Welcome back to Developing Engineers – the blog for engineers, by engineers.

From it’s launch in October 2010, this blog went from strength to strength, with visitor numbers growing by over 160% between 2011 and 2012. However, progress slowed in 2013, so after a prolonged period of reflection and discussion, the blog is being re-launched from today.

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Pop Colours for Huawei Talkband B1

Huawei Talkband

Huawei Talkband

Huawei, the latest “It” technology company from Shenzhen, China is breaking down innovation barriers fast. One of its latest releases is the Talkband B1, a wearable wrist device, which monitors your fitness and incorporates a Bluetooth headset with dual microphone.

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10 Reasons why 3D Printed Guns Aren’t Coming to Town


 1) Bullets.

Congratulations you just printed your first gun, it’s just a shame you can’t get your hands on any bullets. You’ll need a gun licence to legally buy bullets in the UK and many other countries. That or you’ll have to ‘know a guy’ that can get them for you because you certainly can’t print bullets.

2) One hit wonder.

You might have noticed that the current design of the “Liberator” from Defense Distributed features several interchangeable barrels. The barrels are also noticeably stubby and chunky, this is to deal with the massive hoop stress encountered in the barrel as the bullet is fired. After a single shot is fired, the barrel being made of plastic and having just had a hot piece of much harder metal dragged through it is often ruined and cannot be reused. Any rifling present in the barrel would have certainly been flattened by the first shot reducing the accuracy of further shots.

The Liberator and it’s interchangeable barrels.

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The importance of Aircraft Maintenance: do not forget that washer !

Not every car crash makes the news, every Plane crash however does, the most recent being yesterday’s Laos Airline crash. Safety, then is something the Airline industry takes very seriously, with the double-edged motivation of bad publicity and the potential loss of human life. Not every publicity for an Airline will do - that’s the ridiculous concern of Z-list, ex Big Brother contestants – when disaster strikes in the air, the potential casualties is not 5 in number, in the usual case of Land vehicles. Continue reading

The M.O.O.C fuss

Election night crowd, Wellington, 1931On average, 1 in 10 online students complete their studies. They will usually be paying for these courses, costs of which are a slightly discounted versions of their offline counterparts and there’s always been a question mark over the value of these relatively new offerings. What if these courses were free? Imagine The Open University charging £0 for one of their online degrees.

60 words in and still no mention of Massively Open Online Courses , MOOC for the technically/socially savvy. Bear with me; we’ll reach those shores when our time comes.

Moving on…

Learning is a time consuming activity, taxing both the knowledge giver and receiver. Patience and humility is essential and a necessary requirement from both parties.

As to the question of time, 24 more hours cannot be sold nor bought regardless of what Timberlake and ‘In time‘ might unsuccessfully want to portray. Brain processing power cannot be juiced up either; these are mere fantasies of ‘Limitless’ and that other actor.

If I can still remember correctly – though it’s been a while since I called myself a University Student (Despite most mistaking me for one in a University town like Bristol) – each 30 credit University module requires 8 to 9 hours per week [Source: The Open University Website]. 4 modules, roughly 35 hours, I currently work 37 hours per week to put that into perspective. Although I must admit that although these are the recommended times including lectures, most spend less than this yet pass their exams which we all agree is the effective measure of success. Has someone got these study hours figure wrong or are students gaming the system?

So what about these MOOCs then?

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Free Aerospace MSc

Pen en papier / Pen and paper

One of the then famous pre-yeezus Kanye skits poured scorn on the futility of an endless pursuit of qualifications, commentary well fitting for an album called ‘College drop-out’. Despite his now self-proclaimed divinity, he was wrong then, he is wrong now, Higher Education is almost a necessity if you want a career in Engineering – the minimum requirement is an HND.

Higher education is an expensive endeavour though; the first set of £9000 paying students start this month, my set (2008) was the last to pay just over £1000. Past the cost of a first Degree, the level of support available dwindles. Your options are another loan but this time without the Government supported low interest rates; sponsored studentships or employer support; parental support and maybe Personal finance through several means – Savings, Crowdfund, Drug trials, Illegal drug sale (Breaking Bad style or practice on Grand theft auto V).

However, you might not have to sink as low as the last 2 (or 3) options in that last paragraph, if you’re interested in a career in in the Aerospace Industry thanks to the Government supported Aerospace Msc Grants.

The scheme is aimed at people in these 3 categories: Career changers, recent Engineering graduates and early professionals. Continue reading

Having fun (Wasting Time) with ‘Big Data’

Of all the sexy phrases currently in fashion, ‘Big Data‘ is one you cannot afford to ignore. It is one concept that manages to be cool, scary, useful and exciting all at the same time. If the NSA and the issue of privacy scares you, the many advances the tool claims and is able to achieve excites.

The cool part is my recent discovery of Google’s Ngram Viewer. A bit late though as it was released in December 2010 but, I haven’t wasted this much productive time since Angry Birds came out.

It makes use of the controversial 20 million books that Google scanned, to allow the user to trace usage of a particular word or phrase from the the 1800s to 2008.

Below are a few match-ups I’ve tried my hands at. Be warned though, Data can and will be manipulated, made to look like what its presenter wants you to see.

Engineering vs other Professions

Engineering vs other Professions

Boeing vs Airbus

Boeing vs Airbus

Engineers vs Engineers

Engineers vs Engineers

Please do leave a comment on any other interesting match-ups

Travel Smartcard data and the concept of “familiar strangers”

A Bus Stop in Singapore

A Bus Stop in Singapore

People tend to become familiar with the pedestrians they always meet during their daily routines, the dog walker they encounter everyday whilst on their healthy habit of taking early morning walks, or the group of exuberant school-uniform clad teenagers they run into returning home after school while they themselves are returning home from a really busy and tiring day at work.

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Airbus Group fka EADS

The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) has recently announced the decision to adopt the catchier name of one of its subsidiaries, so come January 2014 will like to be referred to as The Airbus Group.

Now, companies change names all the time, some for worse ones others for better. Consignia was the new name for the Post Office that lasted about a year; ‘Aviva’ once was ‘Norwich Union’ and imagine a 2013 comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, about an Internship with a company called BackRub.

There are several reasons being thrown around in the press as to the reason why the Company will want to do a ‘by deed poll’ on us all. Continue reading

A350 XWB/Chomping Chantelle’s first flight

14th  June 2013

At the Airbus Filton site where I currently work, for about 2 hours during another usually casual Friday work atmosphere, work completely stopped for more than an hour.  This wasn’ t because electricity was down as if we were working in Lagos, Nigeria, and Filton employees were standing by for the generator to be powered on.  The reason was that A350 XWB, an aircraft that most would have been involved in its development in smaller or larger ways, was having it very first flight – MSN1’s very own Bar Mitzvah.  Their baby as she is affectionately referred to  by many, was now ready to fly.

Caricature by Maurice

Caricature by Maurice CHRETIEN

10th June 2008 (roughly)

All aboard a chartered coach heading for a field near Heathrow, because the local authority was concerned that an aircraft flying near a motorway could stray out the reach of its on-the-ground controller.  This wasn’t testing for the latest fighter pilot-displacing UAV, but the first flight for a model aircraft built as part of a final year group project. No Champagne, no media coverage (Airbus TV, local, national), no specially ordered cakes or large audience well past double figures. There was, though, just as much anticipation, preparation, a fews eyes watching and futures at stake.


The success of the A350 XWB has meant that the company behind it has captured 678 orders already, 69 at the recent Paris airshow where the aircraft flew by. The timing clearly a strategic move.

Facilitators of the Chomping Chantelle have now gone on to different things – one is writing this blog post, others this and that.

Airbus now has to concentrate on delivering its orders on time, so it’s back to work across the Airbus sites all over Europe and the fantastic ‘capture the flag’ site in Mobil, Alabama (A320 final assembly). When the noise of your success is made in your rival’s backyard, it is sure to make him green with envy, or is that fuel efficiency?