Kia Ora!

Hi! I’m Chinmaya (pronounced like “my-chin” but the syllables the other way around). I’m a second-year Mechanical Engineering student here at UoA! I’ve always been super interested in maths and science, so it was a no-brainer to come up to Auckland to study engineering.

In my spare time, I play competitive squash, take part in some performing arts, and explore Auckland’s bars and foods.

Now, you’re probably wondering what mechanical actually means, and:
a) How it’s different from mechatronics?
b) What do I do as I learn it?

Well, ‘mechanical’ means things that involve mechanisms, or automated parts. We study how things
move, why they fail, and how we can efficiently make things! Sounds pretty nifty right? As second-years, we can tell you how your car works, why we use bike chains rather than bike belts, and we can talk all day about all the calculations and design that can go into shafts (we spent ten days designing a metal pole – no joke).

So how’s it different from mechatronics? We learn the same things actually. We learn about
programming robots and all the electronic components involved in circuits. But mechatronics has
more to do with understanding electric components, and I didn’t enjoy the electronics paper in Part 1. Mechanical doesn’t deal with the actual electric bits (phew!) If you found the dynamics part of mechanics super interesting, the design projects and group-work from 115 bearable, and loved the materials and coding papers, then Mech should definitely be an option for you!

Now, what do I do in a day? I go to my lectures like a good student. But go to sleep in most of them
(see image). Anyway, I learn about transmission systems like gears, belts, pulleys, bearings, and
keys. I learn about material failure, shear, torsion, and torque loading. I learn about robotics and
how we can control robots. We are actually building our own robot to compete in the
prestigious Warman Competition! In my spare-time, I study. A lot. There’s a lot of course content to digest, group projects to organise and sort out, and tests and assignments swirling around you in second year.

It’s a well-known feeling to be swarmed by the ‘Part 2 Blues’ (basically, second years have an adjustment period to get used to the increased workload and complexity). Yeah, second year is hard. It’s hard to get used to. But once you do, you realise the real-world significance of what you’re learning. And each subject seems to join together with the others. The failure modes learnt in our mechanics paper directly applies to the design projects in our design paper. The electronic components learnt about in our robotics paper are useful for building our robot. Overall, the workload and complexity of second year took a few weeks to get used to, but then I managed to hit the ground running. Looking back over 12 weeks, there has been a lot of foundational learning and knowledge that has been imbibed in the mech kids. It’s an integral part of the things we’ll learn about next semester and our degree. Honestly, I can’t wait to keep learning and keep designing. It’s a hard subject, but it’s good, honest, fun work.

That is probably enough for now – but I’ll be back after the break to tell you what I’m up to next semester!

Hope you have an excellent break!

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