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Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

(OP)
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=13...

When I was in high school, I was a big fan of Heathkits, building a couple SW radios, a tube-tester, VTVM and after college, our first Color-TV set (I've still got the tube-tester and VTVM, both in good working condition). In fact, I started engineering school as a EE, but later switched to ME. Perhaps it was the influence of many of the other items on the above list as I covered most everything, with the exception of model rockets, since we lived in a heavily forested area in Northern Michigan where anything that could be 'shot' into the air was likely to land where there was lots of 'firewood' winky smile

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Engineering Software
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

Burstein-Applebee and Greiger's were my Christmas catalogs when I was a kid. Nowadays I can't find the time for either building electronic stuff from scratch or lapidary work. I do remember drooling over the Heathkit offerings, as well, but a little too rich for a 13 year-old's paper-route salary. Good memories.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

I had a chemistry book as a kid. All the experiments done using things from the kitchen, never really occurred to me that I'd find all the best stuff in the garden shed.

My introduction to "mechatronics" was making electric bells with Meccano and then running them off the 18V transformer that came with my Scalextric set.

- Steve

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

Most of my EE projects were actually done in junior high:
> Siren -- drove my mom nuts
> Plastic Tiger audio amp -- but didn't work, and we didn't have enough tools in the class to debug it, nor the skill set
> Blinky Owl

College:
> A different audio amp -- damping resistor burst into flames; pretty exciting for a frosh
> Color organ -- you can pretty much guess my age with that. Exploding 741 due to grounding the scope on a hot chassis

TTFN
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RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

I grew up in the 80's and played with most of these as a kid. Many fond memories!

PE, SE
Eastern United States

"If a builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its owner, then that builder shall be put to death!"
~Code of Hammurabi

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

6 out of the 10 for me.

Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, Erector Set, Balsa Planes, Lionel Trains (American Flyer too), and the Slot cars.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

In the UK in the late 80's and early 90's Maplin Electroncis were the kings of the electronics kit market. Many happy hours spent building amplifiers, then started to branch out into my own designs and realised how difficult good analogue design really is. I learned a lot from a guy called Douglas Self's work on amp design. I don't feel he ever got the wider recognition he deserved. http://www.douglas-self.com/

I had - and probably still have - an old Heathkit 50V power supply. It had multiple ranges with transformer taps and about 5V of variation within each step. Good bit of design from when semiconductors were expensive and wound components were cheap. Today's switchmode stuff beats it hands down in every respect but I would likely use it if I knew its whereabouts; I have a sentimental attachment to some of the old gear I used when I was a kid. Many times I reach for the 20MHz Hameg scope my parents bought me for my 18th birthday or the little ICL8038-based function generator I built at college rather than the massively more capable 400MHz Tektronix scope and the 200MHz synthesised generator I've acquired in later years. Holding on to memories of happier times I guess. neutral

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

I built a steam engine from castings when I should have been revising for my A levels, which is still around somewhere. Earlier than the lathe, meccano was usually scattered over the bedroom floor.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

One thing missing from the list was the small white hollow plastic block building set that looked like CMU units..

I Forget the name. Sent many hours with that...

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

lego?

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

Radio Shack 25-in-1, 75-in-1, 150-in-1 electronics kits were interesting until I applied house current for power instead of the 3 V batteries in order to 'increase perfromance'. that is why I am not an electrical engineer. they also had a cool binary computer kit. I remember Black and Decker had mini battery operated circular saws and drills for balsa wood projects.

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

No. These were larger units than Legos, and prior to them.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

Rubber band powered airplane, erector set, my brother's chemistry set, and the HO scale race car set. The best part of the HO race cars, is after hours of playing with them, we got to rebuild them with new springs, brushes, tires, are swap parts.

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

Quote:

One thing missing from the list was the small white hollow plastic block building set that looked like CMU units..

I Forget the name. Sent many hours with that...
I remember these. Maybe 1/2"H x 3/8"W x 3/4L", a bit taller than wide? Instead of the Lego design with 8 raised circles on each, these had 2, and the underside was completely open.

I haven't seen those things in probably a half century (or close to it)...

rp

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

You got it...

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

There were "American Bricks", but these were red, about the size and proportion of an average domino, if memory serves.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

perhaps: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiddicraft or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minibrix

or Lego makes Lego Duplo, which is 2x the footprint of regular Legos, but can be used together. There was a Lego brick that's roughly double the footprint of Duplo, which can be used by pre-toddlers, supposedly called Quatro, but I don't recall that as the name, or perhaps, I'm thinking of a knockoff.

TTFN
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RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

The brick set I remember came in a 6" to 8" diameter cardboard tube, maybe 18 to 20" tall with a metal screw-on lid and a metal bottom. It had full and half-bricks, window lintel sections, and longer base lengths to use as strip footing sections. Also had plastic windows and doors of various sizes.

It was a real good learning tool for me at the time.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

I don't remember the tube, but I had 3 older brothers, so almost all of my toys were hand-me-downs. We keep these in a non-descript cardboard box.

The windows and doors must have not been as durable as the blocks, as I didn't get to play with those. There were the footing strips, maybe 6 or 8 circles long, and the singles. I used to think these were for making Greek and Roman buildings, you know, the ones without a roof, doors, or windows? Just openings for the doors and windows and open roofs (also know as ruins).

Ahh, memories.

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

I also had that block set... mentioning the lintel sections, door and windows confirmed my vague memories of it. I do remember playing with it with my matchbox cars.

“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”
-Dalai Lama XIV

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

I am surprised no one mentioned Knight and EICO kits. AND the biggest most versatile toy; picking up a used car for $50 +/- (in the 50's). You could play with distributors, carburators, voltage regulators, transmissions, brakes, -----no end of stuff; and then see if you could make it run again.

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

This brings back memories.

7 out of 10 for me (sort of). Aurora slot cars, HO trains not Lionel, Gilbert chemistry set, erector set, balsa wood planes ( I forgot the brand name. When I was about 9 my father & I built a bi-plane with a 3-foot wingspan. A few years later I built a Spitfire. After a while my brother & I set it on fire and flew it out our bedroom window), Lincoln Logs, and last but not least the Girder & Panel. I had several - the basic small building, a larger building set that had a working conveyor belt and elevator, bridge & turnpike, the residential set, hydrodynamic, and skyrail.

I also had the red bricks and the white "cmu" blocks in the cardboard tube. Mike- did your cmu bricks come with green and red doors & windows.

My HO trains really annoyed my father. I hardly ran them. He could never understand that I enjoyed rebuilding my layout every few days far more than running the trains.

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

BB:

Yes.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

One I have not heard mentioned, in the 1950s I had a " House building set" it had a base with perforations that took metal rods about 1mm in diameter. It then had a series of different sized and colored bricks that had matching holes so you could slide them down over the rods.
There were also window sills and door frames, and roof members.
You plugged the metal rods into the base then slid bricks down the rods to make your house added the roof formers and Voila a house.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

This is about as complex as I ever got by following the instructions (I can assure you that there was no fancy cabinet for my very secondhand bitsa collection of meccano)

http://www.dalefield.com/nzfmm/welg01/Images/Mecca...

after that we built robots to fight each other with levers and winches and grabs, but we had to be very patient as all the winding of string onto drums etc was slow. We sometimes used rubber bands to trigger motions.

Of course being the eldest I generally built both machines and decided which I was going to drive, but my next brother was used to that, probably relieved that I wasn't building some sort of torture device.

Here's the steam engine I built from a kit of castings

http://www.stuartmodels.com/images/stuartno1.jpg

It never ran on steam, it does run on compressed air, about 25 psi due to some alignment issues in the main bearings.


Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

GregLocock (Automotive)
That lathe brings back some serious memories.
We had an ML 7 and a ML6 in our school metal shop, I think I was 12 years old when I was first allowed to touch either one of them.
My first project on it was to make a sprocket extractor, this involved cutting a 6" long by 3/8" diameter screw thread using single point tooling. The teacher made us calculate the gearing then select the gear train for the thread form. We then put the anchor bar onto a 4 jaw chuck, centered the hole in it with the tailstock then tapped that hole using the tailstock to hold the tap square.
An exercise that came in handy many years later when I had to use a lathe in real life.
This teacher was the man who persuaded to go into metalworking rather than electronics.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

Weren't those engines made for Meccano by Mammod. It looks very much like the Mammod SP1.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

Girder and Panel Set, Model Rockets, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, Gilbert Chemistry Set, Erector Set (including my Dad's set), All matter of Balsa Wood Planes (my Dad was heavy into this also), I had the Gilbert American Flyer trains (didn't see the Lionel third rail as realistic), and Slot Cars. I had a pretty awesome childhood and now understand why at age 60 I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up!

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

I never had a House building set but played with one at times. Even as a fairly small boy they struck me as dangerous with all those rods to stab yourself on. My favourites were Mecanno, Airfix models, Lego and an O gauge clockwork train set plus Scaletrix cars. I also had a construction toy with which you could build bridges and which consisted on red plastic I beams and columns that dovetailed into each other. It also had panels to make the road surface.
The best toy of the lot was the farm we lived on - tractors, stationary engines, farm machinery and the livestock - never thought any of that was dangerous though!

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

Blacksmith--your comment about Lionel's third rail cracked me up. I felt the same way and that is why I had American Flyer S gauge trains. Transitioned to HO when I got a little older.

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

I have four sons, so all the toys that were out of reach when I was a kid are now in reach, and I have the perfect excuse to buy them...my first RC car was purchased "for" my 1-yr. old son...

But yes, the ones they always go back to are the Legos, Erector set, etc. Figuring out and building your own idea is always more interesting, no matter what the age.

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

Ornery... Greigers... there's a name I haven't heard of in 50 years... used to get all sorts of semi-precious gems... they were quite inexpensive and had a grinder and tumbler set up in the basement... Bought the odd Heath kit and they were well thought out and quite well made...

Was a time when people used to throw out old TV's, picture tube gone... I showed the neighbourhood kids how to tear the high voltage circut out of them... a relatively safe source of 15,000 to 20,000 volts... just what kids need... I still remember the first time I got bit by the anode...

Dik

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

Dik, it seems to me that I was still receiving their catalog into the mid or late 70's. My father was the one that got me into lapidary, had a grinding and polishing setup in our basement, too! My first project was an enormous jasp-agate cabochon. I found the rough in a gravel pit. At the high point of my hobby, I also had a sphere grinder and 2 18 inch diamond saws, but now I'm down to a geologist's pick. Sad how relocations over the years can thin out the equipment. When traveling, I still cannot drive past a rock shop without stopping, much to the annoyance of my wife.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

Forgot about my steam engine. And here I am working at a shipyard ... hmm

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

Used to buy electronic componenst from Lafyette Electronics and build things with them.
I had a lot of the Kenner Girder and Panel sets. Buildings, highway intercahnge and even a chemical plant one.
Didn't do rockets, but my kids did for a while. Had friends who built one and sent a mouse up in it.
Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs and Erector sets were in use for many years. My kids got some of them.
Chemistry sets were fun. I had a hugs supply of chemicals and used to mix and play to see what they would do.
Balsa airplanes were bought by the dozen for $0.10 each.
American flyer trains were on a table, made from 3 sheets of 4'x8' plywood in a 'U' shape with a raised conductor control panel with switch controls and dual power supplies. It was in the attic, until lightning hit the house and burned that part of the attic. little damage to the train set, but didn't play with them much after that. The fire was the day that Johnny Miller won the US Open at Baltusrol. We were going to a meeting to hear him speak, but the win meant that he had to change his plans. We were on the way back after finding it was cancelled and the car broke down and my dad tried to call mom and could not get through since the fire dept had disconnected the phones.
Slot cars were hand built and run down at the lcal track with races and all. Fun customizing the cars and making them go faster.
I had those red bricks before my brother started gettintg into Lego. I have a partially assemblied 1/2 scale Lego Ferrari F1 car that my kids got me for Christmas a few years ago.

"Wildfires are dangerous, hard to control, and economically catastrophic."

Ben Loosli

RE: Were you influenced by any of these as a kid...

I went to the Maker Faire in San Mateo the week before last, and found a guy selling Meccano sets.
He said " In 2000 Meccano bought the Erector brand, which had been sold in the United States since 1913, and unified its presence on all continents. Even today, Meccano is sold under the Erector brand in the United States. "
They had the big tower crane and a locomotive built of meccano .
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

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