Essential tools for the material world

My friend John S. received his TV stand earlier today. I went to his dorm room to watch him assemble it. It used four round-head bolts with four locknuts. Joe L. tried to help him screw them on, but they couldn’t do it by hand. This was due to the rubber/plastic layer in the bolt that locks it on. They were also asking which direction it should go on. I said it shouldn’t matter — something that I learned while building the Walnut solar car last summer.

I’ve come to realize that I really learned a lot from that experience. Despite all my shortcomings, of which there were many, the project and team pulled through and we were a real success. Along the way, I learned tons about steel, welding, bolts, cutting, solar panels, wiring, steering, wheels, weight distrubution, and the list goes on and on. It’s really an amazing experience.

I hope other students can get to experience it, too. The knowledge learned carries over into real life much more than anything you can learn in school. Anyway, when John couldn’t get the stand assembled, I brought over my small toolbox and it had just the tool we needed. The stand was then assembled without hassle. “How many engineers does it take to assemble a TV stand?” “Three, apparently.”

I could use a more complete set of tools. Speaking of which, I still have the soldering iron I bought from RadioShack last year. Still unused… looking for a project.

One Response to “Essential tools for the material world”

  1. Michael says:

    Having the right tools for the job will often distinguish the professional from the amateur. I probably have enough knowledge of construction and general skills to build a house from the ground up, but without the right tools – it’s not practical.

    Of course, there’s always the issue of time and interest.

    If you had all the software and server resources you wanted, you could do a lot of web development.

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