“Building bridges is a great science and engineering lesson because it gets kids to do something with their hands,” says Williams, also a part-time CAD instructor at the College of Southern Nevada. “But the (bridge kits) cost a lot of money and we saw a lot of teachers dipping into their own pockets to pay for materials. Our challenge was to find less expensive materials than balsa wood.”
Enter the Fettucine and some Elmer’s Wood Glue.
For a while, the retiree’s prototype pasta bridge was displayed at the campus museum of the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV). His creations are built for strength – and are often destroyed in stress tests to prove to students how engineering innovation can make all the difference in the world.
The bridges are even impenetrable (most of the time) to curious doggies. Read More
In case we missed you at SolidWorks World earlier this month (the DraftSight booth was really hopping!), reality TV star Mike Rowe had some inspiring words about the engineering profession and the role it will continue to play in creating new jobs and expanding the economy.
Rowe, host of “Dirty Jobs” on the Discovery Channel, is best known for getting himself into unusual occupational situations — jobs that most of us never think about, but which obviously have to get done by somebody. Recent gigs the TV personality has sampled include an Owl Vomit Collector, Sewage Plant Worker, Coal Miner, Elevator Repairman, Toilet Crusher, and Charcoal Factory Worker.
“Dirty Jobs” celebrates the spirit of the American worker (it could apply to any country, of course) and honors people who silently devote a 100 percent effort to tasks that many observers might consider totally thankless.
“I first thought this was a solid waste convention!” Rowe joked with the crowd, making a play on words with SolidWorks.
“We find people who do things over and over again with joy” with jobs “normally associated with drudgery,” the TV personality said, adding that he really enjoys meeting people who solve problems without having to read the instruction manual (which in many cases don’t exist).
Rowe, who is also the voice of the “Deadliest Catch,” said he never rehearses any of the jobs we see him try on the show because he wants to share his first impressions and create the feeling that the viewers are trying the job for the first time with him.
His latest project is mikeroweWORKS.com, a website devoted to boosting enrollment in technical and vocational schools. The site was inspired by the irony of the “Skills Gap,” the fact that despite unemployment numbers being near an all-time high, there remain thousands of technical jobs without enough trained applicants.
"Dirty Jobs" star Mike Rowe is devoted to promoting the economic benefits of vocational schools.
In his talk, Rowe praised a Nevada pig farmer who devised his own machine to process uneaten food from Las Vegas casinos into feed for his animals. “He put it together like McGyver with parts from a junkyard,” he said referring to the classic 1980s secret agent show. “We see this kind of talent all the time.”
“But with all the innovation in the world, whether you put it in a smartphone or a computer, if you don’t have the ability to replicate it, all you’ve done is make a cool prototype,” Rowe said.
He described the engineering profession as occupying a noble space bridging between blue and white collar jobs.
“One of the great fictions that has been at work in our country for decades is this blue and white collar notion. We just love the ‘either-or.’ What do you do? Are you in this camp or in that camp? The real action today in respect to work is what you guys do,” he said.
“(With engineers) it’s neither blue nor white. It’s a willingness to get dirty, to use your brain AND use your hands.”
In the same spirit, Rowe also met backstage with SolidWorks marketing guru Darren Henry for a freewheeling discussion covering the etiquette of vomiting on the job, what it’s like to walk on construction girders in the clouds, and the value of knowing how to identify feces from virtually any animal species.
Eavesdrop on the conversation here:
(Regardless of what color collar you wear, DraftSight, the professional-grade free 2D CAD tool from Dassault Systèmes, makes life easier for engineers, architects, CAD users, teachers and students alike).
From coloring books to CAD, Nevada’s K-12 education system faces some deep budget cuts.
The numbers sound unfathomable, but the state’s elementary, high school and public university system is now facing a potential 48 percent reduction in the education budget.
Of course, a professional-grade free 2D CAD tool like DraftSight can’t solve the world’s problems. But when you are running a trade and industrial education program that is vital for your region’s future jobs, any bit of economic relief is welcomed with open arms.
“Whenever I hear the word ‘free,” I tend to run away, so I was skeptical at first,” says Alex Kyser from the Nevada Department of Education. “But DraftSight surprised me by how well it performs and how easy it is to learn, regardless of the cost. So far the feedback I’m getting from our teachers is great.”
Kyser estimates that DraftSight could save the Nevada schools $10,000 to $20,000 for each of its 35 CAD programs spread throughout the state. Read More
At first glance, comedian Jay Leno’s promotional plug for the American Welding Society seems like a mismatched endorsement. Until you remind yourself that all those antique auto parts piling up in his garage aren’t connected with Elmer’s Glue.
We stumbled across Leno’s kiss to vocational education when we chatted with Bill Malone, the Minnesota machinist who uses DraftSight’s professional-grade, free 2D CAD download to teach troubled teens about career opportunities in the manufacturing sector.
If one CAD drawing is worth 1,000 words, than this celebrity video is worth a million in the classroom:
DraftSight™ is not just a free 2D CAD product that lets professional CAD users, students and educators create, edit and view DWG files –- it’s much more! DraftSight is a professional-grade product that runs on Microsoft® Windows XP®, Windows Vista®, Windows® 7, Mac® and Linux®. It’s easy to use and takes just a few minutes to download at DraftSight.com. Plus it includes fee-based, value-added Premium Services for commercial and education users and a free online community that’s loaded with learning resources.