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Calculator for Mechanical Engineering

  1. Aug 16, 2005 #1
    Hi , I'm entering college this fall majoring in mechanical engineering and I need a graphing calculator. However , I am unsure of which one to buy. These calculators are quite costly so I want to be sure that I am getting the right one. I simply want a calculator that will be able to function through any math related courses. Could someone who is going through or has gone through mechanical engineering give me some advice here?

    Thanks in advance.

    Note : My apologies if this is in the wrong forums.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2005 #2

    FredGarvin

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    Not to sound like an old fogie here (I'm not that old), but why do you need a graphing calculator? A regular calculator with all of the scientific functions is plenty. I never needed a graphing function except to help me when I didn't understand a graph and then I would either borrow someones or go to the computer. I went through college with guys that paid hundreds of dollars for HPs and TIs that they never used 10% of it's functionality. My advice is save that money and buy a good sinle line calculator.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/of...f=dp_bb_a//104-7886950-7814300?condition=all/

    http://www.makobusiness.com/texin30xiisc.html

    http://www.hp.com/calculators/scientific/9s/

    http://www.hp.com/calculators/scientific/30s/
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2005
  4. Aug 16, 2005 #3
    Wasper,
    You'll need whatever the department uses. MOST Calculus and physics courses that I know of are taught with a TI-83. Great calculator...the Silver Edition is a very nice machine. I used an 83 and a Voyage 200 (which used to be called a TI-92) in Calc 1 and 2 last year. I like them both, but some colleges won't let you use anything over an 83 on tests and the like.
    The Voyage 200 (TI-92) has too many options which will allow cheating- or at least an unfair advantage. Some colleges, I understand, use Hewlett Packard. If it were me, I'd either ask someone (e-mail would work) in the department at the college you are attending, or look at the college catalog to see if I could discern which they use.
    Hope this helps
     
  5. Aug 16, 2005 #4
    I absolutely love my YI-86. Harder to find but better for engineering than an 83. The 86 has a few built in calculus functions and diff-eq functions.
     
  6. Aug 17, 2005 #5

    Tide

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    Have you thought of getting a pocket pc? Some of them are quite good and it's easy enough to install software if you want to expand its functionality.
     
  7. Aug 17, 2005 #6

    Clausius2

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    As I have seen some other different replies, I am going to repit what Fred has said, which is all gold. He knows what he is talking about, and I know too because I have survived 5 years of study with a CASIO fx922, which is a single calculator. To have a single calculator when studying engineering is a sign of braveness, it is as you would walk into the jungle with a fork instead of a machete and you survive. All students that I have met with HP and all these stuff of expensive calculators were all of them bad students.

    My undergraduate project advisor is the dept of Fluid Mech. chairman, he does not have any calculator inside his room, do you believe it?. Always I have visited him, I see him doing numbers such as 0.145*sqrt(.7594)/5 with his head, or when they are too difficult he paces himself giving a good approximation of their value. Calculators are not for him. Well, the rest of human beings like me try to imitate him with the singlest calculator as possible. :smile:
     
  8. Aug 17, 2005 #7
    Fred and Clausius you guys are right. I've e-mailed a professor in the engineering department of my school and he has told me that I would only need a scientific calculator. Nearly all graphing will be done on the laptop with software supplied by the school, rather than on a graphing calculator. I was going to spend 150 bucks on a Ti 89 , but now I'll just get a much cheaper Ti 83. That's 70 more bucks into paying my tuition .. thanks guys. :smile:
     
  9. Aug 17, 2005 #8

    FredGarvin

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    Or $70 more towards pizza and coffee for the late nights.

    Good luck!
     
  10. Aug 19, 2005 #9
    I love my voyage 200, It's the best!! Note however that the TI 89 has a lot of the same functions. Such as solving DVQ's Complex algebra and matrix operations. The TI 83 sucks and you might as well just by a regular calculator for $10.
     
  11. Aug 20, 2005 #10
    i cant believe noone has suggested the hp-48. this is by far, in my opinion, the best calculator ever produced. it does anything that you could possibly want and more. you should look into it before getting another one
     
  12. Aug 22, 2005 #11
    I finished a two year engineering program with a TI-83 that will be about.....
    *counts on fingers*

    seven years old or so. And honestly, I didnt need much of the functionality available neither.
    HOWEVER
    Using your imagination to find out the purpose of the diffrent functions was half the fun. I tell ya, after I sold boxes and boxes of candy to get my TI-83, I dived into that sucker and programmed the pygathorean theorum the first night I got it.

    Ah memories.
     
  13. Aug 22, 2005 #12
    Please don't make general statements like this. I have never gotten below an A in any class in which graphing calculators were permitted (including all of my physics and engineering classes), and I use a TI-89. As with every tool, it all depends on how you use it. On the one hand, if you only do simple calculations with it, then you are obviously not utilizing it fully. On the other hand, if you're using it to perform numerical integrations which might otherwise by cumbersome, or you're using it to simplify complex statements which might take a long time to do, then you're using it wisely. I can't begin to tell you how much time that thing saved me during exams.
     
  14. Aug 23, 2005 #13

    Clausius2

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    I am not making ANY GENERAL STATEMENT!!!!!!!

    Re-read my sentence again!!!. I am not saying: "all students that have those kind of calculators are bad students". Not quite. I am saying: "all students that I HAVE MET and have this calculators were bad students". Where is the general statement?, I don't see it. It's a pity you know how to handle your calculator but you don't know how to comprehend the comments of the rest of the people. :yuck:
     
  15. Aug 23, 2005 #14

    FredGarvin

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    I can see where you're coming from on that one. The only thing I see with these types of calculators is that they are marketed primarily to students, especially high school students. I have NEVER seen an add for them that depicts an engineer or engineering student churning out integrals as part of an ad campaign. I see this as a real pitty. IMO it's another step in dumbing kids down for the sake of expediency and ease. In most people's hands, these are small idiot boxes that the kids simply punch buttons and parrot what comes out. We're bringing kids up through the ranks already dependent on something other than their brain.

    Off soapbox....opens floor for old foagie comments and such.
     
  16. Aug 23, 2005 #15

    russ_watters

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    Just a minor nitpick here - though practicing engineers don't often use graphing calculators (I don't either), schools often require them, so the best advice really was to find out what the department (and that means your math department too...) recommends.
     
  17. Aug 23, 2005 #16

    FredGarvin

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    If I had a kid who said his math teacher is making him spend $120 for a calculator simply because it graphs, I would be standing on that teacher's desk demanding to know what the hell they are trying to accomplish. Actually, now that that has been brought up, does anyone know why some places require an expensive calculator like that? I am interested in hearing the reasons why. It will be good preparation for if I ever have a kid.
     
  18. Aug 23, 2005 #17

    brewnog

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    I've been happy with my £5 sharp for the past 8 years or so. Never had the need to use a graphing calculator, and especially not for anything I did for my engineering degree!

    Don't let BobG see this thread, he'll have us all using slide rules.
     
  19. Aug 23, 2005 #18

    russ_watters

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    A google reveals Drexel University's Engineering dept's policy on calculators: http://www.physics.drexel.edu/pfe/courseinfo/CalculatorF99.pdf

    In general, I don't see the use of a calculator as being wholly different than using Matlab (or Excel) to solve a problem for you. Its just another tool.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2005
  20. Aug 23, 2005 #19

    FredGarvin

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    Non graphing scientific calculators are not allowed? Are they high? I agree to make the playing field as level as possible, but that is just rediculous.

    Brews, the one nice thing about slide rules is that you can actually argue that 2+2=3. I don't think I'd want to go back that far in time. From what I have been told about the old days though, it kind of looked like the old west with all the engineers' slide rules dangling off their belts.
     
  21. Aug 23, 2005 #20

    Clausius2

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    Well said! I'd do the same!.

    yeah, I was imagining that. You and your sharp riding across Manchester fields, like Clint Eastwood in the ugly, the... and the.... (don't remember).

    TA-NA-NA-NA-------NA-NA-NA (BSO Ennio Morricone :rofl: )

    I do admire some of my professors who didn't have any calculators available and employed those fatal slide rules.

    And Russ, there is a crucial difference about using Matlab and a graphic calculator. While you must switch on the PC to use Matlab (it takes time and effort), you can make an undiscriminated use of the calculator and you will be soon acostumed to use it when you will face a difficult equation instead of solving it with your hands.
     
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