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The average day of a mechanical engineer

  1. Mar 24, 2008 #1
    I'm a freshman in college and I'm just wondering what I'm getting myself into... I was hoping all you mechanical engineers can give me examples of the day to day life in the field, whatever field of ME you might be in.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 24, 2008 #2
    Other than the people here, you can also ask your professors about the type of stuff you might be doing.
  4. Mar 24, 2008 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    I'm not an ME, but I work with a number of them. They use 3-D CAD tools, 3-D printers and StereoLithographic model making machines to prototype plastic pieces that are used in our products. They work a lot with fab houses in refining designs, they work with tool makers building and tweaking first soft tools and then hard tooling for products. They tend to travel more than they like, since a lot of the tool vendors and some of our contract manufacturing are done off-shore.

    Dealing with the vendors and those issues is probably the least-fun part of their work. The 3-D CAD work and watching the amazing 3-D prototype fab machines in action is probably the most fun part of their work.
  5. Mar 26, 2008 #4
    Starting a job as an ME, I can say that you will probably spend some time learning basic dimensioning and tolerancing (which is not very well at all in college). You'll probably start with a solid model in some CAD software, make a drawing (Which is very easy nowadays), and dimension it. Your manager or supervisor will look it over, mark it up with a red pen, and you'll go over it again, correcting your mistakes. Eventually (this will happen quicker if your company actually manufactures it's own parts) you'll get the hang of it and your drawings will just be looked over by someone else. That, and you can get other new guys to do your drawings for you.

    After that, you'll probably be fed some really simple parts to design. It probably won't take a whole lot of calculus, and you'll be relying on things like the machinists handbook and other standards (depending on your industry, some aerospace companies simply don't have standards to follow other than the companies, and those can change), but you will crunch the numbers and make the drawings.

    You'll eventually take on bigger projects, teach some new guys the ropes, and begin to branch out even more.

    If you don't find yourself making drawings and feeling satisfaction when you can see with your own eyes a piece that at one time only existed on paper and in your mind, I'd question my desire to become a mechanical engineer.

    Now, I'm sure other ME's had a different experience, but I can't really comment on that.
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