Monday, October 23, 2006

Dr. StrangeGun, or how I suddenly felt guilty about the title.

Ok, I just wanted to remind everyone that the doc isn't an actual doctorate, the name and title of the blog is a play on Dr. Strangelove. That's painfully obvious, I know, but I have great respect for those who have gone through the collegiate vetting process, particularly in the sciences, and I've always cringed a bit when i get called "doctor" in real life.

My actual credentials are an associates degree in computer science, about a year and a half worth of drafting/mechanical drawing/CAD courses, and an insatiable, autodidactic thirst for knowledge and this strange ability to put machines together in my head and eventually get them out on paper.

Though, one of the long-term goals is to get the hell out of computer science (it kills the fun, really) and get into mechanical engineering, automotive or firearm if I can help it. UT's in my future, when I can afford it.

Speaking of affording things, the Para is back from Shannon with two sizes up of link in it and locks up tighter than some of the high end 1911's I've picked out of our cases, and when I've got $40 I'll get it off the shelf. Till then, I'm deprived. I suffer from a pesky condition called 'responsibility' and I'm dumping all my money into major debts whenever I get paid.

Any mechanical engineers out there offering advice for how to get started in this litte career shifting project?


Blogger B&N said...


Anything you are looking at doing, in particular, once said degree is in hand? A more narrowly focused area?

Just asking.


4:39 PM  
Blogger Dr. StrangeGun said...

Well, I had an offer once in HS to go to the automotive college up in Flint but I blew it because I can't pay attention in certain classes.

I like cars, I like guns. I have a deep understanding of both their functions... but guns have more "flexibility" in design... then again, I *really* like vehicle engineering.

I don't know.

1:11 PM  
Blogger B&N said...


Sorry, it's been a while since I posed the early question, and I am just now getting back to your answer.

I had a similar dilemma back around '90/91, when I was in need of, er..more guidance in my career path.

I, like you it seems, have an affinity for the same things. The internal combustion engine really has no secrets for me, though I am continually astounded by its resilience and continued evolution in meeting ever tougher, and to my mind, unreasonble demands being put on it by the eco-phrekes.

I am quite certain that the personal nature of our transportation choices will continue into the future, but I'm unsure about how we as a society will get there. Powertrain engineering will play a big part in this of course, and the pay will probably be commensurate with the demand for the job. Hours will be hell, but that is nothing new for me.

Designing guns is something that I know less about, but it's certainly no harder a subject to understand than an automobile. Lots of product stagnation too, as most shooters and especially hunters are not enamored with the idea of "new" anything. The only real area of innovation that I've seen are in production processes that help speed manufacture, which is not only applicable to the gun industry, but any type of manufacturing really.

MIM pars, though derided by many as inferior quality, are an example of another method of technology used to reduce manufacturing time, and costs. Kind of a "bean-counter" way of dealing with high labor costs, I think, but thems the breaks.

I know it's a long haul with the school thing. I did it for six years, and at times, I really questioned the whole thing. It takes some perseverance, but in the long run it is worth it.

Feel free to bounce any ideas you may have off me, if needed.

Good luck.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Don Meaker said...

I got my BSME at University of Arizona, and MSME at Cal State Fresno.

Be sure to take the Engineer in Training exam, and unless you get into defense (Federal government doesn't care much about state certifications) the PE.

If I lived in Utah, I would talk to Robinson Arms about his company's requirements. What he needs is probably what other people need. You may even be able to get a part time 'puter job as you attend college.

Be sure to supplement the standard courses in statics, dynamics, thermodynamics, and control theory with an understanding, and some practice in finite element analysis, and a "material selection" class. Material selection classes really give you tools to quantify when something will fail, given an environment. Run that course backwards, and you get a failure mode analysis course.

5:07 PM  

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