# What to get an engineer for his birthday tomorrow?

1. Nov 4, 2006

### Loren Booda

My girlfriend's engineer cousin has his birthday tomorrow, her mother on the 13th, and her sister-in-law shortly thereafter. Do you have any suggestions for gifts in the $20-$40 range?

2. Nov 4, 2006

### Danger

Hmmm... lessee now...
A good porn video for the cousin, since engineers don't have girlfriends...:uhh:

3. Nov 4, 2006

### wolram

A set of whitworth spanners, a 1 to 2 inch mic (digital), a bead blaster, a second hand lathe, a milling machine, a parts washer, cad cam software.
a second hand garage, beer, a book of engineering tables, beer, a slim line
whitworth socket set 3/8 drive, beer, no socks, or mayhaps a nice dinner out.

4. Nov 4, 2006

### BobG

A slide rule.

Of course, that's going to take some perusing of thrift stores and antique stores. A Post 1460 is a good general purpose slide rule that runs around $20-$50 on Ebay. At the upper end, it had better be in good condition with the leather case included. They're so common you can always find a reasonable price if you're willing to wait.

Of course, you could always go up to the $150 to$275 range and get one of the special purpose Electrical Engineering or Chemical Engineering slide rules.

Last edited: Nov 4, 2006
5. Nov 4, 2006

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Hee...I knew Bob would recommend a slide rule. Though, that is a nifty gift for an engineer. Any gadget...engineers love gadgets...if it's shiny, beeps, has lots of buttons or knobs, and has absolutely no useful function whatsoever, it will keep them entertained for hours on end.

*ducks and runs from the engineers*

6. Nov 4, 2006

### z-component

The Sharper Image is good for gadgety things.

7. Nov 4, 2006

### wolram

I will have you know that my right angled obstruction ratchet ring spanner with 12 inch extension is invaluable, but knobs and buttons will keep most engineers happy for a while.

8. Nov 4, 2006

9. Nov 4, 2006

### wolram

Is this guy a down and dirty muck under the finger nails engineer, or a paper engineer? if he is a guy that likes to rebuild engines, do not buy him a gadget, it will end up with all the rest in a forgotten draw, may be you should think more on a non work related gift.

10. Nov 4, 2006

### z-component

Try Brookstone as well.

11. Nov 4, 2006

### Loren Booda

What books would you recommend?

12. Nov 4, 2006

### brewnog

A Leatherman?

As for books, I'd highly recommend "Flying Buttresses, Entropy and O-Rings", by James L. Adams, on Harvard Press.

13. Nov 4, 2006

### Volumunox

www.Thinkgeek.com

actually they have some pretty neat things. :D

14. Nov 4, 2006

### BobG

Hey! I'll have you know I can transform three dimensional Cartesian coordinates to spherical ADBARV coordinates on a slide rule, both for position and velocity, a lot faster than anyone I know can do it on a calculator. How could anyone consider that as "absolutely no useful function whatsoever".

15. Nov 4, 2006

### rhuthwaite

Umm why do you need to get an engineer something to do with his work for his birthday? I am sure his life doesn't evolve just around engineering and he has other interests. Why don't you ask peopl that know him for ideas?

16. Nov 4, 2006

How about a nice Birthday Card...

17. Nov 4, 2006

### Loren Booda

We ended up getting him two books about castles in Britain, where he had just vacationed. Holy crenelation, Alfred!

18. Nov 4, 2006

### turbo

If you felt compelled to get him a present but waited until D-day to think about giving him a present, perhaps you should have tried to get him relatives who give a damn. Just a suggestion.

How about giving him some of your time, and a nice experience (maybe an appetizer and a drink or two at a nice place) or at least SOMETHING to show that you care?

Last edited: Nov 4, 2006
19. Nov 4, 2006

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Sorry, I didn't actually even mean it that way. The bit about useless gadgets was a separate thought from slide rules, I just didn't put in a sufficiently large space between those thoughts to indicate they were separate.

20. Nov 4, 2006

### Cyrus

Micrometer, Chalk, and an Axe. Trust me, he'll get it.