Hello, My Name is Taylor and I am studying to become a mechanical engineer. Mechanical engineering is an interesting field which is always changing, however, the basic fundamentals remain the same. These fundamentals focus on problem solving, and the balance between being creative and being realistic. Mechanical engineering interests me because it offers an opportunity to work on and design cars. My love of cars has been passed down to me by my dad so I am interested in one day working in a field where I impact future designs in the automotive field.
Mechanical engineers design 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. This is where safety comes into play. 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. For example…normally you think of a desk as something to hold a laptop or a book. 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.
Mechanical engineering combines my early love of legos and cars into one profession. I love to build and create something out of nothing with my hands. One day I hope to create a part that has a big impact on the auto industry. The perfect design is still out there to be created and I cant wait to push myself and strive for perfection.