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September Scientiae: What’s in your toolbox?

August 31, 2010

This month's Scientiae Carnival topic is especially appropriate for a pseudo-engineer such as myself. One of the managers here at MegaCorp would regularly ask interviewees: What's in your toolbox? He meant it literally. Not what skills do you have to pull from, but what do you actually have at home in your garage (or apartment) and what do you work on.
 
There's two schools of thought to what makes a good engineer. There's the "you need to be hands on" theory, and the other group that wants you to have top notch analytical and software skills. I'm more on the theoretical side, maybe I'm still in school or maybe leftover from my humanities training. But that means I try to work on my "hands on" side too. So here's my toolbox:
  • A good drafting pencil. True we don't use blueprints anymore or do our lettering by hand, but it's still nice to know you have the tools. And can tell the youngsters how it used to be. Oh wait I'm a youngster!
  • My TI-83. We all love the calculator we learned on/used the most, and this is mine. No fancy integrations, but a few programs I like and the ability to stack commands.
  • A solid modelling program. Essential for any design engineer. If you're an EE of a CivE I guess you can get away with AutoCAD or something, but the rest of us need 3D.
  • Matlab. An engineer's friend, or bitterest enemy at times, but unfortunately required.
  • Excel. Don't hate on MS, and don't hate my spreadsheets!
  • A good toolbox:
    • Nice set of screwdrivers, or a screwdriver with a removable tip
    • Nice set of wrenches and sockets, metric and US-silly-units
    • Hammer, sledgehammer, wire stripper, wire cutters, bolt cutter
  • A few good hoses and some fittings. Never know when you'll need to go through your box and rig up a quick hose for something.
  • Calipers. Digital might be nice, never leave home without them.
  • Miscellaneous parts. Some old servo motors, unused piping, you never know, right?
  • Coffee; the day doesn't start without it.

So if you didn't post for the Scientiae, what's in your toolbox?

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