Monthly Archives: April 2011

Ten Worst Teaching Mistakes

It seems true.. back to grading, sigh..

Mistake #8. Turn classes into PowerPoint shows.
It has become common for instructors to put their lecture notes into PowerPoint and to spend their class time mainly droning through the slides. Classes like that are generally a waste of time for everyone.

Urban Park Bridge Concept

I drew a simple bridge and then went crazy with the tall grass instance brush….

Would it be worth to build simple bridges that could carry parkland? The bridge could also be used for urban vegetable gardens in the city, locations for farmer’s markets and special occasions.

best big screen engineering calculator?

Okay, calculator screens seem to be getting smaller. Any advice on a good BIG screen calculator? I have a TI-89, a TI-85 and I had a TI voyager which broke down..

So it has to solve for one unknown in an equation and be cheaper than a car….

Any advice?

Keyframe Animation plugin

Google Sketchup uses plugins to enhance the software. I downloaded and tried one called Keyframe Animation. I am just using the free trial version (same as the paid version) and I may spring $19 bucks for the license.

Here is the final result.

Sooo, I made a quick tutorial to help me remember how to use it. My little rotating bridge is near the end if you want to skip the first part….it looks like you have to watch it full screen at 720p to see anything….

Odd Day

Someone stole my kid’s bike today. Not really a bridge thing but it pissed me off.

Okay how about this bridge concept?

Has this been done? (This is a quick sketch that I made so I don’t forget the concept.)

Moving bridges and Art have been on my brain and I thought this would be fun. You could have levers on the platform that you pull and then you rotate to the other side or stop midway to let small boats by….maybe powered by the current.

I suppose you would need a locking gate of some kind to prevent “mishaps”. I think I need to put some more engineering into this but you get the idea.

So has this been done?

Megan Wheel Bridge version 1.1

I made a quick video of my bridge concept and yes it is still not safe. I added some more rails but I still have openings, so you could fall in the river…
So I thought I could add some stationary rails. Then I worried people may get stuck on them….I will figure it out.

I also thought this bridge would be perfect if you had multiple entrances and exits. Sort of a roundabout for pedestrians. Or in a park with a center sculpture and the bridge spins to multiple pathways.


Then I wondered what these two people were fighting about?
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Proyecto de tesis Jorge Vivas

This looks to be a Thesis project by Jorge Vivas, but my Spanish is limited. (non existent) It is a great video and one I doubt most engineers could match.

The bridge is nice but what caught my eye is the difficulty of making access ramps look good. I think Mr. Vivas handled it in a great way but I still like elevators….

Google Sketchup Training for (Bridge) Engineers

I learn something new everyday in Google Sketchup and I thought I would put together some training videos for (bridge) engineers. (So look for that.)

In addition, I am looking to teach half day/full day seminars on Sketchup modeling for engineers and students. The plan is to offer a few seminars this fall, starting in the Midwest. (But I will travel if someone wants a course in their neighborhood.)

Seminars will include a disk copy of Sketchup, useful plug-ins, video tutorials, and professional development hours for those that need them. (PDHs) Computers will also be available for hands on training.

The course will give a introduction to Sketchup, modeling tips, and guidance on how to incorporate visualization into your design projects. I may also include tips on 3D photorealistic modeling.

If your interested in taking a class, I am starting a mailing list, go to my about page and send me an email.

Thanks! Back to our regular programming.

Sunday Engineering rant

I’m tired today, too much noise from a local concert. So being in a cranky mood, and after reading this post on a liberal blog, I got to thinking about engineering.

Now I don’t want this to turn into a political discussion. The part I want to focus on is the phrase, “No We Can’t.” I don’t know about you but I get this message everywhere in engineering. It used to be that we could build roads, bridges and go to the moon. Engineers could do anything. Now we are in the “protect”, “maintain” and standardize era of engineering.

What do you think? Are engineers better today or did we miss our high point. Am I working on the downhill side of bridge design?

Oh here is a quick fuzzy idea for my Megan Wheel bridge 2.0…

Carousel Bridge – now The Megan Wheel Bridge

Ya know it is totally liberating to ignore structural constraints and the safety of pedestrians. I was out running (anything faster than a walk is considered running..) and I thought Carousel Bridge! It is kinetic like the unfolding bridge and environmental conscious since it is powered by the river current.

You get on one side and glide like a playground merry-go-round to the other side. Kinda like a flat ski lift. Maybe I could put benches on the bridge and you could have coffee on certain parts?

Anyway I haven’t finished it yet. (look for the imaginary supports for the outer ring..) I’m not sure I am going to finish it until I hear from HP if it is an original idea.

I just know he is going to point me to one already built somewhere……

Update: The version of the bridge below would be turned by rollers on the land. (Hidden of course) So the wheel bridge  spans the river and no structure is really needed in the water.

Another quick render (lost of noise) and slippery!

Update: The following version would use a spindle in the middle to turn the wheel like a bicycle wheel. I think the one above is more attractive and would allow debris to float underneath. The one below could be raised to let river traffic go by…

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