Monday, November 12, 2007

Crushing Blows

Rarely in our lives do our eyes rest on something so awe-inspiring that our jaws lie agape. Even more infrequently must we raise our hands to protect our wide-open mouths from rock shrapnel. This past Friday, I had such a moment.

Now, because I signed an NDA, I can't get into specifics. Suffice it to say, I visited a company that produces equipment used in the mining industry. Common sense would dictate that such a company would have test equipment designed to analyze the mechanics of their products. For an entire minute, I could have cared less about numbers indicating forces and displacements: there was a machine merely feet away showering rock everywhere. It was a demonstration that would humble any engineer who is used to using screws as small as those found on eyeglasses and is normally specifying intricate rounded corners on exotic metals. This was steel crushing rock. This was awesome.

Just after the demonstration ended, the little man in my head turned off the giant Inject Adrenaline valve, giving me a few more minutes of gradually-subsiding head rush before I returned to planet Earth. It was at this point that I realized a very important and hard truth. The machine I designed and helped to build needs to do exactly that. The valve re-opened.

It's going to be an interesting couple of months as this project comes to a head. Once my company releases the design to the public (and we get our patent stuff in line), I'll show off some pictures here. You won't be let down.

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