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  1. There's lots of ways of getting exposure to programming while still leveraging your mechanical engineering background. One way I've found that works for me is working on mechatronic type stuff - i.e. buying a small/cheap microcontroller (arduino works great for this, but there are others such as teensy which can be coded in raw C instead of the BASIC-style arduino programming language), some sensors/motors/relays, and building something. I've built a temperature controller for a keezer this way, as well as an electronic boil kettle for brewing beer. Of course, there's no reason to keep this at the 'hobby level' as I have done. There are whole industries focused on automation. When I was working as a mechanical engineer, we would frequently contract outside companies to design 'turn key' solutions for particular manufacturing lines that we felt could be automated effectively. This company would work with us to develop a detailed spec and then they'd design, build, debug the whole thing. Perhaps pursuing a career in this type of industry would suit you better than the consulting you're doing now? I don't know that these types of job per se require a programming degree, but knowing how to program and being able to do it effectively would make you a lot more marketable. In my experience, there are plenty of mech. e's that learned a little bit of VBA or Matlab and take that rudimentary knowledge and use it to build large complex projects. While the end result works, the code base inevitably ends up bloated, slow, and impossible to maintain. Having a firm understanding of general programming practices, design patterns (what's a design pattern?) and forming good habits (comment your code!) will go a long way, trust me. But, as others have said, I don't think you're doing anything crazy. I'm posting this merely to give you an idea of your choices as well as to, hopefully, guide you in the right direction. I learned a ton about programming over the past 10 or so years (i'm almost 30 myself) mostly by just reading stuff on the internet. I've learned enough, though, that I feel comfortable marketing my programming knowledge, and use it from time to time in my job to make certain repetitive tasks less painful. Good luck!
  2. Unfortunately, I don't know of any good freely available guides as I have never had a need for one. In my first job out of college my manager tasked me with setting up a training for myself and the rest of the engineering team, so I worked with a company to do a 1-day training for all of us. It was extremely helpful. Perhaps you can find a similar class/training local to your area to attend? Of course, it will not be free, but in my opinion having GD&T knowledge is essential for anything but the most simple of engineering drawings.
  3. It looks like you could pick up all eight points in Mechanical Components: is there a reason you haven't decided to focus there for your future studying? I found that Shigley was an invaluable resource for these types of problems, especially when I was studying. While I had a passing understanding of gears etc. from college, I couldn't remember everything that I needed to know in order to answer questions in 6 minutes or less. By studying basics in Shigley (such as what an involute is - while this isn't tested directly the background knowledge helped) I felt more comfortable going into these types of questions. There's also a good chapter on Welding in Shigley that does a good job breaking down welding callouts, which I found useful in studying as well as on the test. Finally, the info in Shigley on journal bearings and bearings in general was a necessary supplement (for me) to what is found in MERM. Bottom line: without Shigley I'm not sure that I would have passed. I think spending some time learning Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing (GD&T) can help with the Basic Engineering Practice stuff, as well as spending some time doing stack-up analysis on engineering drawings. This is usually pretty fun to do, and if you can get away with doing this at work so much the better.
  4. Passed machine design! WOOHOO!!
  5. I took the MDM exam last friday. Not sure if anyone else on here took that exam, but my thoughts are that I felt pretty well prepared, though there were a few questions that caught me off guard. More specifically (while not being too specific) there were two questions on the morning exam (is the morning exam common to all mech exams?) which I felt were altogether too ambiguous. I wasn't feeling so bad about the morning exam. On the afternoon exam, though, I felt there were a number of questions (at least two) that either did not have sufficient information or where the information provided was misleading - what I mean by this is that the question seemed straightforward enough, I solved the problem and found that my solution would be off my an order of magnitude from what was presented. This means that either I solved the problem completely wrong (which is possible, but I literally solved some of these 5 times) or that something is amiss with the answers provided. Overall I would say I feel goodish about the exam, but I'm a bit concerned regarding the afternoon exam due to the number of problems I had "issues" with, only a handful of which I would attribute to my own shortcomings.
  6. I am also interested. ezzieyguywuf@gmail.com
  7. This problem essentially breaks down to a beam bending problem. The cantilever beam is 2 inches long with a force applied at 1.5'' from the supported end. The problem states that the beam must not deflect more than a given amount at the point where the force is applied. The following equation is used in the solution to calculate the deflection at the point of the application of the force: However, based on my understanding this equation should be used for the deflection at the tip of the beam. For the deflection at point x, this equation should (I believe) be used: Am I off base here or is the solution in the book incorrect? The book found the required diameter of the beam to be 0.442 inch while my solution was 0.3446 in. Since the question asked to find the smallest standard diameter, both these round up to 0.50 in so I was able to obtain the correct answer, but I would still like some validation as to whether or not my solution approach is correct.
  8. There is not a figure provided. The entire problem statement is as follows:
  9. Thank you for providing your treatise. I am still confused as to equation 54.18 in MERM though. How is this equation derived? I asked mostly because I don't like taking equations like this at face value - I'd rather understand where they come from, as in my experience this makes it easier to adjust/modify the equation if needed for particular problems.
  10. Shigley's chapter 10, on page 527, describes the fundamental frequency and weight of a spring as follows: In the MERM, in table 60.1, the same equation is given for the linear frequency of a mass-and-spring system except there is a factor of pi in the denominator of the 1/2. This equation is (I believe) used to derive formula 54.18. I can derive this same formula using the following formula for the weight W of a spring: My problem is that factor of pi that is in equation 54.18 in the MERM. I'm working on problem 58 in the 6 minute Solutions for Mechanical Systems and Materials, and their solution seems to also include the factor of pi. Does anyone know why the MERM includes this factor and Shigley does not? Shigley specifically states that this equation is for "a spring placed between two flat and parallel plates". Could this be the reason? I don't see any clarification regarding the end conditions in the MERM. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  11. Yes that helps! This is a simple statics problem it makes perfect sense now, thank you.
  12. I'm working on problem 3 in chapter 53 of the MERM companion. In the solution on page 53-5, an equation in given for "effective eccentricity". I have checked in the MERM, in Shigley, and done some googling. I can't figure out where this equation came from. It appears to be a way of determining an effective force to used for a combined axial and eccentric load on a column.
  13. Ah hah, I had not accounted for the strain in the bar due to the force of the spring - an oversight on my part. Thank you for clearing this up for me.
  14. How did you deduce that the ratio of stresses is equal to the ratio of areas? i.e. "sigma-st over sigma-c equals A-c over A-st"
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