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Engineers in the hotrod shops?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Onelow34, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. bfdladder10
    Joined: Apr 7, 2009
    Posts: 31


    Started a new thread titled automotive engineers

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  2. Open up your own shop man!
  3. Zaloryan
    Joined: Oct 13, 2009
    Posts: 25


    I'm on page 6 of this thread and it is growing faster than I can read it. Without creating a separate thread I think my question is relevant enough to go into here.

    I'm currently looking at my second year of college at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas. My major is Mechanical Engineering Techonology with a minor in Automotive Technology. It is ABET accredited, but requires less math than a Mechanical Engineering Degree from a different university. This fall, a new degree will be available which bridges the engineering department and automotive department together called Automotive Mechanical Design (not ABET accredited). Basically, the required classes for AMD have more advanced Auto classes with a few less courses like Statics or Physics II required.

    I am asking for your opinion on which degree would be more suitable for someone such as myself. My career goals are to work for some company where I have input on the design of parts of internal combustion engines. I don't care what brand it is. I am already certified in Solidworks, which is a CAD program. Over next summer I will be pursuing a few internship opportunities with Burgess-Norton or Procharger. I understand that companies want to hire a well-rounded individual that is willing to work with others while having a technical background. Also, it isn't always what you know but who you know.

    I'm open to any and all opinions, feedback will help my decision.
  4. VoodooTwin
    Joined: Jul 13, 2011
    Posts: 3,455

    from Noo Yawk

    I'm a PE (mechanical engineer) and own my own engineering firm. When I receive resumes, the first thing I look for is intern experience within the industry that the applicant is seeking to make a career. So my advice to you is to continue the path you've chosen; grab whatever interning opportunity that you can in your chosen line of work.
  5. fsae0607
    Joined: Apr 3, 2012
    Posts: 871


    I'm a degreed Mechanical Engineer, and I'm Reliability/Test Engineer in Aerospace for a living. I use my knowledge to design test setups and put new parts through hell to make sure they'll survive flight conditions. Believe me, I use much of my fabrication experience in automotive to apply to test setups. I've used to old "cardboard template" trick many times much to the amazement of my co-workers!

    I've noticed that the Engineers that most people talk badly about (like the first few posts in this thread) are the "desk jockeys" that have zero practical shop or hands-on experience. I dread having to deal with customers, the so-called "experts" that try to tell me how to do my job.

    For HAMBers in school for an Engineering degree, best of luck to you and it is an awesome degree to have for our hobby. You will approach hot rodding with a new eye.

    If you want to lose the mindset of not trying something because you think it won't work, work in R&D. You will change! :)
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2013
  6. 48FordFanatic
    Joined: Feb 26, 2011
    Posts: 1,336

    from Maine

    Give me a frigging break. Are you serious! Have you ever flown in a plane ? Used your remote to control your TV , or what about your F--ing computer ? Driven a Ford lately ? You are certainly out of touch with reality with regard to engineers. I've worked for over 30 years as an engineer and have worked with other engineers to among other things develop equipment used to find and rescue miners. I spent many days on a site in PA with other "do nothing engineers " using our equipment to locate and rescue miners who otherwise would have died. Yeah , engineers , they " rarely if ever do anything " . :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:
  7. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 10,514

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    ^^ Man did he ever get his panties tied into a knot :D ^^
    No sense of humor at all. I know engineers have their place, some do good work, others screw up royally.

    I've seen both sides of that one.

    Lighten up and get over yourself. Go read Dilbert for anything you really need to know about engineers, educate yourself :D
  8. mink
    Joined: Oct 4, 2007
    Posts: 1,303

    from CT

    I have a Bsme. It helps pay the bills. Building hotrods is just one of my hobbies. It seems like you want to mix the two.... good luck ... .. .
  9. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,000

    from so-cal

    I love Engineers,

    A company sent over some "engineered drawings" for a bench to be made.I delivered the bench and handed the bill to the owner. His eyes got as big as saucers when he saw the invoice and asked why such a large amount for a table just to put a toolbox on? I showed him the plans that were submited to me and indicated that all the dimentions were out to 4 decimal points.
  10. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 26,861


    That's good Dreracecar.

    It's a three year old thread and I hope the OP did go back to school for some sort of degree.

    From not getting a degree when I had the chance and missing out on a number of things that would have made life a lot better now I'd have to say that it's a hell of a lot better for a guy or gal to go out and get a degree even though they may not use it fully and have that education rather than thinking that they don't need any advanced education and then missing out on opportunities that may come later.

    Having an engineering degree and then going out and working in a shop at something one really wants to do is called an option. Not having the education because you didn't think it was necessary and then years later running into a brick wall because you don't have the needed education isn't very good as my own experiences can attest to.

    I was about 15 when I decided that I wanted to work on cars and then took Auto shop in high school for three years and trade school for two. I got drafted and ended up in Texas after I got out and got married and went to work in an independent garage because I was too dumb to apply to UPS when they were just starting up in Texas and paying three time the wages that I ended up making. After several years of working on cars I ended up teaching for 13 years in the same high school that I had graduated from in 1965 teaching auto mechanics on a Vocational certificate. I took some required classes but didn't pursue a degree even though I had two years at a Jr College in Waco Tx under my belt by that time. When the school district decided to close the autoshop and classes because of funding changes that cut the vocational funds I ended up out of work because I hadn't gone out and got that degree that would have let me go into a regular classroom with 13 years of seniority behind me.
    In the end it took me over 30 years to figure out that all I really wanted to do was build my own hot rods and someday maybe have or work in a hot rod shop and I never really enjoyed doing repairs on other people's cars 8 hours a day even though I was pretty good at it at the time.
  11. mickeyc
    Joined: Jul 8, 2008
    Posts: 1,044


    I have the utmost respect for the effort and perseverance it takes to be
    a proper engineer. As an Ironworker, steel erector, and heavy lift superintendent I have put my life on the line many times on the word
    these guys, and gals also. That being what it may, I have not ever hesitated to question or have them explain the logistics of the task at hand. Of course there have been mistakes made, and the consequences can be dire indeed.
    A few times I have refused to go along with their consensus, but very few. I feel that I have a very good practical feel for Engineering and good
    mechanical skills. However It would be great to actually have a working degree in Engineering. Knowledge is power. The ability to apply said knowledge is even better.
  12. sawzall
    Joined: Jul 15, 2002
    Posts: 4,679


    love this..
  13. 48FordFanatic
    Joined: Feb 26, 2011
    Posts: 1,336

    from Maine

    I can take a joke , but when someone makes such an ignorant uninformed statement about my profession ,well hell yes he's gonna get a rise out of me. I started my engineering career as a technician working on machinery, running machine shop equipment , welding ,etc. I busted my ass working days and going to night school three nights a week for years at Northeastern University in Boston to get my BSME.
    Maybe the guys dad was a do nothing engineer but I'd love to have him follow me and my associates around for a while to see what real engineers do. When something causes our mill to go down in the middle of the night and the shift mechanics can't get things going , its not more mechanics they call in to fix it , its an engineer they call.
    I'm done.
  14. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 3,822


    I'm an engineer, I just want to be in my shop. Many engineers don't know much about the real world, you have an advantage. Sugestions to you would be design engr or manufacturing engr, both will let you use your experience. A mid size company would let you do both, design your parts and test them, if you start out in too large of a company, you could be stuck designing seat belt latches for 5 years
  15. 1959apache
    Joined: Nov 22, 2009
    Posts: 2,627


    I have a B.S. degree in Mech Eng Tech with a minor in Manufacturing. I have worked as a diagnostic engineer for diesel engines, a manufacturing engineer, a quality engineer, production engineer, designer, machinist, etc. Currently I am a design engineer for a company that makes pressurized vessels (tanks) for HVAC using Solidworks (I never used it before in my life) and I now hold the largest account for the company and design directly for them and the plant for production.

    The point I am trying to make is that you can apply your skillset to any job in the industry, you just have to be smart enough to know that you have the knowledge on what is going on, but are not the smartest in the room and/or may not know how to apply the knowledge you have to a particular job. The fact is that every kid that comes out of college thinks they are cream of the crop and the smartest thing ever bred, the reality is they don't know a damn thing. College is just a prep for you to get used to an industry, like dipping a toe in a swimming pool.

    Get the interview, act professional (don't get excited, play it cool, don't interrupt and know what they do at the company) and interview any place you can get a job (including flipping burgers). Employers now look at unemployment for any period as a negative. My Dad always told me it is always easier to find another job when you already have one, and boy was that true. As long as you can apply your experience (regardless if you are flipping burgers) to your degree then you will be okay. ( Such as customer service, understanding how things work, how they are maintenanced and fixed if broken, improvising, etc.)

    I am telling you right now from working in the automotive industry... it is not something you want to get in. You not only do your job, but everyone else's around you, but get paid only for your job (often the lowest on the totem pole). They are very strict on how many days you have off, get upset if you take a day off or have a doctor's appointment, and require ridiculous amounts of overtime, some of which you will never see a penny from your efforts, especially if you are salaried (not always the best thing). You are lucky to be able to take a break, get a lunch or partial lunch, and forget about some of your weekends.... This industry is the WORST I have ever worked in, the best way to describe this industry is that it is full of a bunch of slave drivers.... the whole point why labor unions were made; they would use child labor if they could.

    If you are looking for a job doing something with hot rods, old cars, etc. Automotive Eng. coupled with shop knowledge is the best of both worlds. You probably won't get paid very much at a car restoration place, but money is not everything. Some of the best jobs I have had paid hardly anything, I was just too dumb to realize it at the time due to greed and entitlement.
  16. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 4,918


    Apache, I've done some contract jobs for the OEM's...have to agree with you. Best to get a sense of the working environment of the particular place you're thinking of joining. The HAMB is a place w/opinions, and this thread is an example of anecdotes, that remain in the memory. Competence and In-competence, in any field you'll find examples of it. A practical hands-on engineer needs only the experience, to learn what can be relied upon. Mentors are crucial here, and a willingness to risk, after careful considering of the possible results. :eek:
  17. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 8,045


    We can't do much down here without an engineers signing off due to strict guidelines and rules. My state is a little more progressive and we don't require them as much as other states. In saying that actual car orientated people are thin on the ground and much sought after. Public liability is a big issue and not signing off on something is the feeling you get when you ask a non car engineer for an opinion.
    I know of one engineer in high demand as he is a hot rodder getting on in years however he isn't that reliable when making appointments. A definite asset in any shop IMHO.
    Some engineers are very theoretical and have no concept of actually executing a plan whilst others are a lot more practical and open to opinions on how to best solve an issue.
  18. Awesome!:D
  19. gippetto
    Joined: Jan 20, 2009
    Posts: 15


    Go for the ME degree. You will never regret it (maybe you will when you have to pay for it). Some of the responses you got are pretty indicative of sour grapes and guys who ran into the snot nosed recent grads who hasn't yet differentiated their asses from their elbows.
    I recently retired as a machine design engineer and earned my bones by working closely with the machinists who fabbed my parts and the guys who assembled them. I was turning wrenchs and horsing parts with all involved in the project. Doing this I learneed to respect all the trades and labor that goes into a sucessful project. I also earned their respect and help which they gave freely. Its the machinist and assembly people that can make or break you.
    I worked for a great company that had alot of talented people and they were all happy at what they did. This is key to success.
    So becoming an engineer is only part of the quest. Applying it to automotive, hot rod stuff may be hard to break into. The big three auto makers look at the grads from the big schools and then you might spend your first five years getting up to speed. I don't have a good feel for whats out there designing for the hot rod guys but once you have the sheepskin you will be able to work in any industry that makes something tangible. That's the beauty of engineering, you learn the how and why's and can apply it to anything.
    Maybe you can design a set of alternator and power steering brackets for a 235 chevy six. Just a thought.
  20. Rex Schimmer
    Joined: Nov 17, 2006
    Posts: 743

    Rex Schimmer
    from Fulton, CA

    Just remember once you have your ME degree it does not mean you are an engineer. That doesn't happen until you get some real life experience doing engineering. The best experience you will get is when you screw something up, as the saying goes "When you learn by experience the test comes first and the lesson comes afterward".

    On this site you will never get any respect for being an engineer, to many "engineers" have made it so. I retired 3 years ago from 48 years of engineering, BSME, worked on everything from machine tools bigger than your house to race cars, never had a day without work unless I didn't want to work. Loved every second of it, you'll never get rich but you can sure have a good life and I can look back on many projects that I did with pride and many of them are still in operation. I took 7 years to build my roadster, did all of the fab work, and maching, not a thing on the car that I didn't make or modify and I can tell you my engineering back ground was a big part of it.



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  21. Onelow34
    Joined: Oct 9, 2007
    Posts: 640


    I just want to say thanks to all the supportive guys and all the opinions good or bad. I never really thought this thread would take off as fast or last as long as it has but I did gain a lot of knowledge, good and bad. I did decide to keep pursuing my ME degree so we will see what comes my way in the future. Maybe a design for some 235 brackets thanks again guys

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