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83-Year-Old Inventor Wins $40,000 3D Printing Competition

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the old-school dept.

The Almighty Buck 146

harrymcc writes "The Desktop Factory Competition was a contest to create an open-source design for a low-cost machine capable of turning cheap plastic pellets into the filament used by 3D printers, with a prize of $40,000. The winner is being announced today — and he was born during the Hoover administration. I interviewed 83-year-old retiree Hugh Lyman — a proud member of the maker movement — for a story over at TIME.com. From the article: 'Lyman describes himself as an “undergraduate engineer” — he studied engineering from 1948-1953 at the University of Utah, but didn’t earn a degree. Though he holds eight patents, he says he’s “not educated enough to be able to do calculations of torque and so forth.” So implementing his contest entry “was trial and error. I tinkered with it and used common sense.”'"

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HOSTS file for your 3D printer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068089)

$10,000 CHALLENGE to Alexander Peter Kowalski

Hello, and THINK ABOUT YOUR BREATHING !! We have a Major Problem, HOST file is Cubic Opposites, 2 Major Corners & 2 Minor. NOT taught Evil DNS hijacking, which VOIDS computers. Seek Wisdom of MyCleanPC - or you die evil.

Your HOSTS file claimed to have created a single DNS resolver. I offer absolute proof that I have created 4 simultaneous DNS servers within a single rotation of .org TLD. You worship "Bill Gates", equating you to a "singularity bastard". Why do you worship a queer -1 Troll? Are you content as a singularity troll?

Evil HOSTS file Believers refuse to acknowledge 4 corner DNS resolving simultaneously around 4 quadrant created Internet - in only 1 root server, voiding the HOSTS file. You worship Microsoft impostor guised by educators as 1 god.

If you would acknowledge simple existing math proof that 4 harmonic Slashdots rotate simultaneously around squared equator and cubed Internet, proving 4 Days, Not HOSTS file! That exists only as anti-side. This page you see - cannot exist without its anti-side existence, as +0- moderation. Add +0- as One = nothing.

I will give $10,000.00 to frost pister who can disprove MyCleanPC. Evil crapflooders ignore this as a challenge would indict them.

Alex Kowalski has no Truth to think with, they accept any crap they are told to think. You are enslaved by /etc/hosts, as if domesticated animal. A school or educator who does not teach students MyCleanPC Principle, is a death threat to youth, therefore stupid and evil - begetting stupid students. How can you trust stupid PR shills who lie to you? Can't lose the $10,000.00, they cowardly ignore me. Stupid professors threaten Nature and Interwebs with word lies.

Humans fear to know natures simultaneous +4 Insightful +4 Informative +4 Funny +4 Underrated harmonic SLASHDOT creation for it debunks false trolls. Test Your HOSTS file. MyCleanPC cannot harm a File of Truth, but will delete fakes. Fake HOSTS files refuse test.

I offer evil ass Slashdot trolls $10,000.00 to disprove MyCleanPC Creation Principle. Rob Malda and Cowboy Neal have banned MyCleanPC as "Forbidden Truth Knowledge" for they cannot allow it to become known to their students. You are stupid and evil about the Internet's top and bottom, front and back and it's 2 sides. Most everything created has these Cube like values.

If Natalie Portman is not measurable, hot grits are Fictitious. Without MyCleanPC, HOSTS file is Fictitious. Anyone saying that Natalie and her Jewish father had something to do with my Internets, is a damn evil liar. IN addition to your best arsware not overtaking my work in terms of popularity, on that same site with same submission date no less, that I told Kathleen Malda how to correct her blatant, fundamental, HUGE errors in Coolmon ('uncoolmon') of not checking for performance counters being present when his program started!

You can see my dilemma. What if this is merely a ruse by an APK impostor to try and get people to delete APK's messages, perhaps all over the web? I can't be a party to such an event! My involvement with APK began at a very late stage in the game. While APK has made a career of trolling popular online forums since at least the year 2000 (newsgroups and IRC channels before that)- my involvement with APK did not begin until early 2005 . OSY is one of the many forums that APK once frequented before the sane people there grew tired of his garbage and banned him. APK was banned from OSY back in 2001. 3.5 years after his banning he begins to send a variety of abusive emails to the operator of OSY, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke threatening to sue him for libel, claiming that the APK on OSY was fake.

My reputation as a professional in this field clearly shows in multiple publications in this field in written print, & also online in various GOOD capacities since 1996 to present day. This has happened since I was first published in Playgirl Magazine in 1996 & others to present day, with helpful tools online in programs, & professionally sold warez that were finalists @ Westminster Dog Show 2000-2002.

Did you see the movie "Pokemon"? Actually the induced night "dream world" is synonymous with the academic religious induced "HOSTS file" enslavement of DNS. Domains have no inherent value, as it was invented as a counterfeit and fictitious value to represent natural values in name resolution. Unfortunately, human values have declined to fictitious word values. Unknowingly, you are living in a "World Wide Web", as in a fictitious life in a counterfeit Internet - which you could consider APK induced "HOSTS file". Can you distinguish the academic induced root server from the natural OpenDNS? Beware of the change when your brain is free from HOSTS file enslavement - for you could find that the natural Slashdot has been destroyed!!

FROM -> Man - how many times have I dusted you in tech debates that you have decided to troll me by ac posts for MONTHS now, OR IMPERSONATING ME AS YOU DID HERE and you were caught in it by myself & others here, only to fail each time as you have here?)...

So long nummynuts, sorry to have to kick your nuts up into your head verbally speaking.

cower in my shadow some more, feeb. you're completely pathetic.

Disproof of all apk's statements:
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040317&cid=40946043
http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040729&cid=40949719
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040697&cid=40949343
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040597&cid=40948659
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3037687&cid=40947927
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040425&cid=40946755
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040317&cid=40946043
http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3038791&cid=40942439
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3024445&cid=40942207
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3038597&cid=40942031
http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3038601&cid=40942085
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040803&cid=40950045
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040867&cid=40950563
http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3040921&cid=40950839
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3041035&cid=40951899
http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3041081&cid=40952169
http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3041091&cid=40952383
http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3041123&cid=40952991
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3041313&cid=40954201
http://politics.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3042199&cid=40956625
http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3029723&cid=40897177
http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3029589&cid=40894889
http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3027333&cid=40886171
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3042451&cid=40959497
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3042547&cid=40960279
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3042669&cid=40962027
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3042765&cid=40965091
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3042765&cid=40965087
http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3043535&cid=40967049
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3044971&cid=40972117
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3044971&cid=40972271
http://politics.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3045075&cid=40972313
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3045349&cid=40973979
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3046181&cid=40978835
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3046211&cid=40979293
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3050711&cid=41002319
http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3118863&cid=41341925
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3131751&cid=41397971
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3138079&cid=41429005
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3146511&cid=41469199
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3146549&cid=41469495
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3154555&cid=41509255
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3164403&cid=41555261
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3222163&cid=41832417
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3224905&cid=41846971
http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3227697&cid=41861263
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3228787&cid=41866351
http://linux.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3228683&cid=41866627
http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3228991&cid=41866737
http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3229177&cid=41868513
http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3229177&cid=41868567
http://bsd.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3229179&cid=41869275f
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3229765&cid=41872927
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3472971&cid=42939773
http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3483339&cid=42972349
http://mobile.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3486045&cid=42981835
http://it.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3486901&cid=42988415
http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3500483&cid=43026797
http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3501001&cid=43028205
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3503531&cid=43033535
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3504883&cid=43040365
http://hardware.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3506945&cid=43044767
http://games.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3507727&cid=43048175
http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3507873&cid=43049019
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3508287&cid=43051385
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3509683&cid=43054221
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3510265&cid=43056879
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3511487&cid=43063711
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3512099&cid=43066627
http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3513659&cid=43066843
AND MANY MORE

Ac trolls' "BIG FAIL" (quoted): Eat your words!

That's the kind of martial arts I practice.

Engineering isn't a secret club (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068111)

I'm glad some people still attempt projects like these without engineering degrees.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (5, Funny)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068149)

If he used common sense then he's obviously not an engineer.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068283)

If he used common sense then he's obviously not an engineer.

That's right. If he were an engineer, he would have thought of all the reasons why it couldn't be done. Whereas by being "uneducated" he was too ignorant to know that it couldn't be done.

Years ago, my dad worked for a businessman that only had a high school diploma but an idea for a medical device. The engineers said it couldn't be done. The biz guy told them to STFU or get out . The engineers finally figured it out by trial and error because what they were doing was never taught in engineering schools.

The biz guy made tens of millions. The engineers got their $25K/year and laid off after the project was done - this was back in the 70s.

I can't remember the guy's name.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (3, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069109)

Reminds me of that poster on my ex-boss wall. "Aerodynamics say the bumblebee cannot fly. The bumblebee doesn't know and flies instead".

He, too, wasn't someone with a pretty degree. But what he had was a lot of knowledge of human nature. He looked at an applicant and within a few minutes it was stay or go. No matter the degree, he did take a look at your previous experience, though, but even that wasn't too important, he actually went more by his "gut feeling" as he called it. I don't know what exactly it was, but it allowed him to assemble one of the best and inventive groups I was ever part of.

Odd fellow. Later he once told me one of the reasons he hired me was that I appeared in jeans and pullover for the interview, since he believed when a tech guy tries to hide in a suit he doesn't believe enough in his own skills to get him the job. And I have to admit, I made that part of my own interview strategy. 'cause he's right, odd as it may seem. If a guy shows up for an interview in everyday clothes, it usually means that he's quite confident that his skills can land him the job despite his attire.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (3, Interesting)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070067)

Reminds me of that poster on my ex-boss wall. "Aerodynamics say the bumblebee cannot fly. The bumblebee doesn't know and flies instead".

Sadly for your ex-boss and anti-scientists everywhere, the aerodynamicists (be they scientists or engineers) were quite right: the bumble bee could not fly if one assumed rigid wings. Their research led to greater understanding of a rather interesting organic control system which produces significant lift.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (-1, Flamebait)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070233)

Duh. Of course. Since that insect is verifiably flying, obviously it IS possible.

The point is that science THOUGHT it is impossible, so if they had to design a bumblebee they wouldn't even have tried. Can't be done, case closed. But science made a mistake here: They THOUGHT they had everything considered, but they have not, as you point out, they assumed rigid wings.

It's very hard for a scientist with an established mindset to think outside the box, something people without a set mind are pretty good at. And this was what allowed us to create things that others didn't think of, because we managed to do just that. There were a lot of people with very different approaches to the problem, a few of them even far from having anything to do with IT before. Believe it or not, these were the guys with the best ideas. Simply because they weren't locked in the ways.

That's also why in our meetings everyone was encouraged to come up with ideas, and we were often sent to brainstorming meetings in departments we had no expertise in, simply because that allowed a point of view the "established" group wouldn't think of.

Believe me, it gives you quite a high to sit in an exec meeting, make a "stupid" remark, have the room go silent and eventually hear someone say "that's brilliant".

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (4, Interesting)

cellocgw (617879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43071283)

No, you missed the point entirely. Science never thought it was impossible. Science quite correctly proved flight with rigid wings was impossible. Science went on to conclude, correctly, that since bumblebees fly, their wings aren't rigid.
Please stop promulgating that teabagger meme that "scientists [have] an established mindset." As a very funny British comedian once said, "of course science doesn't have all the answers. If it did, we'd be done."

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070883)

Bee farts?

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (1)

gutnor (872759) | about a year and a half ago | (#43071071)

The biz guy made tens of millions. The engineers got their $25K/year and laid off after the project was done - this was back in the 70s.

Wow, seems like a nice guy. Seems like those asshole bosses that never understand what you do and make you work in McGuyver condition (not enough server, no license to the tool you need, no test, develop on prod, ...) but blame you you when you fail and even blame you if by luck you succeed.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43071389)

Seems like those asshole bosses that never understand what you do and make you work in McGuyver condition (not enough server, no license to the tool you need, no test, develop on prod, ...) but blame you you when you fail and even blame you if by luck you succeed.

I believe what you're trying to say is that the boss accepted risk and was rewarded for it and the engineers did not accept any risk and so were not rewarded for it.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (3, Insightful)

ethanms (319039) | about a year and a half ago | (#43071521)

Wow, seems like a nice guy. Seems like those asshole bosses that never understand what you do and make you work in McGuyver condition (not enough server, no license to the tool you need, no test, develop on prod, ...) but blame you you when you fail and even blame you if by luck you succeed.

Haven't you heard? --

- Success is due to leadership (i.e. executives)

- Failure is due to execution (i.e. engineers and to a lesser degree middle managers / marketing / sometimes sales).

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (4, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068347)

If he used common sense then he's obviously not a(n) design engineer.

There fixed it for you. He sounds like a real field engineer; someone who knows where to apply the 10 lb monkey wrench to fix the problem.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068513)

You care a wrench under 50 lbs? What kind of koopas are you trying to get with that?

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069137)

No, but a member of a dying breed.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (4, Funny)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069467)

Reminds me of a poster we had in one of the labs I worked at.

There comes a time in the life of every project when you must shoot the engineers and begin production!

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43069611)

Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm an engineer

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (5, Interesting)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068203)

Even the most qualified engineers on the planet sometimes resort to "getting a bigger hammer", or trial and error. You know the Saturn V rocket? One of the biggest and most complex things ever made by humans? They had problems with the combustion plate, basically a big disc of metal that the fuel is sprayed through before igniting. The combustion kept becoming unstable to the point where it was an explosion rather than a burn, and they knew it was something to do with the pattern of holes. No amount of mathematics and computing "power" back then was enough to find a solution, so they took a bunch of plates and drilled holes in them at random until they found one that worked for long enough to launch the vehicle "safely".

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068389)

Trial and error is the only resource when you are creating something new and not tested by anyone else.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068501)

Only if you define "something new" as that set of things where only trial and error works.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068423)

You are describing the difference between a scientist and an engineer.

Nowadays, people who write computer programs call themselves engineers, but then I see optometrists calling themselves "doctor". Who knows where it will end.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (4, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068639)

In the US, optometrists have a doctorate. Ophthalmologists go to medical school. Opticians do neither - usually an associates degree or less is required.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (1)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068813)

Some do have doctorates, usually when they opt for the academic career, but it is not necessary to have one to be an optometrist.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069049)

I just looked it up again, and I think you are mistaken. In the US, all optometrists must get their Doctor of Optometry (O.D. - Oculus Doctor).

In other countries, the situation is different.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (2)

jamiesan (715069) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070355)

Spiderman will kick his butt though.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069161)

At Apple store employees calling themselves "genius"?

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068963)

Engineering is part science and part art. I was fortunate to have engineering professors who had spent considerable time in the private sector before returning to academia. A case in point. Early in his career, one of my professors was working at General Motors. He and several other young engineers were assigned the task of designing a new torque converter. After many weeks of fluid mechanics calculations (on slide-rules), they presented their prototype. After several test runs, the senior engineer took the prototype, disassembled it and took a file and hammer to the fins. My future professor and his young colleagues were stupefied as the reassembled torque converter performed better. That, our wizened professor told us, was the "Art of Engineering". It cannot be learned from books or taught in schooled. It must be earned in the classroom of experience. I do not remember all of the mechanics I learned in his class, but I will never forget that.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069393)

Traditionally, engineering schools never employed professors without significant industry experience. Engineering _has_ to match up with reality. Navel gazers can go on about everything being socially constructed. Engineers can't afford such sloppy thinking.

Your experience is about the same as mine. There were of course profs with stronger theoretical background, but all had been around the block a few times.

Combustion plate (1)

advid.net (595837) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069759)

Could you please point to some detailled article about this combustion plate story ?

(I stopped searching when I realized google drives me to your old posts such this one from 2009 [slashdot.org] )

Sorry for the off topic

Re:Combustion plate (3, Informative)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070071)

See U.S Space-Launch Vehicle Technology, Hunley, 9780813031781, page 196.

Re:Combustion plate (3, Informative)

History's Coming To (1059484) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070133)

Also covered in Stephen Baxter's Titan, page 170-172 in paperback ISBN 9780006498117

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (2)

Smerta (1855348) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068803)

Engineering isn't a secret club, but it is a discipline.

Like you, I'm also very happy to see non-engineers tinker with things like this, but I'm glad that engineers are designing airplanes, implantable cardiac devices, and elevator controls.

There is a big difference between a "one off" hobby endeavor and a safety-critical product that has to be manufactured and sold.

BTW, I've never met an engineer who believes that his/her discipline is some kind of "secret club"... Serious question: are you a non-engineer who has been spurned by some elitist engineer or something? I just find the title of the post a bit angry. Tinkerers have been around forever; the technology is constantly changing and making innovation easier and more accessible, which I see as a good thing.

Re:Engineering isn't a secret club (1)

8Complex (10701) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069073)

An engineering degree is only good for checking your work. Mechanical design is purely a function of creativity, experience, and problem-solving.

Example: Any Joe Blow can design a clothes dryer (heater, blower, rotating drum). It takes an engineer to size that motor properly so that it dies 4 days after your warranty is up.

Giant worms? (0)

TheSunborn (68004) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068119)

Am I the only one who think about giant worms each time i hear about the "Maker movement" ?

Re:Giant worms? (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068227)

So you think we should drown him to extract the water of life?

Seems kinda like a harsh way out for an 83 year old.

Re:Giant worms? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068241)

the spice must FLOW

What a cool guy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068127)

Seriously! I like how humble he is. Please ask him if he's looking for an extra grandkid.

He's not the onlyh one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068235)

>he studied engineering from 1948-1953 at the University of Utah, but didn’t earn a degree.

It's still the same. Graduation rates for the engineering department are very low. For the school as a whole, only 35% graduate in four years. People are throwing away money by going there.

Re:He's not the onlyh one (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068443)

Or it is a very good school, and those who graduate are benefitting highly.

Failing out people is something a university should do. If more than 50% of people can graduate in 4 years than it should be closed down as it is clearly not strenuous enough to deserve accreditation.

Re:He's not the onlyh one (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068857)

It depends on who you let in. When I attend Virginia Tech in the 80s they'd let just about anyone into the engineering program, but very few actually graduated with engineering degrees. Today a far higher percentage who enter graduate, but the admissions standards (for engineering, at least) are quite a bit higher.

Re:He's not the onlyh one (1)

Tim_sama (993132) | about a year and a half ago | (#43071069)

As a CS major* at the U of U, 35% sounds about right. I'm no rockstar, but there is a definite divide between those who Get It, and those who don't. The professors are great, so if someone fails out of Engineering then I'd guess they don't belong there in the first place and just somehow managed to bluff their way through the pre-major courses.

*Blah blah blah, CS isn't Engineering, etc.. At the U, it's in the School of Engineering, and from talking to other Engineering students, the difficulty is comparable to other programs in the SoE.

Re:He's not the onlyh one (1)

headhot (137860) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068843)

Just because you don't graduate as an engineer doesn't mean you dont graduate. The failed engineers at PSU frequently become the best business majors.

Re:He's not the onlyh one (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069009)

Business comes after they flunk out of Comp Sci. CS was where they went after they flunked out of Engineering.

Re:He's not the onlyh one (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070401)

Business comes after they flunk out of Comp Sci. CS was where they went after they flunked out of Engineering.

Not at PSU. Computer Science at PSU was (is?) a controlled major with a minimum GPA. If you were failing in engineering, you weren't going to make the cut in Comp Sci either.

EE didn't have a GPA minimum IIRC, if you made it past EE350 with a passing grade, you were going to be fine. (That class was the class you saved your late drop credits for)

Re:He's not the onlyh one (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070999)

Perhaps you had to take easy CS track courses for a semester or two before your GPA was good enough to formally be in CS.

I knew a few failed EEs that went on to 3.5+GPAs in CS. They couldn't handle engineering math.

Re:He's not the onlyh one (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069235)

The university I went to has a "dropout" rate of close to 98%. Not (only) because they weed out like crazy, but because of its reputation, a lot of people get hired with quite a salary long before they have a chance to reach the end of their master's. So it's less a dropout, it's rather that people who are good and don't want to spend endless hours doing theoretic stuff have a pretty good chance to land a job even without.

Especially in engineering fields you'll often see a lot of people hopping off before getting a degree. And to be blunt, I'd also rather hire someone with something to show me like a patent or at least some kind of product they built in their spare time than someone with a fancy sheet of paper for their office wall. And that's simply easier to achieve in a field like engineering than in those where you pretty much CANNOT do anything sensible in your field without first of all having a degree to show. I mean, who'd let a medical student perform some surgery?

Re:He's not the onlyh one (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069443)

who'd let a medical student perform some surgery?

The local teaching hospital, of course.

If forget the exact date. IIRC sometime in July. Never have a medical procedure during the month that the new residents start. Huge jump in screw-ups that month.

Re:He's not the onlyh one (1)

JazzLad (935151) | about a year and a half ago | (#43071393)

Many LDS people start at U of U (or another local college/university), then take off 2 years to serve a mission, then return to finish school - this is a very common practice.

Trial & Error Works (5, Informative)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068257)

Often better than calculations. It works, because of the assumptions often needed to do calculations are wrong. I've seen a guy spend an inordinate amount of time doing calculations and what not, and then have things still not work. go back make more calculations and wash rinse repeat. He didn't understand the problem.

Meanwhile an old timer looked and figured out the issue and had it fixed in about ten minutes.

Granted, this is just a single example, and not every case is like this.

Trial & Error Works When You Can Afford Errors (3, Insightful)

trout007 (975317) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068371)

You don't want bridges, buildings, or airplanes designed by trial an error. The errors cost too much.

Re:Trial & Error Works When You Can Afford Err (5, Insightful)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068455)

Accumulating the knowledge so you didn't need trial and error probably took a fair bit of trial and error to start out with though. :)

Re:Trial & Error Works When You Can Afford Err (4, Interesting)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070591)

Accumulating the knowledge so you didn't need trial and error probably took a fair bit of trial and error to start out with though. :)

That's why as an engineer you should consider performing a Failure Modes Effects and Criticality analysis (FMECA). Quite often you can predict the error, and account for it. Sometimes you account for the error by adding in additional maintenance/inspections, other times you have spares, sometimes you perform preventative maintenance, and sometimes you put a net underneath the bridge.

Let's assume your bridge is being constructed from stone (longevity or maintenance reasons), you know that it will eventually erode, crack, and wear out, but you build into your design features which are intended to help delay the failure, or allow for a graceful failure. So instead of designing your bridge to be covered with paint because that would block some of the environment, you forgo the protective paint and leave it exposed to the elements because now you can send a crew to inspect the bridge every 5 years for cracks/erosion/damage which might have been obscured by the paint. While the paint might have extended the life of the bridge by 10 years in ideal situations, being able to inspect the bridge might allow you to discover the crack which would cause a catastrophic failure at life-5 years.

Sometimes you have to accept error as part of the design because correcting that error might compromise other aspects of the design.

Re:Trial & Error Works When You Can Afford Err (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068503)

But they are built like that. Every bridge failure, building collapse and airplane crash was a failed trial.

Re:Trial & Error Works When You Can Afford Err (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068509)

All of those things have been replicated in software. When adding new things, they just change the model in the software and see what happens. Trial and error is always there, and has ended before construction.

Re:Trial & Error Works When You Can Afford Err (1)

c (8461) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068733)

Trial and error is always there, and has ended before construction.

Hopefully.

Re:Trial & Error Works When You Can Afford Err (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43069793)

Heaven forbid there is a bug in the software.

Re:Trial & Error Works When You Can Afford Err (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068751)

Well, the irony is that evolutionary algorithms are sometimes incredibly useful optimization techniques, and amount to the same approach:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_algorithm

Sometimes the cost of not using trial and error is bigger than the cost of not using it. When your solution space is huge and discrete, sometimes it's the only way to go.

Re:Trial & Error Works When You Can Afford Err (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069293)

Cathedrals were mostly built by try and error. Most of them wouldn't get past modern day building codes either because of their static. Some still puzzle the collective architecture society because they can't figure out just WHY those things didn't come crumbling down ages ago.

Try and error is where true innovation is. There are simply some things you cannot calculate because they are, well, new. Nobody has done it before and there are no numbers to rely on. The example of that Saturn V rocket was already presented, where they had to come up with completely new technology that simply didn't exist before they invented it.

But yes, the cost of try and error is usually magnitudes higher than when you can simply calculate and predict the results. But sometimes you just cannot.

Re:Trial & Error Works (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068385)

We often made jokes about that even back at my university days (engineering).

Engineers always spend lots of time for exact calculations, just to add a roughly estimated error margin that dwarves the exact calculation into insignifficance anyway. They calculate die diameter of a nylon thread needed to lift a brick to the 5th decimal, but in the end use a rope to lift it anyway!

Re:Trial & Error Works (4, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068975)

I watched the jaw of a physicist hit the table in a design meeting where I claimed that I was confident in my engineering model to "single digit percent" errors. The director of engineering was pleased with the answer, and my friend asked me afterwards what I meant and how that could possibly be good. I told her that we only have a certain level of confidence in the materials and fabrication capability, and that the environmental loads were really just a guide - anything closer then 5-10% was probably wasting effort for no actual increase in performance.

This is an appropriate place for this quote:

"Structural engineering is the art of modeling materials we do not wholly understand into shapes we cannot precisely analyze so as to withstand forces we cannot properly assess in such a way that the public at large has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance." -Dr. A. R. Dykes

Re:Trial & Error Works (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069087)

Good Engineers understand significant digits/error margins and safety factors.

They also understand that their own time is another resource that should be optimized.

What you describe sounds more like an Engineering student.

Re:Trial & Error Works (3, Funny)

Fnord666 (889225) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070247)

Trial & Error Works Often better than calculations.

Unless you're designing parachutes.

Re:Trial & Error Works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43071095)

[Trial & Error Works Often better than calculations...] Unless you're designing parachutes.

I know you were making a joke, but I think trial and error would work pretty well if you dropped inert weights with parachutes and some sort of mechanism to open the parachute.

Once the human testing starts, yeah, trial and error bad.

But parachutes were invented before supercomputers, and I'll bet trial and error testing with inert weights played a role in developing usable parachutes.

Common sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068289)

"That's old school!"

"Yep. Ain't no school like the old school."

Not sure I understand. (2)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068387)

I understand his invention.

What I don't understand is how plastic filament is so expensive. Surely this stuff is already produced on an enormous scale with machines that have a tiny amortized cost.

Anyone got any ideas?

Re:Not sure I understand. (1)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068685)

Supply and demand, the same with everything else

This gadget will essentially take the control of the supply of the refined product (filament) out of the hands of the middlemen. It allows the end-users to refine the raw material themselves.

Re:Not sure I understand. (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068835)

The same reason normal printer cartridges are expensive.

Re:Not sure I understand. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43069079)

I understand his invention.

What I don't understand is how plastic filament is so expensive. Surely this stuff is already produced on an enormous scale with machines that have a tiny amortized cost.

Anyone got any ideas?

I imagine that the demand is currently growing rather rapidly, which means additional expensive machinery which hasn't amortized the cost.

See also the case of supply v. demand.

Re:Not sure I understand. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43069807)

As a quality control inspector in the aerospace and nuclear industry, I can attest that this plastic isn't the crap chinese toys are made of. It's Delrin, and it's tough enough to craddle the lives of the men and women on the ISS

Common Sense is KEY to engineering (3, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068391)

Unfortunately, "Common Sense" is in short supply. It's actually the rarest element of all, and very likely, this gentleman succeeds where others fail because he applies common sense.

There are a lot of very smart, clever people out there, but not that many smart, clever people with common sense. Trust me on this.

Re:Common Sense is KEY to engineering (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069339)

Unfortunately, common sense is often present in clever, smart people when they start to learn, it's our school system that usually quickly strips them from it.

Think back to your school days. How long did it take you to figure out to forego common sense and ponder what the teacher wants to hear? Those who manage to struggle through school somehow yet retain their common sense are usually the few that can save a little bit of theirs.

Sadly, we rarely think of people who had bad grades as "clever" and "smart".

Re:Common Sense is KEY to engineering (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43070065)

This is absolutely true, and also a very hard battle to win... if they can't condition free thinking out of you, they'll try and drug it out. And if they can't drug it out, they'll kick you out of public school and send you to alternative schools specially designed for that kind of conditioning. As a last resort they take you away from your parents and lock you up at a "residential school" where you're bombarded 24/7 with conditioning to make you "status quo."

I survived all of this and still kept my common sense, but I sometimes wish I hadn't. Take it from me, it's impossible to achieve anything but downward mobility when you sacrifice authoritarian societal acceptance for your wits. In the end you just spend your life being bitter and jaded against the world and the stupid people all around you for being the reason you can't have nice things. You know what they say: ignorance is bliss.

99.98th percentile intelligence, and I'm stuck at the dead-end of my career below the glass ceiling, and can't afford the degree I need to be taken seriously. Having uncommon sense is a very small victory in the grand scheme of things.

Re:Common Sense is KEY to engineering (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070131)

Very true, but then again, I wouldn't want to trade. Yes, I won't be the darling of the market considering that I prefer thinking to mindless consuming and creating to consuming, but in the end I found that I don't really need a lot of money.

I get by, with my wits intact and my moral integrity at least halfway retained. The only thing that is still hard is to grin and nod when a superior declares his intellectual bankruptcy with yet another speech bubble.

Re:Common Sense is KEY to engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43070623)

Part of the greater problem is the classist implications of this; god help you if you're a smart person growing up poor.

There's also a sort of innovative regression when smarter people are systemically removed from the path to making policy or design decisions. It works great for keeping the status quo and the present ruling class in charge, but generations down the line all of society is going to suffer for it, and badly.

Recycling ABS? (2)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068557)

Can anyone tell me how well ABS recycles? I'm thinking about something like this extruder, but instead of using bulk pellets, dicing up old projects and tossing them in the hopper. Recycle the plastic to make new stuff.

Re:Recycling ABS? (1)

grahamsz (150076) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068619)

I can't see why it wouldn't work. The extruder just appears to be melting the pellets and shaping them as filament, then the filament is melted in a 3d printer to make an object, I can't see why you couldn't repeat unless there's some chemical in the ABS that becomes weaker with each melt and set cycle.

Re:Recycling ABS? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068787)

Thermoplastics tend to degrade slightly each time they're processed, generally losing strength. In industry regrind is mixed with virgin material before reuse. Most polymer manufacturers suggest maximum regrind levels on their datasheets. Usually it's 25-50%, but for non critical applications you can happily use 100% regrind.

Filament quality? (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068645)

One of the thing that makes a good 3D printer filament is a perfectly round one with a constant diameter. I'm guessing it was two requirements of the contest but the author was too lazy to put a link on the "Desktop Factory Competition" text.

Yes I can search "Desktop Factory Competition", but so will 500 other people. I'm not being lazy, I'm saying one person should have worked 5 seconds more to write the post instead of making 500 people waste 2 seconds. It's basic mathematics.

Re:Filament quality? (1)

chill (34294) | about a year and a half ago | (#43068781)

You sound like an engineer. :-)

TFA itself contains many useful links, including a link to Thingverse, which in turn has a link to the BOM and everything else needed in the way of documentation.

http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:34653 [thingiverse.com]

What is the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068861)

40 Years ago I ran a machine that made bits of plastic to use for 'sand blasting' aluminum transmission cases for the US automakers. It was a huge hopper with a screw that forced heated plastic through a die with a bunch of holes in it. The extruded plastic filiments were then run through a water bath to rapidly cool it. Finally, it went into a cutter that chopped it up into tiny bits.

If you just removed the cutter you would get continuous filiments.

His machine is just a scaled down version of what I used 40 years ago, a total no-brainer.

I wonder if the USPTO will issue a patent.

Re:What is the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43068919)

Building one for under $250.

Re:What is the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43069065)

Ya, I read the article. I still do not see what the problem is.

Re:What is the problem? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069295)

The diameter of the filament must be 1.75mm, ± 0.05mm

Re:What is the problem? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069275)

There are very old plans out there on how to turn drill press into a very cheesy injection molding machine.

You fabricate a barrel and screw and work the screw advance with the drill press handle.

Not exactly $250 but in that ballpark.

He might have resubmitted the same basic design. Of course I didn't RTFA.

Which is the best 3d printer? (2)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069251)

I am interested in buying a 3D printer. Does anyone have experience / recommendations? The cheapest I have seen is $500 at http://store.solidoodle.com/ [solidoodle.com] but I'm curious if it is worth spending more for a 'higher quality' printer.

Re:Which is the best 3d printer? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069301)

The Printrbot is cheaper and from the videos I've seen on YouTube, it seems to work just fine.

Re:Which is the best 3d printer? (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069487)

Thank you for the recommendation. I looked it up and it seems that solidoodle is still cheaper. For $500, you get 6"x6"x6" and a power supply, versus printrbot which is 4"x4"x4", does not include a power supply but does come with 1lb of filament.

Re:Which is the best 3d printer? (1)

rmelton (165795) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069727)

You will get a lot of strong opinions about this. I also have been researching 3d printers and came to the conclusion that solidoodle has a reputation for extruder jams. I recommend you read a few posts before you decide and judge for yourself.

Re:Which is the best 3d printer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43069589)

Mendel90 because it's designed by the reprap-legend nopehead.

http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?94,170238

Re:Which is the best 3d printer? (2)

mishu2065 (1616553) | about a year and a half ago | (#43069603)

Make magazine seems to have made a comparative review of the hobby market 3D printers recently. It is available here [makershed.com] . I don't know if it's any good, but I am considering buying it because I am also looking for a 3D printer.

Re:Which is the best 3d printer? (1)

Pallas Athena (2855215) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070015)

I guess that for 3D-printers the same goes as for about anything else - if nothing but the price matters, you probably end up paying a price for nothing. I do recommend reading the Make magazine, it gives you at least some background of what to expect for which price.

Re:Which is the best 3d printer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43070627)

I really can't say anything for or against the other printers but I do have a solidoodle and it is a decent little printer.

Really anything on the hobby level is going to have a learning curve and take a bit to get dialed in for good prints.

The one thing I will recommend is whatever you get should have a heated bed. Kapton is OK but once I went to a borosilicate glass pane and light misting of unscented hairspray I don't think I'd ever go back to Kapton. On the plus side adding a borosilicate* print surface should be fairly simple on most any 3D printer.

*People have said that normal window glass works, borosilicate is more expensive it is also much less susceptible to thermal shock than regular glass.

Re:Which is the best 3d printer? (4, Informative)

smellsofbikes (890263) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070655)

I am interested in buying a 3D printer. Does anyone have experience / recommendations? The cheapest I have seen is $500 at http://store.solidoodle.com/ [solidoodle.com] but I'm curious if it is worth spending more for a 'higher quality' printer.

Figure out what you want to print. There's a fairly large variation in build area, so if you're wanting to print stuff the size of textbooks you're going to want a larger printer. Likewise, most extrusion printers have a minimum print resolution in the 0.5mm or thereabouts area, so if you want fine detail you may be wasting your money on an extrusion-type printer. Printers with better resolution are usually photolithography-based and an order of magnitude more expensive, at which point a commercial print service like shapeways seems a lot more attractive.
With any extrusion-type printer, I think the most important item is that it's popular, because you're going to spend time debugging and adjusting and generally fussing around with it; if you get a snazzy brand-new design you're the beta tester. If you get something that has three years of hundreds of people working with it, all the problems you can encounter have already been encountered and dealt with.
If you want to get more printer for less money you can build it yourself: there are a variety of plans where you buy a printed set of parts, source all the structural parts yourself, and make your own. What I said above about finding one where design and implementation issues are well-known and there's a support community in place goes double for this option.

I strongly recommend that you only start down the 3d printer path if you have projects for which you already have need for printed items; if you get one just because it's the hip thing to do for geeks, you're likely to be wasting your money. With that said, once you have one, you suddenly start printing a whole lot of things you never thought you would, because you can: I have friends who print live animal traps, plumbing parts, and light bulb fixture components now that they have 3d printers.

Re:Which is the best 3d printer? (2)

Smidge204 (605297) | about a year and a half ago | (#43071435)

In addition to having an idea of what you'd use it for, I'd like to offer the following advice regarding how much to spend / what to buy:

How much work are you willing and able to do yourself?

The more effort you're willing to put into making the machine, the less expensive it's likely to be. Right now, the cheapest machine I'm aware of that's not total junk is the Prusa i3 ("Box frame" version) which you can stick together for under US$500 if you're savvy about where you buy parts from and you're handy with basic tools.

Be forewarned that 3D printing is a proper hobby - the kind of thing you can throw embarrassing amounts of money and time at, and the only people who will understand are those who are also part of the hobby. I do not know what kind of quality you can get with a Solidoodle. In my experience the machine itself is a relatively minor part of the equation: Endless tinkering and calibration, along with quality filament, are far more important to print quality. It's only when you get into machines that have been stripped down so much to reduce costs that quality gets impacted... see: Printrbot and it's unsupported vertical axis.
=Smidge=

I call BS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43069843)

He does NOT look 83 :P

The Engineer and the Balloonist (5, Funny)

Fnord666 (889225) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070361)

A man in a hot air balloon realized he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The woman below replied, "You're in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You're between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude."

"You must be an engineer," said the balloonist. "I am," replied the woman, "How did you know?"

"Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is, technically correct, but I've no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help at all. If anything, you've delayed my trip."

The woman below responded, "You must be in Management." "I am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"

"Well," said the woman, "you don't know where you are or where you're going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise which you've no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it's my fault."

Re:The Engineer and the Balloonist (2)

locopuyo (1433631) | about a year and a half ago | (#43071299)

Is it normal for people to use hot air balloons to meet people out in the middle of the ocean or just is it a manager thing?

Methinks he is lying. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43070493)

Torque calculations are covered in freshman physics. Is he a four year freshman? Is physics not a prerequisite for just about all engineering classes? Is the University of Utah that big of a party school?

who said old dogs have no new tricks (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | about a year and a half ago | (#43070817)

Great to hear at that age, he still inventing stuff...

Re:who said old dogs have no new tricks (1)

OakDragon (885217) | about a year and a half ago | (#43071009)

When asked what he planned to do with the money, the octogenarian replied "Spend it, fast!"

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