Mechanical vs Electrical Engineering? Answered

What are the primary differences between the two? Which is a more rewarding career path? Which major is better for someone who wants to get a broad understanding of engineering? Is it feasible to get a double major?

Question by Chikpeas Brother   |  last reply

Should I stay with engineering?

I am currently in the 2nd semester of my freshman year of college (University of Northern Iowa) as a physics major. This fall I am planning on transferring to Iowa State for computer engineering but I am starting to have second thoughts. I have always liked learning about technology and building projects (currently robots) and I can't imagine any major other than engineering. I got a C in calculus 1 and physics 1 and am currently taking physics 2 and calculus 2. Physics 2 should be fun (finally get to electricity and circuits) but I am worried about calc 2. I've never been a math genius; does this mean I'm in the wrong major? I guess I am looking for some advice on if I'm in the right major.

Question by Arya42   |  last reply

how to build a bike with an engine? Answered

I need advice about putting on an engine on a 12 inch wheel bike

Question by valiantox5   |  last reply

Compressed air engine help?

My friend and i are making a compressed air engine strong enough to work lawnmowers or better yet, a small car. Does anybody know any equations for calculating torque or RPM's? We are somewhat basing it off of the Airhogs air engine but better. Also, does anybody think making it out of PVC would be a good decision? or aluminum? I don't know if it will make lots of heat since there is no igniting of gases so i think it will be safe to use PVC for a lighter engine so more power can be used for moving. any thing wrong/bad about that?

Question by Lego man   |  last reply

kayak pvc engine mounts?

Hi i saw a lot of videos in you tube about the kayaks engine mount but they don't tell measurements or anything can you please help me if you have it something with a diagram so i can follow it thanks.merry christmas

Question by EdgardoL3   |  last reply

Is being an electronics engineer a good job?

It's getting about time for me to start getting ready for college and deciding what to do. I've started playing with electronics stuff, and was like this would be a cool job. Are any of you guys electronics engineers and would recommend it as a good job? What all do you have to do?

Question by 7654321   |  last reply

Career Advice? Answered

I'm about to finish highschool, and hopefully head off to uni However, I still am a little unsure on my career path, which I think I need to be to choose a course for uni Originally, I wanted to become a mechatronic engineer, and I was hoping that by the time I got out, it would not be so new and unfamiliar an occupation. However, I dunno if that is gonna happen.... So instead, now I'm thinking about whether I should try to become an electronic engineer for something like a section of the Australian Defence Force... I'm just looking for a path that will later on help me get a stable job, with enough money to live comfortably (i.e get a house/car). I don't really want to waste my time on a degree that will not be worth the work put in, however. What do you think?

Question by .Unknown.   |  last reply

How to create car using small bike engine?

I wonder is how to create my own car using a motorcycle engine i think is just move the motor cycle engine into a small light weight car.

Question by cahyo_skom   |  last reply

Solar-driven Stirling engines for electricity generation

The "Picture of the Day" in today's New Scientist shows a solar power generation test using Stirling engines as the generators.

Topic by kelseymh   |  last reply

how can i clean my car engine with household items? water yes/no?

I want to make my car engine look a bit nicer, but i have no clue on where to start... i have read that you can use water at high pressure, but it doesn't seem too safe to me...

Question by SABBaS   |  last reply

do you have to fill gearbox with seperate oil to the engine oil and how on a mitsubishi carisma manual?

Do you have to fill gearbox with seperate oil to the engine oil and how on a mitsubishi carisma manual

Question by    |  last reply

How can I set up a 90volt engine for an electric motorcycle? Answered

Either in words or in a diagram? thank you so much

Question by SdaMaster   |  last reply

how can I increase compression ...

How can I increase compression  in a small (5-10 hp) engine without buying a new piston or head?

Question by qparker   |  last reply

Why hasn't the steam engine been reborn for modern cars?

With present gas/pollution concerns and green tech merging with cars left and right... Why hasn't the steam engine been reborn? I mean what takes MORE power, Electricity to move a 1000lb car or heat up a heating element to heat water and make steam? With tanks strong enough to hold Hydrogen for cars why cant the same tech be used for a steam engine? All the fuel you would need would be water (solar panels/batteries to power heating) but just water for fuel. Thoughts?

Question by Green_Primus   |  last reply

Solar Heat in Cold Climates

Cool Energy is making a solar power and heating system that works in cold climates. Hooray!  It makes use of a highly efficient Stirling Engine.SolarHeart

Topic by whiteoakart 

how to find the right used car for me? Answered

All right  guys and gals i need to find a good used car in the atlanta area but am having the hardest time doing so if any one knows on a good reliable honest search engine ect. for used cars within a certian make modle and budget please let me know. thankyou, fidgety

Question by fidgety2   |  last reply

How much of an engineer do you have to be to repurpose the tuner from a broken lcd tv to work as a dtv converter?

Can you rewire and connect the tuner part of a broken flat panel tv to a power supply and encase it to use it as a converter box as it can do ota as well as clear qam receiving? This would be a great instructable if I knew about electronics and could solder!

Question by davidkichi   |  last reply

Arduino Projects ITT

I've been doing research into some home brewed add-on people have made for Arduino. I was surprised to find that there are a ton of custom shields that people have developed and sell right now (check this out:  This gave me some ideas for developing products myself. I'm trying to gauge what people are looking for in new Arduino product. If you could take a really quick survey that I designed to test the market, I'd really appreciate it? Here is a link to it: Please let me know what you guys think would make great products for Arduino! On a related point, I was wondering about the feasibility of a brushless motor shield. I am working on an Arduino based dual rotor mulicopter with some friends (here is a link: We aren't too far in yet). I think for others that make "Arducopter", it would be nice to do away with external ESCs for controlling brushless motors. I think it would be far more convenient to have a shield that acts as a substitute for ESCs and also act as a power distribution platform for on board components. Is it dangerous to be running that much current on a PCB on top of an Arduino? Would it be wise to connect a 3S LiPo in parallel with the shield ESC and an Arduino, or could that damage my Arduino? Thanks in advice for the help!

Topic by Filleted 

I want to quiet a loud portable 5KW generator? Answered

I know about adding a larger muffler but I do not want to reduce the engines power by restricting the flow and that is only half the noise issue, the other half is the mechanical noise from the engine.. I have seen the sound deadening generator enclosures / shelters for them to run in but they coast 800 and up. I cannot find any plans to build one myself . Anyone know where I can find plans for one or have other suggestions?

Question by nauty942   |  last reply

Wooden Go Kart?

*Hopefully this is the correct category..... Hello all! I am quite interested to start learning woodworking (already have some knowledge) And what better way to start that with a gas (or electric) go-kart :-P? I know fair amount of people who have built things out of wood, some younger than I am (14). And it seems like a very good skill to have. Plus, if I am good enough at it and I outgrow the go kart, Ca-CHING! I could sell it for profit (If it is in good enough condition still). I'm currently in 8th grade but I cannot take a woodworking class until 10th grade, So why not start? I was also wondering if the Ibles community could help? I could use some ideas, and I will need alot of info for the engine and frame.(If you can even find PEDAL CART info that would be awesome too). My plan is to have it done by mid summer (July 10 for me). This may seem like too much for me, but I want to build one that, if it doesn't have an engine, one could easily add one (I realize I can not run a gas/lawnmower engine on its side) Please leave your thoughts below!!

Topic by Randomguy65   |  last reply

How to design an aircraft like cri cri?

I am making an aircraft as like as cri cri. Now I want to know How to select engine, wing span and propeller size for an small aircraft?

Question by fairuj   |  last reply

What sources of aluminum are safe for casting into cookware? I have lawnmower engines, soda cans, lawn chairs.?

I'd like to make some aluminum bowls and pans, what aluminum alloy sources are safe to use for this?

Question by robbtoberfest   |  last reply

Sandia, Stirling Energy Systems set new world record for solar-to-grid conversion efficiency

31.25 percent efficiency rate topples 1984 recordALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --On a perfect New Mexico winter day -- with the sky almost 10 percent brighter than usual -- Sandia National Laboratories and Stirling Energy Systems (SES) set a new solar-to-grid system conversion efficiency record by achieving a 31.25 percent net efficiency rate. The old 1984 record of 29.4 percent was toppled Jan. 31 on SES's "Serial #3" solar dish Stirling system at Sandia's National Solar Thermal Test Facility.The conversion efficiency is calculated by measuring the net energy delivered to the grid and dividing it by the solar energy hitting the dish mirrors. Auxiliary loads, such as water pumps, computers and tracking motors, are accounted for in the net power measurement."Gaining two whole points of conversion efficiency in this type of system is phenomenal," says Bruce Osborn, SES president and CEO. "This is a significant advancement that takes our dish engine systems well beyond the capacities of any other solar dish collectors and one step closer to commercializing an affordable system."Serial #3 was erected in May 2005 as part of a prototype six-dish model power plant at the Solar Thermal Test Facility that produces up to 150 kilowatts (kW) of grid-ready electrical power during the day. Each dish unit consists of 82 mirrors formed in a dish shape to focus the light to an intense beam.The solar dish generates electricity by focusing the sun's rays onto a receiver, which transmits the heat energy to a Stirling engine. The engine is a sealed system filled with hydrogen. As the gas heats and cools, its pressure rises and falls. The change in pressure drives the pistons inside the engine, producing mechanical power, which in turn drives a generator and makes electricity.More here:

Topic by ewilhelm   |  last reply

Rube Goldberg TV Show Casting Call

This sounds like fun:A new Discovery Channel show is looking for teams of ARTISTS, SCIENTISTS, ENGINEERS, ARCHITECTS and DESIGNERS with experience in building RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINES. (Thanks to BoingBoing for the link!)More details:This show shoots in January in Los Angeles so the application process will be moving quickly.Super Rubes is a weekly one-hour show that follows a band of talented creators as they design, build, and set off a massive Chain Reaction Machine in front of a cheering crowd. The point of a Chain Reaction Machine is to do something very simple, like turn on a light bulb, using as many steps as possible. This is an opportunity for engineers to let their creative hair down and have some fun building a giant Chain Reaction Machine. Our team will take on impossible challenges (i.e. , Can you crack an egg with a human hair?) in a race against the clock.We are looking for fun, interesting, charismatic and outgoing individuals of all ethnicities and types 25-39 years old to comprise a diverse team of people who are involved in engineering/building: This means architects, engineers, scientists, pyro-technicians, art directors/designers, even professors or hobbyists who are simply passionate about these topics. We don't need an expert in every area, just someone who loves to design and build.The team should be a mix of a skills, a mix of personality types, and have a playful, funny camaraderie, so if there are existing teams out there, all the better, or if couples/triples have worked together and want to present themselves as the start of a team, we are open to that too.

Topic by canida   |  last reply

"Oorja" Stove taking off in India

This is a stove being pushed by BP in rural India. It looks like an innovative product not just engineering-wise, but also in terms of marketing and distribution

Topic by nagutron   |  last reply

sail plane made from paper clips

Who would be interested in an instructable about how to make a working glider made from paper clips, food wrap, and a small engine? I was going to do this for the launch it challenge but I didnt have time to do it.

Topic by Pat Sowers   |  last reply

Flying car idea

I was thinking about building a flying car that would have most wingspan hidden under the car (pops out when activated) and the doors would be the tips. (What used to be the back doors would roll over van-style, and the back would otherwise be covered by sheet metal) In the back, there would be two vertical rudders and the spoiler would be cut into flaps for horizontal rudders. The thing would overall be powered by two helicopter jet engines. Once the flight system is activated, the gear shift (auto trans) would turn into the throttle, and the gas/brake pedals would turn into the rudder pedals. The idea is to make a flying car that still (when wings are stowed and trunk cover is closed) looks like a normal car. The question: is this possible?

Question by red.baron   |  last reply

Flying Pig Website

If anybody likes automata, but can't be bothered to work in wood and metal, try Flying Pig models.They (mainly he) make and sell cardboard kits that move in interesting ways.Obviously, most of them are for sale, but he has some free models for downloading, which change very occasionally.Probably the most interesting parts of Flying Pig for this site, though, are his Workshop Notes blog, where Rob updates readers on the process he goes through developing his models (he's part way through a dinosaur at the moment, and has released a kids range).He also has a section of mechanisms, with animations of all the paper mechanisms he uses, plus several that don't go into paper models (like a stirling engine).Generally, it's a great resource for anybody interested in engineering, paper or otherwise.

Topic by Kiteman   |  last reply

Are Stickle Bricks androgynous? Answered

Meccano has good old-fashioned engineering male/female anatomy in it's nuts and bolts. Lego has male/female anatomy, where standard bricks have both. K'NEX tends to have single-gender parts with multiple connectivity. But are Stickle Bricks androgynous? L

Question by lemonie   |  last reply

Would you be in a new and virtually untapped green energy?

Hi I am developing a new concept for new in-pipe clean energy turbine system and looking for a mechanical electric engineer with skill in hydroelectricity. The patent has been already submitted, the proof of concept checked on a small scale prototype. I am trying to build a full working demonstration prototype. I am a scientist with good in design skills but limited electromechanical skills. I need a electromechanical engineer with computer fluid dynamics (CFD) skills to help me to build this prototype, interpret the data we will gather from the tests and find the best pilot test site. I am proposing a substantial part of equity of the company in exchange of this partnership. I'll ask you to sign an NDA before we get going. Please contact me here or at info at 100traffic dot com. Best regards, Herve

Topic by 100traffic 

Active Sound Generator

Guys, does anybody know how to make an "Active Sound Generator"? It produces an amplified engine sound and the car sounds louder. In retail it costs about 2000€ that's why I would like to built my own Active Sound Generator. Any car fans who can help me out?

Topic by KolerR   |  last reply

There Should be a Solar contest

There should be a solar energy contest, I'm sure there are lots of awesome ideas out there. I'm thinking solar powered coffee machine, kite wind generator, ..... Maybe categories like small gadgets, garden, home power, cooking? Prizes like a 100w photovoltaic panel, solar cell phone chargers, Stirling engine for the coffee cup.Lets put our heads together on this.

Topic by robbtoberfest   |  last reply

My spark plug is smoking, what should I do? Answered

Earlier today I went mudding in my golfcart. After a while I felt the engine beneath my seat get really hot. So I opened the hood and my spark plug was smoking. What could this mean? And how should I fix this?

Question by Bardouv   |  last reply

CD's for power?

I was cleaning my room and found a load of blank CD's. It made me think of all the AOL discs that my house used to get. So I got to thinking - There's a lot of power wasted on these things, right? So, my job for you, Instructables users, is to help me engineer a way to use these CD's to generate solar, wind, tidal, geothermal energy, whatever. Anything renewable. Any ideas?

Topic by A good name   |  last reply

How can you make a wallet out of a Pocky Box? Answered

My aunt has a couple Pocky bags, and she wants a wallet to go with them. I thought it would be a green idea to make one for her birthday out of a Pocky box, but I have no idea how to go about it. And search engines have NOT been helpful, so I was wondering if anyone could help me. Thanks!!!!

Question by WitzyGurl   |  last reply

wind-up toy making question?

I want to make steampunk style wind up toys, I just need any information pertaining to the mechanics of wind up ... stuff. You know, how do I make springs? How do you go about putting the wind up "engine" together? Are there any sources for purchasing parts online? Any help would be greatly appreciated

Question by gothking85   |  last reply

Fuel economy of the world's longest in-service ship

The Emma Maersk is the second longest ship in the world, and the longest currently in service. It's so large, it looks photoshopped into any picture it appears. Driving such a large ship requires a lot of power. From Wikipedia:The Emma Maersk is powered by a Wartsila-Sulzer 14RTFLEX96-C engine, currently the world's largest single diesel unit, weighing 2,300 tons and capable of 109,000 horsepower (82 MW). The ship has several features to protect the environment. This includes recycling the exhaust, mixed with fresh air, back into the engine for reuse. This not only increases efficiency by as much as 12% but also reduces engine emissions. Instead of biocides, used by much of the industry to keep barnacles off of the hull, a special silicone-based paint is used. This increases the ship's efficiency by reducing drag while also protecting the ocean from biocides that may leak. The silicone paint covering the part of the hull below the waterline is credited for lowering the water drag enough to save 1200 tons of fuel per year.We started talking about energy consumption after watching a practice version of Saul's upcoming E-Tech Keynote, Energy Literacy, and Dave Culp of Kiteship and Speed Sailing did a back-of-the-envelope MPG calculation for this ship:A few more facts about Emma Maersk:Running at her rated 80 Mw, her main engines burn 14 tons of residual fuel each hour. Annually, that's 97,400 tons of fuel. Her auxiliaries, delivering their full 30 Mw, burn an additional 6.6 tons/hour, for a total fuel burn of 20.6 tons/hour. Given 290 steaming days/year (80% capacity factor, which is conservative), this yields a total annual usage of 143,400 tons or about $64.5 million in annual fuel costs.Burning 20.6 tons/hour = 6724 gals/hour. At 31 kts/hour, this equals .0046 nautical miles/gallon. At 6076 ft/nautical mile, that's 28 feet/gallon of fuel burned.The 1200 tons saved by her "revolutionary" bottom paint represents a bit less than 1% of this cost, so increases her fuel mileage to 28.2 feet/gallon.Dave concludes:You gotta haul a lot of containers full of $7 tee shirts to make this profitable.28 feet/gallon!Images from and Wikipedia.

Topic by ewilhelm   |  last reply

Speedy soldering

Hi, guys. I've been looking for videos and advice on how to solder quickly, but I keep hitting a wall with my search engine giving me quick instructions instead of quick technique. Does anybody have any advice or links I could use? (I work putting together solar cells and since I just had a significant pay-cut, I need to produce more plates in the same amount of time)

Topic by TashaDax   |  last reply

3 axis rotation system

Hello everyone! I was hoping someone here with better understanding of engineering or just a fresh take on the problem can help me out. Im working on this art project where I have a metal ball, aproximatelly the size of a basket ball, and i wanted to make it rotate continuously on a stand, in a way that all sides of the ball were shown eventually. I've thought about this 3 axis sytem where each axis would rotate in turns to keep the ball rolling in diferent directions. Basically its like the insides of an analog mouse where the ball would rotate the gears and give the input of the location of the pointer, except here the gears should rotate the ball. I've been trying to build something close to that with some K'NEX and a simple rotation engine that came with it but im not getting nowhere. I thought of building the gears myself but im finding it hard to come up with a plan. What would the gears be shaped like? What size? what distance between them? Even with trial and error would take me forever @.@ Anyways, any input, ideas, comments apreciated, Thx!

Topic by raposa   |  last reply


Have an idea of taking 2 identical bikes and welding 4 pipes to seperate them about 4 feet apart.Now I have a free standing 4 wheel vehicle, now I want to use 5 hp briggs and stratton gas engine with centrifical clutch for power.The steering has me puzzled, but I think you have an idea of what I want to build? any help would be grateful,Also gearing and drive setupg...

Question by rockytop44   |  last reply

How to Sew?

"Do you have any sewing machines?" I asked the voice on the other end of the phone. "Yes, we do." said the voice. "Great!" and I hung up and hopped on my bike, out the door before they even heard the click. Minutes later, I was home with my new $30 White sewing machine. It had electrical problems, but that's okay 'cause I'm an electrical engineer! So I fixed the wiring and set to work. The trouble is.. I'm not a sewing-engineer. In fact, I've barely ever sewn before. There are all these knobs and buttons. I played around with them to see if I could figure out what they do, but there are still mysteries. Maybe you can help me out. How do I throw it into reverse? As far as I can tell, there are two possible selector knobs for stitches. What's going on there? What should R-C-L-TN do? What am I choosing, when I turn the knob more towards SS or M? Why does the bobbin thread bunch up underneath like Gandalf's beard? The pink button in the middle of the stitch length wheel?? Anything else I should know? Muchos gracias! PS - who wants to be the first to post a "How to Sew" instructable?

Topic by stasterisk   |  last reply

Night time Solar cooking

How would you like to cook with Solar power...after the sun went down?  It looks like MIT is on to something for the next step in Green tech. I found this idea very inspiring and it really makes the mind think of other uses beside just cooking after dark with the Sun. Think about useing this as a home heating device or water heater.  We could get millions of people off the electric grid with this type of invention if scaled up or engineered for the right useage. Any other ideas out there folks?

Topic by RedneckEngineer 

Anyone got tips on leaning out a 2.8L chevy V6 stock carb? Answered

Mine likes to blow BLAAAACK smoke out when I 'punch it' also, lately its been getting around 11mpg.... though, it fires up absolutely fantastic when its -20 or -30 F

Question by Junk_Wizard   |  last reply

I want to put an electric motor on a 4-wheel bike- (beach bar cruiser) i`ve got ideas but could always use more!?

I own a surrey(4-wheel bike) that seats six and i want to put an electric motor on it.I am on a really limited budget so i need to do this as cheap as possible. I need to get enough power behind this thing to run about 2 miles and it doesnt have to go fast either- if i can get it to top out at like 5-10 mph that`d be excellent. I was thinking i might use a washing machine motor(approx. 115 volt AC // 10amp) with 1 or 2 12V deep-cycle batteries and a 12V-120V AC/DC inverter. I`m no electrical engineer so i could you guys`s input/advice/opinion on whether i`m heading in the right direction and if this has any potential at all. I`m staying away from a gas-powered motor because i think the cops in my town will pull me over if they see/hear a gas engine on a 4-wheel bike. The real goal here is to get me & my friends to the bar and back without pedaling our asses off. Any advice would be greatly appreciated-

Question by timnandy   |  last reply

Artist wants to build giant dip pen

Comic book artist Jim Woodring is proposing to engineer and build a giant steel-nibbed dip pen to be used for public drawing instruction and demonstration which will also be performance art.  He's soliciting donations to make this quixotic project a reality.  Pretty cool, I think. I can't get the video to embed here.  You can view it at I'm amazed at how well he's thought this out and how passionate he is about pen-and-ink drawing.

Topic by yoyology   |  last reply

Energy Revolution

Greenpeace writes:Our Energy Revolution outlines a global plan for a sustainable renewable economic future. It shows us how we can get from where we are now, to where we need to be to avoid a climate change disaster. It was developed with specialists from the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and more than 30 scientists and engineers from universities, institutes and the renewable energy industry around the world.More info on

Topic by comodore   |  last reply

hammer survey

Hi! we are students in an pre-engineering program called Project Lead The Way (PLTW) at Stratford High School in Connecticut. We are currently working on a open ended design project. For our project we must identify a problem in the world and try to solve it. Our problem is that hammers cause over 36,000 injuries per year, and we would like to solve this as best as possible. Can you please fill out this survey? We'd greatly appreciate it. This is the link to the survey( we personally added a tinyurl to shorten the web address here) If you have any questions we'd be glad to answer them!

Topic by romanyacik   |  last reply