The one sentence answer to what do mechanical engineers do is that they use their knowledge of mathematics and natural sciences to develop ways to utilize materials and forces of nature to create new mechanical systems. Basically scientists discover new things about the world and mechanical engineers figure out ways to utilize these discoveries.
What do mechanical engineers do in a typical day?
In a traditional mechanical design engineering role a typical day will be spent in front of the computer using 3D Cad tools such as Solidworks, Autocad Inventor, Pro-E, and Catia. You might be working on a concept that you are preparing for a preliminary design meeting or creating 2D drawings that are going to be sent to a machine shop to build a prototype. Most of your time will be spent in front of the computer designing in 3D Cad. Although, sometimes you will be doing hand calculations on critical components to make sure your design is sound. For more sophisticated designs you might use stress analysis software tools to help determine the strength and reliability of your design. Also, some days you will be in meetings with other engineers discussing concepts, prototypes and final reviews.
There are other roles that people with a mechanical engineer background can take on. A test engineer typically spends most of his days testing and writing reports on prototypes. A manufacturing engineer spends most of his time making sure that production lines are producing quality products. A typical day for a Mechanical Engineer Patent researcher would be to review patents. Sales engineer’s typical day consists of contacting potential clients, finding out solutions to their problems and selling them on it.
What Industries do Mechanical Engineers work in?
I’m a Mechanical Engineer that’s been working as one for over 10 years. I’ve learned through experience that you can do a lot of different things with a mechanical engineering degree. Just about every industry needs mechanical engineers. Anything that is made of metal or plastic has probably had some design input from a mechanical engineer. Also, with a mechanical engineering background, you can pursue other non contemporary positions such as a patent researcher or examiner. For instance, a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering can be a step towards becoming a patent lawyer. You can also use your degree to become a sales engineer.
Some industries that I have worked in include, Defense, HVAC, Maritime and University Research. Other industries include consumer goods, high tech weapons, airplanes, submarines, cars and even rockets! Also, you can be a test engineer that tests products in all of these industries. I have friends that are in HVAC design for buildings. When buildings are being designed, HVAC mechanical engineers have to plan where all the pipes, air ducts and other piping have to be routed.
Also, for more cool videos on Mechanical Engineering go to my Mechanical Engineering Blog.
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