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How should I start?

  1. Mar 16, 2015 #1
    I was recently discharged from the navy. Between the state of florida paying for my school and the military paying for my school; I have almost 8 years of school free.

    Machenical Engineers are harbingers of change and progression. My dream is to create something world changing.

    My only problem is that I can't start school until the next semester. I hate stagnation.

    What should I do in the meantime? I originally joined this thread to find someone near me that I can learn from, but there's no way to tell how successful that will be.

    What should I do to improve my self while I wait?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2015 #2
    Self study, travel or start a project?
  4. Mar 16, 2015 #3
    What's the processes behind starting a project.

    I have few projects I want to start but I have no knowledge on how to go about it.

    How do I go about making prototypes?
  5. Mar 16, 2015 #4


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    Welcome to the PF.

    Maybe look into 3-D printers and the whole "Maker" movement. There are tons of fun projects involving mechanical stuff that you can start with. :smile:
  6. Mar 16, 2015 #5


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    Staff: Mentor

    You say to yourself "I will try to build a super duper can opener".
  7. Mar 17, 2015 #6


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  8. Mar 17, 2015 #7


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    Not a mechanical engineer but my two cents is that you should start small, make something useful for the home perhaps. I may be wrong but I get the impression you have some big ideas, that really wouldn't be the place to start. That's something you should only start once you have had a lot of training, otherwise you're just doomed to failure.
  9. Mar 18, 2015 #8
    I ain't studying ME, but have a few friends at campus who do. I asked them: "Imagine I was for instance at high school and asked you for advice on what to study to improve myself if I wanted to enter ME?"

    The told me: Make sure you learn very well the material from General Physics I and General Physics II. It will come very handy, specially General Physics I. Also, on your free time you should give a shot to Graphics For Engineers, but at the computer, with software. You know, 3D modeling.

    Since you have free time I think you should give a shot (self-study) to General Physics I and then (or at the same time) Statics and Dynamics. Statics and Dynamics problems are very similar to those of General Physics I. Also use one of those 3D modeling CAD programs to experiment yourself. With the Statics and Dynamics book problems you can also get your mind wet on 3D drawings as you will be seeing a lot of problems with 3D models. Just looking at them since there is really no academic detail on the subject of Graphics from those drawings.

    I would also suggest, if you have a General Chemistry book and want to give it a shot, to learn well the concepts that are lightly explained about temperature in chemistry. It will come in handy for Thermodynamics for Engineers.

    Finally, but not least, you can also give a shot to Material Science for Engineers. Learn the basics of crystaline structures.

    You can give a shot to all of those at the same time (as if you were already taking classes at campus) or take it slowly. For 3D Modeling I have seen many student at campus using Siemens NX. You can experiment with it.

    Unfortunately I'm very far away from you so I cannot help much, but I will give you the name of a few books I have used at uni for if you want to check:

    1. General Physics (I & II) - Physics for Scientists and Engineers. Douglas C. Giancoli
      • This book is very good. I like it. We used the 4th edition. It is used at many universities and the part of General Physics I is until Chapter 19 (from this edition). At Chapter 20 it starts with the second part (from this edition).
    2. Statics and Dynamics - Engineering Mechanics: Statics and Dynamics. R.C. Hibbeller
      • We used the 13th edition, but you can use whatever. I cannot tell how good is this book because this course was very easy for me since I'm not studying ME and my curriculum gives me a course which is very basic. I took it as a General Engineering course and not detailed as those at ME or Civil Engineering. Meaning I did not spent much time on the book. As I said the problems here are very similar to those of General Physics.
    3. Material Science and Engineering - Materials Science and Engineering An Introduction. William D. Callister.
      • We used the 7th edition. Although I saw that the 8th edition had a little bit of a better structure. Anyway, I took this course also as a General Engineering so it was very basic, but you may want to take a closer look at the chapters: Mechanical Properties of Metals and Dislocations and Strengthening Mechanisms.

    Well, hope you can gather something from here and have fun on your free time.

    -motor mouth Psinter
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