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Best resources for new hires

Best resources for new hires

(OP)
Hello,

I just started my professional career as a mechanical engineer doing primarily design work for a small aerospace company and was wondering what resources you all have found helpful that you wish you had starting your first job, making you a smarter and more efficient worker. Things such as textbooks, handbooks, websites, charts/graphs, or just general engineering concepts to know better (GD&T, shear/moment diagrams, material properties, etc.)

Any and all suggestions are much appreciated.
Thanks!

RE: Best resources for new hires

2
Ask to spend time on the shop floor if there is one. Listen more than you speak. Just because you can draw something doesn't mean that they can make it. Learn the capabilities and limitations of the people and machines available.

Ask to spend time with other disciplines and learn about the bits where your world and their world overlap - electrical, hydraulic, powerplant, etc. If you have some idea of the problems they face then you should be able to make your design help them rather than obstruct them.

RE: Best resources for new hires

Ditto ScottyUK! Get to know the folks that are going to have to work with your designs. Let them know you are there to learn from them and that you value their advice, no matter their education level. They have an education that you do not - life. There are two advantages to that. One is they have good ideas! The other is that if they know you are on their side they are more likely to make sure your ideas actually work. No matter how good an idea is, if the people that have to work with it don't like it (or you!) it WILL NOT WORK. Guaranteed!

As far as a library, your first major purchase should be a copy of Machinery's Handbook. Thousands of mechanical engineers around the world refer to that book every day. Over time you will notice others that are often referenced in your profession, such as Mark's Handbook. Also, I may be an old fart but there is value to a hard copy paper book or catalog. They are easier (and more interesting) to scan than some website.

Speaking of websites, one other word of advice: ask yourself how engineers got things done before Google was the default source of all wisdom. Call somebody! I see questions every week on these forums where young engineers are asking how to use a particular product. They have been all through a company's website looking for answers, but it never crossed their mind to actually CALL the manufacturer and ask them! They have people there (called Application Engineers) whose only job is to answer your questions and make sure you get the most out of their product. they know a lot more about it than some nameless individuals on a forum.

And while I'm ranting anyway, let me congratulate you for making sure your inquiry was clear, succinct, properly punctuated and capitalized, and used proper grammar. So many of your age group tend to treat business communications like they are texting with their BFF. That approach creates very negative first impressions. Don't fall prey to it.

RE: Best resources for new hires

I would think there are quite a few (inter)national standards that aerospace designs must meet. I would certainly find them and get hard copies. I too like hard copies of books and standards. Not so much catalogs. While I agree it's easier to leaf through hard copies, dog ear pages, write comments and highlight important info, catalogs get out of date really fast. IF the supplier has a good website with good search capabilities I find that more useful than an old paper catalog.

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RE: Best resources for new hires

Search this website, especially these forums:

forum731: How to Improve Myself to Get Ahead in My Work
forum732: Overcoming Obstacles Getting My Work Done

This type of question or 'how to be a star employee' or similar comes up quite often.

If you are going to be doing your own drawings/model based definition etc. then yes learning how to do it properly including but not limited to "GD&T" is a good idea and one many engineers don't take. There's more to 'drafting' than learning where the buttons are on a specific CAD package.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Best resources for new hires

one more tip : when you design, always keep in your mind the maintenance that is the operation of disassembling. Usually it happens in bad conditions, dirty, at 10 meters high in unstable position, and so on ....

RE: Best resources for new hires

I am a relatively new hire to a small aerospace company as well. I do mostly automation design, but here are a few links to resources I like to use.

https://www.automationdirect.com/adc/Home/Home
https://www.mcmaster.com/
http://www.sdp-si.com/
https://www.carrlane.com/en-us/
https://grabcad.com/

http://www.matweb.com/
https://littlemachineshop.com/Reference/TapDrillSi...
https://engineering.purdue.edu/ME463/Course%20Docu...

Hope this is close to what you are looking for.

RE: Best resources for new hires

you haven't said where in the aerospace spectrum you company lives i.e GA, military, rotorcraft etc.

Not all hands on the shop floor provide equal insight into problems ('that also applies to pretty much everyone else as well). Look closely at any of your products that have been in service and try to understand why they look different to brand new ones (waves in the skin, cracked or chipped paint, etc).

Keep a indexed word doc of all the interesting work you do (references, reasons, clever calculations, etc) for future reference.

Talk to the other engineers in your office some will have large personal collections of electronic design data / reference material they may allow you to copy it.

There is a lot of useful FAA publications such as AC43.13-1B
https://www.faa.gov/regulations%5Fpolicies/advisor...

AD's and SIAB provide a good source of what didn't work
https://www.faa.gov/aircraft/safety/alerts/SAIB/
https://www.faa.gov/regulations%5Fpolicies/airwort...

Learn the the certification bases for the work you are doing and understand the how and why of it
https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/faa_regul...

there is also the exemption search engine which gives one an idea of what other ways of reaching compliance are likely
http://aes.faa.gov/AES.asp

When chasing Mil spec's this is the place to start
http://quicksearch.dla.mil/qsSearch.aspx

The aircraft spruce catalogue is good value (it covers tools, hardware and so any other things).

As for text books well there is numerous lists on the web here is a couple
http://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/forums/showthrea...
http://aircraftdesign.com/books.html

If you are working with riveted structure this text book will keep you paranoid about rivets for quite a while.
Riveted Lap Joints in Aircraft Fuselage: Design, Analysis and Properties by Skorupa, Andrzej

"smarter and more efficient worker" that general means going slower at the beginning and spending more time on the concept stage and questioning all the assumptions.

RE: Best resources for new hires

(OP)
Thanks for all the great responses, I appreciate it a lot! Can anyone recommend a book that describes common mechanisms seen in the aerospace field, or just engineering in general?

RE: Best resources for new hires

Machinery's Handbook is a must-have.

Learning your companies products and the manner in which they are designed and manufactured is a chicken-egg situation. You can't learn one then the other and be done. Schedule a tour of your plant factory or best local vendors with the intent of learning which machines create which features of which parts. Before releasing a new design, schedule a discussion with those who will make it so that they can brainstorm and spitball ideas. Sometimes they will find errors, and some ideas will not be useful. But this is how designs go from marginally useful to very good.

Schedule feedback sessions with your shop or vendors to discuss parts you've drafted. Schedule the same feedback sessions with your inspection and assembly teams. They all have important contributions to offer and their needs often conflict. World class engineers are really excellent communicators who can balance these demands.

Some engineers like to make design decisions through calculations above all else. Whenever performing a calculation, KNOW the accuracy of your inputs and the effects on the output. Many hours and poor decisions have been made based on overly complicated calculations that end up being inaccurate. Many industries have limited access to direct testing. Compare real-world results to the calcs and analysis at every single opportunity.

Your college probably blasted through drafting. Tolerances and drafting practices are crucial to success and you need to learn them on-the-job. Good tolerancing is not found in a book, because it's a widely varying subject and a major point of proprietary value.

Drive your designs to use the widest possible tolerances and the simplest inspection and assembly methods. Don't re-invent the wheel until you fully understand the wheel's strengths and weaknesses.

You will find there are people with excellent questions and ideas who don't communicate in the language and style you're used to. Work the hardest to understand their point, and NEVER assume you fully understand what each other is trying to express.

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