We are the first to come and the last to leave…

This time of year always leaves me a little maudlin. Students I’ve known for years are now leaving to start a new life. It is an exciting and scary time for them. They are now adults who will succeed or fail based on their own efforts.

I see the seniors walking around. They stand a little taller. Their weight is on their toes. They seem a little more alert and attentive. The end of their life and a new beginning is coming.

We all look forward to seeing this as an educator and guide. We all talk about their lives to come while we are teaching them in the classrooms and labs. Their eyes glaze over because it really didn’t matter at the time…but now, every word seems to have meaning and value.

Jackson Browne plays in my mind every time.

Fall is coming though. New students are coming to have their lives changed.
Another year is passing and life is going on…

My 2 cents – an Engineer

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DLC Shop – Computer resources

We have some pretty good resources in the college of engineering. Like anything high powered you have to take the time to learn how to drive them.

Many students look at the CAD packages we have available and decide that they don’t have enough time to learn and to be proficient with them. I would argue that college is the perfect time to learn. Pretty trite huh?

You see, we have students come into the shop many times not knowing how to use some of the more useful packages we have here. They then spend hours tying up a machine while they try to learn on the fly… This is frustrating for others who are in need of a specific computer to get their job done.

In Engineering Hall room 216 is a computer lab containing some pretty good computational resources. Look them over and practice your craft.

-My 2 cents. – An Engineer


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The HEIR project

I see many things happening in Marquette’s College of Engineering. This is one of the many projects happening in the college that excite me.

What is interesting about this project is that many of the robot components were manufactured in the DLC Shops. Each part was made, remade, analyzed and remade again with the knowledge that the hard work would produce something meaningful. The students driving this project are succeeding beyond everyone’s expectations. Take a look and imagine what is possible…

If you want to help, this group is currently crowd funding for attending RoBoCup 2014. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/marquette-university-s-humanoid-robots-for-healthier-kids

It is a good cause…

My 2 cents. – An Engineer


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DLC Shop Notes – Do It Yourself

Do It Yourself
From the DLC website:

The Stan Jaskolski Discovery Learning Center Laboratory provides a fully equipped, on-site machine shop for design and production of prototypes, test fixtures or complex objects. It is where students get the job done.

There are two requirements prior to using our gear for your project.
- Shop training certification to operate the machine tools
- Create a print or write up a process sheet for the work you will be doing

The DLC Lab is used by other students, faculty and staff, so it is crucial to allow sufficient time in build timeline to complete your project.

Contact the Operations Engineer for an appointment to discuss the project and tooling needs.

Shop training certification is required for anyone using the DLC Lab Shop. The level of training depends on the equipment needed for the project. Shop training is only done in the Fall semester. Mastering this machine tool equipment takes time and practice. Plan your schedule accordingly.

No “training” assistance or “help” will be given during a DIY project. Training assistance given to one student during a DIY make causes reduced attention to the rest of the shop. The shop machinist job duties require them to be constantly vigilant when multiple students are in the shop. The machinist will decide if they are available to assist.

You will be monitored during a DIY while in the shop.  The process sheet or print will be required for anyone asking questions of the shop machinist. Prior to the start of any job, DLC Lab staff will be glad to assist students in selection of the proper tooling to safely and accurately complete a job. We encourage preplanning a job.

The tool crib may check out hand tools to those that do not have any training. Powered hand tools will be made available at our discretion.

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Android Apps and getting started…

Android Apps and getting started

by Adam Stroud

Have you ever been curious about making your own android application, but intimidated by the prospect of coding? I know how you feel, and after taking the leap, I’d like to report back that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, it was one of the best leaps I’ve ever made.

Like any skill, you need a great project to work on in order to develop and hone that skill. Without a doubt, android app development is an incredible platform to work on for several reasons:

  • Android apps are built with Java, which is universally accepted as the best language to start coding in
  • Google made the android platform, so all of their code is open source and free
  • Since it is free, millions of people tinker with android development. This means that millions of people post what they’ve learned and troubles they’ve run into on websites like stackoverflow.com

Your phone or tablet is more powerful than your laptop was 5-10 years ago. In addition to its raw computing power, it has touch sensing, a microphone, cameras, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, and a compass. Does your laptop have those? These user-interface features make the possibilities endless in terms of developing a unique app that you can get excited about and show your friends and employers. For all you civil and mechanical engineers out there: I’m sure you’ll knock the socks off your interviewer when you tell them you know how develop applications. Wow! That guy can program too?

So what can you do to get started? Hit up YouTube for some beginner tutorials or follow this link for a nice step by step tutorial: http://www.codeproject.com/Articles/102065/Android-A-beginner-s-guide



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Discover the Capabilities of Coreldraw X6 for the Epilog Laser

Discover the Capabilities of Coreldraw X6 for the Epilog Laser

By Mike Bergagna

Many of the Marquette Engineering students have heard or used the Epilog Laser 36EXT. It is the most popular machine in the Discovery Learning Center.  Recently the DLC has upgraded to a new program which is the new Coreldraw X6.  This program is revised from Coreldraw X4 to improve user interface and help users make more elaborate designs.  The Epilog Laser receives input from this program to produce the art that is designed on the computer program.

To keep up with the fast moving technology CorelDraw has introduced Touch Support to be able to design a pattern on a touchscreen computer and implement it on the new computer program.

A few useful layout tools that are new to X6 are being able to add page numbers to the documents, be able to position an object relative to different positions instead of the top left hand corner that X4 only allowed, and being able to preview the finished design before finalizing the content on the document.

With CorelDraw X6 Image Editing has never been easier with the ability to remove areas from a photo that are unwanted in the final design and for greater design effects X6 has created the ability to adjust photos for Vibrance, Grayscale, and Photo Filter effects

For even more information on the new CorelDraw X6 computer program please refer to the website below with all the new interesting features that are being applied along with some useful videos.



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Smartphones Getting Smarter

Smartphones Getting Smarter

by Ed Barry

Since the mid 90’s we have had more computing power in our phones than NASA did in the first Apollo mission. What have we been doing with all of that technology? We launch birds at pigs and send smiley faces to each other. Although things are changing now, companies like Sony, Motorola, and Samsung to name a few have begun creating interchangeable accessories for their smartphones; and no I’m now talking about sparkly covers and stylish key chains. The Nokia Lumia currently has a 41 Megapixel camera built in, but it’s quite bulky.

The new idea is to make a camera lens to increase the phones capability without adding to its size. Other attachment such as microscopes, high powered microphones and HD web cams are in the work or for sale already. This means that you would not have to pay for all these features up front, you can pick and choose from these advanced features. Don’t trust it or don’t want to spend the money?

Watch the video in the link posted below for a DIY on a homemade microscope for under $10 you can make at the Discovery Learning Laboratory, with just a few cheap items and basic training. Microscope Turns Mobile

So what does all this mean? Well I think with the rate our phones are advancing, it is making the PC industry a little nervous. The question becomes now is where does it end? Let us compare; the human brain needs energy to fire electrical impulses as does a smartphone, although there are limits on the energy consumption on the smartphone we have a pretty strict limit on the energy we can consume and actually use.

Researchers at Cambridge have been working to determine how the internet and smartphones affect our memory, and so far it seems that we do not retain as much information when we search it on a computer or we have a large dependency on the computer for our answers. This is a problem but it is also a solution. As it seems we are at capacity with the amount of information we can store and use in our brains, maybe augmenting some of that information to the computer isn’t a bad thing. On the other hand as generations proceed how dependent will we become on the computer?

This dependency can be a good thing if you ask almost any user of Chegg or Wolfram Alpha though I think John Connors would disagree. If you don’t know who that is, I guess you will have to rely on a computer for the answer. All things considered, whether it is good or bad I think only time will tell.


Dickinson, Boonsri. “Scientists Figured out Why We Can’t Get Smarter.” SmartPlanet. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2013.

GRIFFITHS, SARAH. “The DIY Smartphone MICROSCOPE: Turn Your Mobile into a Piece of Expert Kit Using a Block of Wood and a Laser Pointer.” Mail Online. GlamEntertainment, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.

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