Hello, my name is Taylor Hall and I am an aspiring mechanical engineer. Ever since I was little I have had an interest in building and design. My favorite hobbies were playing with Legos and drawing my favorite cars. My drawings tended to take a creative turn because I enjoyed making changes and improvements to the appearance of the car to fit my tastes. When it came time to choose a major for college I felt that mechanical engineering suited my interests perfectly.
Designing cars is only part of what mechanical engineers do. Mechanical engineers design all sorts of products such as shopping carts and light switches. Pretty much any household object, no matter how simple it seems was designed with many hours of hard work and thought by a mechanical engineer. A big challenge that a mechanical engineer faces while designing a new product is making a product that appeals to its customers while at the same time being functional, affordable, and safe. The goal is to have a product that performs a function at the most cost effective price. For some products this may mean selling millions of the product at a very small price, or selling less of the item for a very high price. No matter what the price your item is sold for it is beneficial for your company to spend the least amount on materials in order to achieve the biggest profit. This is where as an engineer you must be familiar with all different types of materials. For instance, which metal is cheaper, steel or aluminum? Or, which is stronger? Sometimes the cheapest option is not the best option.
Cheap products may save the consumer money but they may also leave the user susceptible to risk. Engineers must make sure that their product is fool proof. This is why reading an instruction manual can be like reading a small print novel. All the potential risks and hazards of a product must be written out so that the engineer and the manufacturing company are not liable for any injuries related to misuse of the product. When designing the product engineers must take into consideration all the possible situations that could cause a product to fail and prepare for them. Normally you think of a desk as something to hold a laptop or a book, but what if there is a light above this desk that happens to go out and standing on the desk is the easiest most convenient way to change the bulb? An engineer must plan for this potential extra weight and make a desk capable of supporting this weight. So maybe it is better to go with the slightly more expensive metal that is stronger, rather than worry about getting sued for product liability when injuries occur.
A mechanical engineers job is to design objects that make life easier for consumers or at the least provide a product that is appealing and worth purchasing. A mechanical engineers job is not easy since designing the perfect product is impossible. All materials have tradeoffs. For instance, all electric wire that you will find in your house is made of copper. Aluminum conducts electricity better than copper and is less expensive but copper is used instead. This is because over time it was found that aluminum wires start fires. Therefore it is a safety risk to use the cheaper material.
The job of a mechanical engineer is intriguing to me because it requires a combination of artistry and hands on experimentation. I am excited to take the knowledge of the technical aspects of a design and combine it with my artistic touch and see what I can create. I am looking forward to my future in the field of mechanical engineering.