Getting laser cutters out of the lab: an interview with Risha’s Moushira Elamrawy

I'm an avid reader of Anjali Ramachandran's Other Valleys - a "short list of creative/technology ideas that are by and large NOT from the US/UK/EU." Last November I noticed Risha, a project that both designed and built a laser cutter out of recycled lasers and stepper motors salvaged from old printers. Laser cutters are typically big and expensive - this one seemed extraordinarily accessible and very much in the spirit of Open Engineering. Certainly worth a closer look. I fired off a note to Moushira Elamrawy, one of the project's founders, and she was kind of enough to answer my questions in between "workshops in a village in South Sinai." Read more

How to design for roll forming

Reduce manufacturing costs. Improve lead times. Decrease shipping costs. Maintain consistency and quality. Sounds ideal, right? It may seem like a tall order, but all of these production goals are possible through roll forming—if your design is optimized for this process. Read more

The manager’s guide to deputizing technology advocacy

A couple of months back, we provided some insight about how to manage the relentless pace of engineering and manufacturing technology by empowering the right talent at your company. One of those recommendations –make technology advocacy part of someone’s job description– seemed simple enough. However, you might have wondered how that might be possible in today’s engineering rush – when everyone’s in the middle of fifteen things, all of them annoying. That’s why we’re here. Read more

Meet the manager of engineering labs at Bell Helicopter

Ever since I was a little boy I have been interested in helicopters - one of the most complex and intriguing flying vehicles. In my opinion, developing a reliable and safe rotorcraft is on the leading edge of engineering. Naturally, I was very excited when Randall Willnow, Manager of Engineering Labs, Materials and Processes at Bell Helicopter agreed to answer a few questions. I could talk about their aircraft forever, but for brevity's sake I stuck to more high-level questions. Bell Helicopter is a division of Textron and an American rotorcraft manufacturer headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. The company was founded in 1935 and has delivered more than 35,000 aircraft to date. Read more

Real options and PDM: keeping the bean counters off your back

You have done your homework, read all the analyst reports, talked to your peers, and you are convinced that you need to implement a PDM system in your organization. Now comes the difficult part: talk to senior management and prepare a compelling argument for budget approval. The question you dread the most, likely coming from the CFO. What’s the payback? Indeed, how do you demonstrate the value of an engineering tool like PDM to a CFO using financial terms? Read more