Defining Engineering Via a 3D Printer

Explaining the Engineering mindset after experiencing a moment of zen while watching a 3D printer

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Image by Jordy Meow from Pixabay. 3D printed boat by Kevin Wanke
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Stacked of Stones Outdoors from Pexels
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XKCD: Efficiency by Randall Munroe

Engineering Is An Act of Creation

Creating a 3D print is an act of pure creation. An Engineer may not have much of an artistic streak when it comes to the traditional artistic skills, but an expression of form through technology could be considered stock in trade for this mindset. However, this comes with a caveat. For every minute of watching the X-, Y-, and Z-axis machinations of the busy printer head, at least 3 times that has been spent simply searching for the perfect thing to print and in getting it set up.

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XKCD: Orbital Mechanics by Randall Munroe

We Engineer To Learning Something New

There is absolutely nothing on this earth that can keep a dedicated Engineer away from a specific solution to a problem that they are wholly invested and interested in. It doesn’t matter the education or the workplace projects, the greatest and fastest learning that takes place is focused around intense self-interest.

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XKCD: Is It Worth the Time? by Randall Munroe

Engineers Love To Complete Tasks

Oh that itch. That incessant itch. Knowing that there is an open item on the task list where we strive to find that dopamine hit that comes with checking that box and marking something as done.

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XKCD:Third Way by Randall Munroe

Engineers Are Always Right

You will never hear a more lively debate than during what happens if you put a bunch of Engineers in a room and ask them to come to a consensus on a process or a standard that affects all of them. Politicians could take lessons from the egotistical soapbox grandstanding over the most minor of trivialities that occurs when attempting to convince one’s own peers that their method of 2–4 spaces for indentation is somehow mystically more efficient than someone else’s single tab spacing for a coding standard.

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XKCD: Wall Art by Randall Munroe

Engineers Create Art

The term ‘Art’ is used loosely here. Don’t get me wrong, beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder when it comes to art. Anything could be art to anyone — what is art is not the point here. Carrying around a two inch long small model of a boat to show off how well a 3D printer works is just one way to show off something and proudly proclaim to the world: I made this!

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XKCD: Automation by Randall Munroe

Engineering Often Automates Solutions Into New Problems

How many people live with someone that has a semi-smart home that is totally dumb every time you want it to do something smart? Yes I have assorted automation devices here at home and no, nobody ever seems to really use them. I will even admit to researching automated 3D printer automation within the past few hours as well.

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XKCD: Coffee by Randall Munroe

Engineers Always Find An Excuse to Drink More Coffee

And last but not least, we get to the black gold that fuels our creative engines. The caffeinated rush of joy coursing through our veins as we embark upon yet another iteration for the perfect 3D print. Coffee is synonymous with Engineers in a way that seems almost visceral — a deep dark yearning for more of the dark creative juice.

Written by

Engineer. Manager. Husband. Father. Wanna-be Writer. Editor-In-Chief & Grand Poobah of www.kevinwanke.com

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