instead of two 50-55 student classes, it will be one 100-110 students, “Introduction to Structural Analysis” class! With multiple choice exams! Partial credit be dammed!
When I started teaching 12 years ago I had 20 students and I knew all their names. Now it looks like a bad night at the bus stop. A small room, crowded with overcharged, under served, semi-angry customers. Throw in one under appreciated instructor and your facing an educational disaster!
So, I doubt I will be back, instead, I will look for more part-time work in addition to my regular job. I liked teaching, tried hard, but it is getting to be too much.