Mech is Coming

The night is dark and full of terrors. 

Wind howled in the night sky, trees battered against moonlit windows. Used mugs clustered on the counter, their contents consumed. The perpetrators lurk around a table nearby, amidst a pile of books and screens. Their caffeine-infused throats chanted elusive words, passed down from ancient times. 

“Why isn’t this working?” One asked in frustration. 

“We might need an idler as the third sprocket, otherwise it can’t solve the chains.” The other one answers, also in frustration. The night grew darker as they speak.

How did we get here? 

Once, there’s a young student named Jerry. Jerry is your typical nerd: science courses back in high-school (no biology tho, Jerry’s scared of it), Dungeons & Dragons over the breaks, and occasionally picking obscure arguments with people over obscure fandoms. He then went through his first year engineering relatively smoothly, without too much trouble. Jerry was happy. 

And then, Jerry started his the first semester of second year. 

Firstly, there was ENGSCI 211, aka MM2. It was mostly a continuation of MM1, with an emphasis on differential equations. There was also a brush with some data analysis, but that was mostly done with computers (no manual calculations involved!). Jerry found some assignments a bit time consuming. But being a course everyone does, Jerry doesn’t have much opinions on it. 

Then, there was MECHENG 201. This course served as an introduction to mechatronics, mostly focusing on basic VEX robot coding to guide it through a set of objectives. Being the first year a sonar sensor was incorporated into the robot, some people (Jerry included 😥) found it unpredictably fickly. Hopefully by next year, old timers like Jerry would have a lot of experiences to pass on!

There was also MECHENG 242, the mechanics of materials. This course felt like a continuation of the ENGGEN 121’s statics part. However, it also incorporated a lot theories behind bending, shearing, and other sorts of deformations. The lecturer named Jonathan also occasionally brought in demonstrations. (Tip: come to the lectures! You might not see the demos well in the recordings.) Along with the labs sprinkled through the semester, Jerry really got to see the theories in action. 

Lastly, MECHENG 235, design & manufacture. Here, it was 115 on steroids. Two design projects for one semester, with loads of theories on design processes, alongside explanations of different components. This course taught many mechanical components in detail, such as gears drives, chains, shafts, and a lot more! As well as, of course, ways to incorporate these components into your designs. An important side note, 235 allowed you to choose project partners 🥳! Make sure to get to know people in this class if you don’t want to be randomly assigned a group. 

So, as the first semester came near an end, Jerry found himself working on the big final 235 project. Armed with the knowledge found in both 235 and 242, Jerry’s group was completing the final touches. The screen-glow illuminate their faces, tired but satisfied. They knew that when they wake up and press “submit”, they could begin eagerly await for semester two. (There was still the exams of course, but at least give them a break?)

The night began growing purple. 

Dropping the ominous overtone here, hey everyone, I’m Jerry, and I’ll be covering the mech blog for the rest of the semester. Hopefully you enjoyed this (slightly unusual) overview of mech semester one. Later, I’ll talk about exactly what is mech, how semester two is like, and other stuff as time comes. See y’all in two weeks. 

The seven holy steps protects,