Mechanical Engineering Question
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Posted by: Anders ģ

03/08/2006, 12:32:14

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I'm intrested in geting a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering.
I have been in contact with som online colleges but they seem intrested in my credit card number and not me.

Is there a god online college that is recognized by any future employer or are online colleges a waste of time and money?

Anders








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Re: Mechanical Engineering
Re: Mechanical Engineering -- Anders Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: swearingen ģ

03/08/2006, 13:15:19

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At this point, I would not hire an engineer of any discipline with an online degree. I'm quite sure many of my peers feel the same (a quick walk around the office helped confirm this). It's not that someone couldn't be or wouldn't become a good engineer with an online degree, but the engineering business is all about collaboration. You cannot learn to work with different types of people effectively while sitting in your back room in boxer shorts in front of a monitor.

As specialized as engineering has become today, no engineer can know it all. He/she MUST be able to work out problems with groups of engineers of different persuasions. This is a learned skill which absolutely CANNOT be taught on an LCD screen.

That said, you could work part time in an engineering office making copies and doing drawing pick-ups while doing your coursework. I still believe that it is imperative for you to interact with other engineers of all disciplines and skill levels.

My 2 cents...








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Re: Mechanical Engineering
Re: Re: Mechanical Engineering -- swearingen Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: zekeman ģ

03/10/2006, 11:21:18

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Well, if you can't get this education any other way, I see nothing wrong with pursuing it online. Despite, some hesitation of others, I, for one, would hire somebody with that kind of degree and even without a degree. I have seen nondegreed engineers perform at levels that degreed engineers have not, particularly in the areas of design, where creativity swamps out "book knowledge".
As an added piece of device, don't let anybody discourage you in any pursuit, based on their experience. Follow your instincts!







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Re: Mechanical Engineering
Re: Re: Mechanical Engineering -- zekeman Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: ChrisMEngr ģ

03/10/2006, 19:16:21

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Do what you have to do with the resources available to you. I am not sure on price but I would think that a degree online would cost less than a degree at a university.

Know that anything is possible. I worked my way through school paying tuition and housing on my own. No, you dont sleep much because you are so busy but anything is possible. I really admire the people who are married, have children, and are working part time to get through school. Some of my bosses at a engineering firm had families and were persuing PhD's and Masters living on a shoestring budget. If they can do it, anyone can.

It is my opinion but I think that where you graduate from has nothing to do with how good of an engineer you will be. I have worked with PhD's that were smart enough to pass a bunch of exams but thats all they can do. Ask them to tie their shoes or apply the book knowledge to real life and they have trouble.

Unfortunately a lot of companies look for the university that you went to or rank you by the letters behind your name. Dont let this discourage you.

If you want to be an engineer, don't let anything stop you. If you can't afford a university and need to do it online, do it online. Don't let anything stop you from your dream. It will take some hard work but will pay off in the end.








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Re: Mechanical Engineering
Re: Re: Mechanical Engineering -- ChrisMEngr Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: Anders ģ

03/23/2006, 15:08:01

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A online degree cost is about 4000$-8000$, depending on hwo is delivering.
I don't have the price of a oncampus based degree yet.

I have heard that online degrees can bee bad or ok, but never god or excellent. But as it was pointed out Phd's dosent mean that you can solve a practical problem.

I have hands on experince as a gunsmith, machinist, R&D machinist,
resarch technician and CAM programing.

At this point i feel that im ready for another challenge, i just do not know where to start yet.

Thank you for your feedback and two cents.....keep em voming as i will check back every so often.

Thanks again

Anders








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Re: Mechanical Engineering... a final word
Re: Re: Mechanical Engineering -- Anders Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: randykimball ģ
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03/24/2006, 11:43:20

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I have no problems with on-line degreed engineers or engineers that do not have a degree if they perform their function with professional quality, ethics, and talented skills. During the 40's through 60's, for example, the US Navy provided many of the top electronic engineers in the country as they left the service because of their Navy A school training. These schools were and are not allowed as credit towards a degree if attended before 1972 (as far as I know), now recent A school classes count towards credits, and should, they are among the very best shools in the world.

As for only engineering students in a class room having skills to collabrate with other engineering types. Ask your self this: How many projects and hours do students spend working on as a collabration team with other types while in school? I assure you, one year's experience under an engineering senior in the real world will exceed that by far. We must remember that there is more than one way to learn, attending a school is just a way to learn. Schooling is the quickest way to bring a group to a standard knowledge and skill base. However, experience is the better instructor, why else do we have lab classes and projects? An education is only a starting point, and it is an excellent boost with the advantage of providing set standards to assure that the engineering public has minimum tested skills. Once we settle into a groove, a new learning curve takes over, no school can provide all students all the information they need in every micro dicipline of engineering. This is where talent takes over.

It is my opinion that there are three equal factors... talent, eductation, and experience. Talent can not be taught. Experience can only be gained by doing, sharing, and watching. Those without talent are usually the ones that will argue that talent is not a factor, ... those with talent know without exception what I am talking about.

I would rather have an on-line engineer with talent than a top graduate without the ability to apply their learning to the real world. I have seen far too many of the latter.

Ok, off this soap box,

I just wanted to make the point that education is only a tool (an improtant tool), it is not a proof of ability. It is how we apply our tools with talent and experience, ... and how we continue to grasp new tools to build a winning combination.

If an on-line education is the best you can get because of job or family needs, do your best. However, please be careful not to invest in a program that will take your money and try to get you to drop out by testing too hard then keep your money, leaving you with no degree and less money. I assure you there are several on-line schools out there doing exactly this.

/←randy→/





The worst suggestion of your lifetime may be the catalyst to the grandest idea of the century, never let suggestions go unsaid nor fail to listen to them.

Modified by randykimball at Mon, Mar 27, 2006, 00:53:14


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Re: Mechanical Engineering... a final word
Re: Re: Mechanical Engineering... a final word -- randykimball Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: bentwings1 ģ

04/05/2006, 21:32:32

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I agree with randy.... I came up through the shop and off to engineering school. The hard way so to speak. Now being older than dirt and through at least half a dozen engineering companies I have to say that there are more than a few "uneducated" people that can put us engineers in our place. I would much rather work with them than some of the frat boys we get now. Some would have a hard time desigining a wine rack for all their jugs. I think we will see a lot more of the online engineering degrees in the future as traditional schools get too expensive for most of us. I think you can learn the math and sciences just as well if not better on line. You also learn the comp skills in the bargan. Socially, well there are a lot of kids doing home school that seem to be doing ok. I would miss the athletic fields myself but even those are available if you want it bad enough. There are classes for those who have a hard time public speaking, for those who need to be taught how to use a knife and fork, and for down right schmoozing. I guess it's time for me to jump off the soap box too. Do you online guys know what that is?? haha




99 Dodge CTD dually big black truck


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Re: Mechanical Engineering... a final word
Re: Re: Mechanical Engineering... a final word -- bentwings1 Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: MetalDrgn ģ

04/07/2006, 00:51:20

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I'm not trying to steal this post, but I have something to add and a few of my own questions.

What about certifications? Are high end or popular CAD program certs better to get? I havenít really looked into any of those online classes you spoke of, but Iíve been using 3d CAD programs off and on for over 4 years (3d programs for almost 8 years) to get used to them. Iíve more recently been trying (and being successful if you ask me) reverse engineering pictures or visual examinations of curvilinear designs like car/trucks/SUVs or something similar. Iím in the Air Force and I work as a maintainer on the F-22A. Does that help at all? What programs are a plus to know?

Iíve been self taught since the beginning for CAD and other 3d programs (my first one didnít even have instructions so I had to figure it out for myself! I figured out almost everything). I just do worse when I have to take a class instead of learning it myself seeing as when itís self paced you can go as slow or fast as you want. I hear PRO/E is a good one because itís really popular. Iíve used Solidworks and I really like it plus it is becoming more prevalent among CAD designers and the renderer is really nice too. Iíve tried AutoCAD and didnít really like the interface so I didnít get much experience on it. Rhino3d is another one I got quite familiar with and good at, but I didnít like the fact that you couldnít edit curves and update the design. None the less a very powerful NURBS modeler and with the addition of flamingo, it really has the top quality look for presentations to clients. CATIA is awesome, but my god there are a lot of sub elements to it. That would be the high end version of solidworks. Iíve talked to some Lockheed engineers and they say itís possible to get in an engineering field, but itís hard and you better have a pretty good profile.

Seeing how computers are getting faster and CAD programs/functions are becoming more automated, the size of an engineering team is shrinking. If you know how to script in C++ or whatever the program calls for, that would also put you ahead of the game, right?







Modified by MetalDrgn at Fri, Apr 07, 2006, 02:01:19


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Re: Mechanical Engineering... a final word
Re: Re: Mechanical Engineering... a final word -- MetalDrgn Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: randykimball ģ
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04/07/2006, 16:33:29

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In my opinion you are doing everything close to exactly right.

Being certified in a CAD program doesn't mean you can design. It means you can find your way around in the software system well, and good companies know this. I'd do some design work that relates to a real world manufacturing project.... ie.. get some free lance work.. and do it well. You do not need to make a lot of money doing it. You DO need to put it together into a portfolio. Keep records of who you did the work for. If you thought up any fresh or improved ideas and worked them into a design, be sure you can prove it and clout that in your porfolio. Get letters of recommendations from satified customers for when you leave the service. Nothing will serve you better when you seek employment as a CAD design developer!

Get some hours in materials, math, and manufacturing methods. These will help, too. There is nothing wrong with getting an engineering degree, either!!!! BUT, having the proven talent first means you will more than likely become one of the better engineers.

Be ready to sell yourself as having talent and ability to design in a good CAD system... I'm thinking Solid Works is the up and coming leader... 'coarse I've been wrong before, and this is just MY opinion.

Good companies are beginning to look for people based on performance, accomplishments, and provable portfolios. Education is important, but past performance and accomplishments are beginning to be increasingly more important. The thing that is driving it is the numerous degreed people hitting the work force that can not design squat. They can copy designs, but they can not come up with orginal design ideas. They can do all the tech figuring and math but can not solve problems which were not covered in the texts they studied and tested on. In other words they became engineers without first having the talent. So, companies are beginning to look for evidence of provable past results.

If you have a degree or are getting one. My recomemdation is to use the first job you take as a place to prove you can think out of the box and get results with designs that work, followed through to completion efficently. Then put the proof in a portofio and apply for the next position, with letters of recommendation and names to support your claims.

/←randy→/





The worst suggestion of your lifetime may be the catalyst to the grandest idea of the century, never let suggestions go unsaid nor fail to listen to them.

Modified by randykimball at Fri, Apr 07, 2006, 16:52:59


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Re: Mechanical Engineering... a final word
Re: Re: Mechanical Engineering... a final word -- randykimball Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: MetalDrgn ģ

04/07/2006, 19:05:28

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Thanks for the input. I would like to get a BS in either mechanical or aerospace engineering someday seeing how the GI bill will mostly take care of the bills.

Math, physics, chemistry, and anything mechanical have always been strong points for me so I might be able to CLEP (test to get the credits for the class) some or most of it after studying it. Any classes better to take a seat in rather than online like you were saying or are you going to get most of it from the text?

How does this look? Should I have more mechanically functional designs in my portfolio or something more like this that is just an outer shell? This is basically what I have reversed engineered from sight. No help and no tutorials on the ways to design it. Everything but the background was made by me. Interior hasnít been done because I am still tweaking the exterior plus itís getting to the point where modifications take forever to update. This was my second try at it since there was a lot of overcomplicated geometry that I found in the first one that I didnít really care to revise for times sake. I did model this after the Ford Expedition mainly because it is the first one that caught my eye in respect to design. This also was freelance in which I used no reference to dimensions, just visuals from pictures off the web and some of my own modifications. Also this pictures color was modified with photoshop as you might be able to tell.

I have to link to it. Not copyrighted.







Modified by MetalDrgn at Fri, Apr 07, 2006, 23:14:14


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Re: Mechanical Engineering... a final word
Re: Re: Mechanical Engineering... a final word -- MetalDrgn Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: randykimball ģ
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04/08/2006, 00:29:01

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It is kool. It depends on what you are after. That shows an ability to make a free lance shape. Is it made of sheet metal, urethane, or carbon fiber... or all the above? After you decide what each panel is made of what, draw the panel with sizes, tolerances, weld/fastener/stiffener ribs and tabs. Then you have an engineered porfolio additive. Real engineering would then have to work in crush panels, material specs,finish requirments, and be sure it fits over all the required internal workings. You need a personel pod that stays relativly stiff while the front and rear modules donate their stiffness to maintain survival for the humans. After a serious encounter the doors should still be able to open but not open during an accident. The fuel system should not leak nor explode, ever. It goes on and on... any or all of these would demonstrate engineering talent. Fresh ideas that are realistic and usable would count.
But work done for a real customer would count many more "points". .. document for who and get proof of completion of the project, as mentioned above.
/←randy→/




The worst suggestion of your lifetime may be the catalyst to the grandest idea of the century, never let suggestions go unsaid nor fail to listen to them.


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Re: Mechanical Engineering... a final word
Re: Re: Mechanical Engineering... a final word -- randykimball Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: MetalDrgn ģ

04/08/2006, 20:37:11

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Thanks for the tips. Seeing how it was freelance and didnít really have any intention of developing this much further than an outer shell and possibly some interior. If I do inadvertently go that route, I would start over because this is a preliminary design to the one I really wanted to do which I saw in a dream. This project was just to see how detailed in regards to reverse engineering I could get. In my opinion, I am at an acceptable level. Now I just have to start it.

If I were to continue with the project I would probably use a suite of materials instead of one or two. I would probably look into the type of frame Ford developed using a foam filled tubular design. Some body and panel strengthening with some FRP composite. I will save the stiffeners and such for other small projects where real world application might happen (probably just personal projects). Doing a full mockup of a vehicle would be pointless unless I could do some stress analyses of the body wouldnít it?








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