View Full Version : how stupid are some people!

08-06-2005, 11:20 PM
i forgot to post this,
i was going to write in the subject part "how stupid are some engineers" but this guy was obviously no such thing!, i bought a 6" 3 jaw burnard chuck off a fellow who is a friend of mine, he was selling this chuck on behalf of a friend of his for £40. i fitted the chuck and all seemed ok at first, the chuck was not all that accurate as the run out was around 12 thou, that didnt bother me so much, i finished the turning work and needed to part off the job, a 1" diam piece of aluminium, everything was going great when "BANG"!! the chuck started running round the chuck guard and bouncing off the bed, it wouldnt stop! thank god i had the guard down, i hate parting off at the best of times and ive had my fair wack of accidents at parting off! but for the chuck to come off at 450 rpm was unreal,the chuck back plate was still on the spindle with the 3 securing bolts, i looked at the chuck and found that this guy had filled the threaded holes with some sort of filling paste and re-taped with M8 bolts instead of the original M12 bolts, what an idiot!, or am i the idiot for parting off at such a high speed? its sure slowed me down a little.


08-06-2005, 11:32 PM
........Well how were your to know what had been done to the chuck? Normally I will disassemble & clean used stuff, unless it already looks ready to go. You got handed a landmine there http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

So far as parting off goes it seems to be easy for me, as I normally part off using power crossfeed. One tool I use is a GTN insert (.087") and the other is a Micrograin 100 cemented carbide (.100") parting blade. Both in BXA QC holders. The metal comes off in a long ribbon looking like crepe paper, or in curly 6's and 9's with a steady hissing sound. I use a syringe needle to feed cutting oil at a drip into the slot as it cuts.


Frank Ford
08-06-2005, 11:33 PM
How stupid are "engineers"? Well, I use the quotes because this guy just said he was one.

I swear I'm not making this up > >

About a hundred years ago when I was still a university student, working in the local family owned bicycle shop, a fellow who claimed (God knows why) to be an engineer, came in. He had a chainring in his hand and wanted us to tell him how many teeth it had. On of us said, "Just count them."

He stared at the chainring for a while, and finally asked, "but where do I start?"

Steven G. Trosper
08-07-2005, 12:19 AM
a fellow who claimed (God knows why) to be an engineer, came in. He had a chainring in his hand and wanted us to tell him how many teeth it had. On of us said, "Just count them."

He stared at the chainring for a while, and finally asked, "but where do I start?"

No joke, we got an engineer in charge of the plant I work at. We have had him for about 3 years now. I had over 2 months in the plant before this yahoo was born!

About 2 years ago, we got a new slitter for line 5. We make aerosol cans. After about 6 months the slitter was cutting way off and this engineer could not understand why it was not working. He is a real "by the book" type, if it is not in the book, he is lost.

Another engineer was in the plant from the main office, up near Chicago. Had to tell the yahoo the bearings had worn because of being new, that caused the cutters to shift.

And they put him in charge of the plant! A real winner!

08-07-2005, 10:52 AM
When someone tells me they are an engineer I ask ,tugboat,choo-choo train or maintence(janitor)ME's AND PE's usually frown when I ask that http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

I know several engineers who came up through the ranks who have actual hands on experience Joe Hartson is one of them.I have respect for the're knowledge and abiblity to figure things out.
Then there are 4 year degrees that never got the're hands dirty,they are an unknown quanity to me,meaning you don't really know if they are on the ball until your knee deep in a situtation and it's too late.Often times they needed a title to advance in the're jobs and that's all the effort they put into it.

Mike Gibson
08-07-2005, 11:21 AM
I once had an engineer walk into the control room look at his watch and then the control room clock and ask what time it is.
Some day's later his boss walked into the control room and set a cup of coffee on the desk. Not looking, his engineer backed up to sit on the edge of the desk right where the full cup of coffee was. Yeow!

08-07-2005, 11:34 AM
The engineers that I know don’t lack intellectual capacity so I couldn’t accurately describe them as stupid, (then again we are all capable of moments of stupidity) but certainly they can be ignorant or lacking experience in how things are practically carried out (then again none of us know everything, so are all ignorant). Where stupidity is exhibited is when they fail to draw upon the practical experience of others, which sounds like the main beef of machinists towards engineers? (just stirring the pot, I’m a home shop guy)

08-07-2005, 12:52 PM
I knew a guy who had just graduated with a four year degree in automotive technology. He said he was having problems checking the oil level on his sport car. He had changed the oil and said he had poured in the required amount, but the reading on the dipstick showed it grossly over full. I watched him check it again...and suggested that he shut the engine off and then try checking it again. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

08-07-2005, 01:05 PM
I had one aske me what to use to polish the points on his chainsaw.I told him to just use a dollar bill stuck in between and pulled back and forth.He said okay and then aksed me if a $20 would work http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

Paul Alciatore
08-07-2005, 02:06 PM
Hey, it takes all types. That's not a joke or put-down. It is literally true.

We have to respect the strengths in ourselves and the others we work with and to work around the weaknesses we all have. Yes, a machinist, technician, or mechanic who has been working in an industry for 20 to 40 years will have a LOT of practical knowledge that can not be learned in four, six, or even eight years of college. The smart engineer will realise this and use it. And the smart person with all that experience will find ways to impart that knowledge without offending.

But then, there still is a lot of room for good hearted houmor.

Paul A.

08-07-2005, 02:06 PM
I used to work in an electric motor plant while I was in school. The guys in the shop could give you a long list of why the engineers were stupid. At first I believed them but it faded.

I used to ask them things like, "What is the function of that piece you're working on?"

They'd look at me like I was stupid and say, "Well, hell, it's a rotor pole!"

"I know, but I mean, WHAT DOES IT DO?"

After some of the oldest guys in the shop, the ones with 40 years experience, just mumbled and walked off, I couldn't help think they mighta been the idiots....

Sure, the engineers didn't know which end of the hammer to hold, but you sure heard their phones a-ringing when the shop screwed something up.....

08-07-2005, 03:24 PM
What do you call an extroverted engineer?

He looks at YOUR shoes when he's talking to you!

08-07-2005, 05:30 PM
I used to live near Bremerton Naval Shipyard, and as a pastor had to get along with all the engineers and machinists in the congregation. The guys that knew each other got along well enough, but generally the machinists looked down at the engineers.

Then there was a kaffuffle that showed why engineers just might be useful. A few years before one of the machinists had replaced the drive in one of the big cranes. He passed over the engineers instructions on lining up the shafts. Why take the time? Stupid engineers, - they make a big deal out of everything. See, it works OK!

But the day came when the crane was lifting the propeller shaft out of a destroyer, and (bad news) the drive shaft of the crane broke. The crane had brakes (good news), but they were on the wrong end of the shaft (bad news).

The prop shaft dropped about 30 feet to the concrete and if I remember it was a total loss, but here's the clinker: The same crane had been hoisting spent fuel in a defueling-refueling project just the week before.

Becase the drive shaft bearings had not been properly aligned according to the engineer's specs, the shaft was flexing all the time, and eventually fatigued.

Because the Navy is (quite rightly) paranoid about anything that touches nuclear stuff, they had to positively identify what the cause of the accident was.

Sometimes we need the geeks with the slide-rules.


08-07-2005, 05:49 PM
From the title of this thread, I thought it would be about OT posters. Glad to be wrong.


08-07-2005, 05:56 PM
The jobs i'm usually on are particularly "hands on" operation & maintenance. Most of the larger companies will send out recent graduate eng'rs (from 4-yr university programs) as "Jnr. Project Engineers", or, failing that "Trainees". Some of these guys are great...they're only too willing to tell you right from the get go that they have absolutely no practical experience, they're willing to learn, ask intelligent questions and actually want to do a good job, others.....well....are complete A-holes who "know everything". IMHO you're kind of got to take 'em as they come. I'm sure the bulk of the ones I've met will make great managers, designers, or whatever they decide to put their mind to. The "others" I wouldnt let near a friggin' wheelbarrow!! Just my .02 worth...


08-07-2005, 06:46 PM
elbryant: A good machinist would know that the shaft needs to be perfectly aligned as well as the engineer. So would a millwright.

However aligning it properly is more likely accomplished by a machinist than an engineer.

I hate it when the plant engineer (dumbest engineer alive award recipient) starts any sentance with "WE did ...." He can't do a thing on paper let alone in the field.

Someday I'll meet an engineer that is worth his salt, almost met a half competant one the other day until I found out his ego choked me out of the room.

J Tiers
08-07-2005, 09:18 PM
Some of youse guys dat hates on us engineer types all the time better go talk to Joe Michaels over on teh PM board.

He knows HIS stuff, and he knows YOUR stuff too.

I'd bet that almost any of the engineer types here would be at least acceptable..... After all, they're here....

08-07-2005, 09:41 PM
Perhaps in a parallel universe there is a forum of engineers ranting about machinists. A universe of very well designed things that never get built http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

08-07-2005, 09:48 PM
I'm an Engineer, have been for over 20 years. I'll tell you to your face I'm good, but I don't walk on water. The next words outta my mouth will be: OK, what's wrong and what would you do to make it better?? If you've lived the problem why wouldn't I want to hear your solution? You're gonna know the ropes better than me. Most likely, I wasn't there to observe first hand.

I have met the A Holes and the know nothings from multiple professions. I will also tell you that early in my career, I was an A Hole! They're (we're) in every walk of life.

What I like to look for are the competent people that keep a place running. They can be trusted to tell it like it is. And my simple question helps me filter them out from the others.

My Dad was a Machinist. He told me I wasn't going to do that kind of work, so I became an engineer. Little did he know I'd enjoy the hands on part, because of the satisfaction it provides. After all it ain't "real" when it's on paper. It's real when it's made, installed and operating as intended.

Now on to the funny part. I had an engineer working for me that was developing a motor controller. He wasn't having much success, because "something" kept failing. I went downstairs to help him out and as I was approching the bench, he decided to power the unit up. To my suprise, he would duck his head under the workbench when he applied power to avoid the shrapnel when the thing blew up!

Shortly after that encounter, he was gone. Not because he did something wrong, but because he didn't have the tools to do the job we asked him to do. He couldn't tell me what was wrong or what he would do to solve it.

His replacement had the unit ready for pilot production within 1 week. It seems the parts that kept exlploding weren't rated to operate under the conditions required by the design.

08-07-2005, 09:57 PM
Engineers are often not directly responsible for the design of systems or products. That is the job of the Industrial Designer. The engineers verify the design and make sure it will work but they often have little to do with the actual design. They frequently have to work within the limits imposed by the already determined design.

08-07-2005, 10:01 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by tryp:
A good machinist would know that the shaft needs to be perfectly aligned as well as the engineer.</font>

Trouble is, "perfectly aligned" is quantitatively useless. Within an inch? A mil? An Angstrom? Modern engineering can do some pretty wild stuff, so long as the customer can afford it. But nobody can afford actual perfection. Hence the engineering phrase, "good enough is perfect." The problem then becomes defining "good enough." And that takes numbers. Somebody has to figure those out. Who, I wonder?

So speaking of dumb engineers .... I was doing the documentation for a dynamic vibration damper I'd designed. It used little square pads of horribly expensive vinyl damping material for the k and b forces (spring and damper). I'd calculated the sizes of the pads to tune the damper properly to the machine it was going on - nasty 55 Hz resonance in a major structural casting, really buggered up the performance of a two million dollar machine - and I'd crunched through some simple Gaussian statistics to figure out what the tolerances should be. I ended up with +/- .004" for a dimensional tolerance. Then the dumbnuts draftsman wouldn't put +/- .004 on the drawing. He insisted on +/- .005. So far as I could figure out, he thought that tolerances were something handed down to us from the Egyptian temple priests, and not to be fiddled-with by mere mortals. And +/- .005 was one of those "traditional" tolerances, and +/- .004 wasn't. The idea that somebody with some clue as to what he's doing might actually calculate what the tolerances should be had evidently never occurred to him.

But I'm sure that in the twenty years since those days he's often repeated the story about the dumb engineer who didn't know how to assign proper tolerances.

Nowadays in the CAD era I do my own drawings. The good news is I don't have to deal with dumb draftsmen. The bad news is that those drawings get expensive, fast. At least those old brain-dead draftsmen were cheap.

Today's whippersnappers don't know what they missed. Remember how the smell of fresh blueprints could get you going in the morning?

08-07-2005, 10:03 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Evan:
Engineers are often not directly responsible for the design of systems or products. That is the job of the Industrial Designer.</font>

Much worse is the dreaded B.A.D. - the "boss-aided design."

Last Old Dog
08-07-2005, 11:29 PM

&gt;Remember how the smell of fresh blueprints could get you going in the morning?

You are welcome to visit any morning. In your honour, I will spark up the Ozalid, pour in a gal of ammonia, and we can reminisce whilst running a few hundred sheets of 48x60 blue lines.

08-07-2005, 11:36 PM
My title was controls engineer, instrumentation engineer. Instrument technician, Controls systems technical engineer. I know P&I prints as well as electrical ones.

They I joined the Union, the ibew, they say I am just a electrician and can run conduit with the best of them.

I guess they don't value engineers.
Normal IBEW electrician pay is 1.25 times engineers pay. To feed my family I keep my mouth shut and run the conduit.

It wouldn't bother me if I could tell the whole world to kiss my ass including the IBEW.

My oldest brother is a PE degreed Digital electronics engineer. He is all thumbs, he can talk the talk. He called me once and asked me how many #8s he could get into a one inch pipe. I said after 4 conductors he had to derate them.. he still is confused.


08-07-2005, 11:48 PM
When I was a 25year old Engineer, one of my mentors was a 74 year old Polish Designer that had apprenticed as a Textile Engineer when he was 14. He would make my ears ring when I did something dumb like not relieving threads in a blind hole. I was hot to prove I could master wizard design software, but the success of the hardware seemed to require rote learned things that one either better never do, or ones you had better never omitt, neither obvious to me. Years later I was amazed to see younger politically connected folks, making the same mistakes, but burning big bucks because they didn't need to listen to over-the-hill types like me. It's the viewgraph that counts right. The hardware is just stuff that concerns guys with greasy fingernails.

Rich Carlstedt
08-08-2005, 12:26 AM
So many experiences, So many laughs ! And I are one ! (working IN the shop, not design )
For you trig guys ( and others) a 45 degree angle always has the "run" equal the "rise"
Has to be !
Showed a print to the Engineer (?)where he called out a 45 deg bend that was 1 inch long but went .75 high (?)
Argument ensued, and I said "You draw it!" , and he said "don't confuse me with a draftsman, I AM a Designer"..so he left, and I red lined the print (but not to a 45)

Another time we were building a large 6-8 foot tall heated tank to contain a thick chemical liquid (like molasses). The customer wanted a float to tell the liquid level.The Engineer designed one made with a 3 inch Pipe nipple 6 inches long with iron pipe caps at both ends. When I saw the print, I said to him that the "float" was extremely heavy (6 to 10 pounds) for such small volume, and he said " Thats OK, the fluid is very thick !"

wait, it gets better
He specified a nylon covered 1/4" cable to go from this float over a pulley at the top and down to a float level marker (1/4" 4 x 4 steel)on the outside.
Well the cable would not bend over the pulley, and when I walked back later, my guys were on the floor laughing. he substituted a 3/4" mill chain, and when they let the weight go into the dry tank, the weight of the chain outside kept the float high and dry (no liquid test)inside, so he pushed down on the float (inside) and suddenly the float and some chain were heavier than the chain outside, and the float started to fall,as more heavy chain went inside, the weight accelerated the fall, till the last of the chain and marker flew off the pulley and it ALL landed inside the tank !!

About a week later he had it worked out, only the customer called a month later and wanted to know "Why, when the liquid level was low, the marker (outside)was at the top of the tank (sic) and when full, the marker was at the bottom" ...Our sales people said the engineer was from Australia! they were too embarassed...

Steven G. Trosper
08-08-2005, 01:18 AM
When Continental Can Company owned the plant I work at, we had an engineer come down once in a while named Maynard Moe. He was super bright and also had his feet on the ground. His definition of an expert is; "Ex is an unknown quanitity. And spurt is a drip under pressure."

I always liked that. Unfortunately, we get too many of the spurts in the plant and few Maynard Moes.

08-08-2005, 08:21 PM
In response to sauer38:

I'm not putting down engineers in general, nor is anyone else here, so no reason to get testy.

I should have said that the said shaft should be aligned to spec, if no spec was available it would be aligned to the maximum accuracy the instruments on hand allow, or barring that(for picky precision work like not a crane motor shaft) someone could run some numbers on fatigue forces and find the maximum misalignment, this need not be done by an engineer. I figured saying perfectly aligned was just shorter to type.

Mind you this takes a skilled workman not an engineer. I've personally seen shafts aligned on 150HP pumps where the laser was referenced off the cast flex coupling housings rather than the shaft itself.(Piss poor workmanship) The millwright kept going even after I told him and the manager about the total uselessness of this method, but hey I'm just an operator, who cares that I've got 5 years of university, to them no degree means nothing.

I did say and stand by my statement that I've never met an engineer that has left me thinking "wow he/she is a bright individual" Nor have I gone to school with anyone that has enough common sence to make a decent engineer. Too many people graduate that are awesome at math and physics but don't have to intuition or hands on smarts.

I am 2 years away from my (mech)engineering degree but it's on hiatus as I'm currently working to support my wife while she gets her degree (environmental engineering) in two semesters.

08-08-2005, 08:23 PM
Oh and Rich it sounds like your engineer is related to the one I work with on a daily basis.

08-08-2005, 08:32 PM
"I did say and stand by my statement that I've never met an engineer that has left me thinking "wow he/she is a bright individual" Nor have I gone to school with anyone that has enough common sence to make a decent engineer"

Well please finish your degree quickly.. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif


08-08-2005, 11:02 PM
Doesn't sound like the degree is going to do you much good. Good luck anyway.

08-09-2005, 11:13 AM
Now what might you mean by that?