I start with an idea. I pick something I want to make that will help improve my life in some way. All my DIY projects so far have been things I have needed or wanted. Most of these things would be too expensive to buy or I need custom sizes not available at the stores.
Then I put it on Paper. I draw a quick picture of what I want to make. This is just the sketch of the basic idea.
I do some research, the math, calculations, plans, etc. I now have the measurements and requirements to my plans. I add this to my drawings. I prefer to work on paper because designing on the computer takes hours, when I can draw it in 30 seconds.
I gather materials. Sometimes I need supplies to complete my projects. I draw out the layers on paper and write all the measurements I need. I always buy extra materials for any mistakes or changes as the project progresses.
Then I start the build process (+take pictures and videos for my articles). I start to build the project. Sometimes I make changes midway through and it’s always a benefit to the final results. I of
I finish the project, then take final pictures of finished product. I always love this part because I can finally benefit and use the item!
Next is writing the article and editing the video to upload to YouTube. This way I can forever document my project and share the information with the world!
If I have a related article to my YouTube video, then i will embed the video into the article.
The last and final setup is to promote the new article/video to my social networks, Stumbleupon, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This is how the rest of the world becomes aware of my project.
How to Learn Engineering: It’s a process you learn little by little.
Start by taking things apart and learning how they work. Also Called Reverse Engineering (Check out my Torn Apart articles for ideas). You can also check out YouTube videos, Books, and websites. A good TV Show I would watch is called “How it’s Made” and a good website I would visit is called HowStuffWorks.com.
After you have an idea how things work, you can start to make things. Start small and simple, then learn from that and work your way up to more complicated projects!
Learning how the world works helps, such as:
Fluid Dynamics, Aerodynamics, Thermal dynamics, Electricity and Magnetism, Material Properties, Physics, Measurements and Angles, etc.
(See below for more details on each of these.)
I have used what I know of these Laws and Principles to help with most of my projects. I do not claim to know everything, but each day I learn a little more!
And most important, HAVE FUN WHILE LEARNING!
Some simple concepts I have learned:
Fluid Dynamics: Water always wants to flow down. Water likes to squeeze its way through little pores, and can absorb into porous materials. Water is more difficult to heat or cool then some other materials. Water can be compressed, but not as easily as air.
Aerodynamics: The faster an object moves, the more the airflow will restrict the movement. There are ways to manipulate this by changing the airflow to create different flow patterns and air bubbles.
Air can be pushed, for example by a fan blade. Fans are better at sucking the air then blowing it. I experimented by blowing fog/smoke and the fan sucks even from the blowing side, around the fan to the back.
Thermal dynamics: Heat and cooling is different for each material. Some are easier than others. Sometimes when making something I need to regulate the temperatures properly. Fans, Heat sinks and thermal compound help to cool things, but sometimes I use alternatives, such as pliers when soldering to keep the heat shrink from shrinking before I finish soldering.
Electricity and Magnetism: I learned a lot of technical aspects of electricity in college (before the classes were removed from the school!). Electricity is very dependent on Magnetism. Electricity is basically electromagnetism. The electrons flow in circles around the wire and not through the wire (Picture a spiral spring wrapped around the wire). Lots of electronics use magnets to affect the flow of electricity. A coil of wire can become an electromagnet. Learning about Volts, Ohms, Amps helps tremendously. Power over long distances require larger wires to carry the Amp draw. Do not use high power devices with extension cords (Such as a welder).
Material Properties: Every material has different properties. Different thickness react differently. Using wood as an example, there are so many species of wood and some are hard, some soft, some can bend others will break. Using Metal as an example, Aluminum does not attract magnets like steel does. Electricity flows differently between Steel, Aluminum, Copper, Gold, etc. Learning these properties will help you choose the proper element to build a better product.
Physics: The ways objects interact with the environment, using heat, light, sound, magnetism, Mechanics, and more. Basically all the above concepts and how they interact together.
Measurements and Angles: Learning how to properly measure things. The tools needed to measure and how to properly read the measurements.
Measuring tapes, calipers, dial gauges, protractor, flow meters, pressure gauges, etc. are all good ways to measure things.
These are just a few of the concepts. Keep learning and keep experimenting to learn more how things work and interact together.