Machine Design’s Best of the Web

Dec. 10, 2007
Here are the engineering Web sites Machine Design editors found to be interesting, useful, and worth a look.

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Billed as one of the largest and freshest indexes in the world, Gigablast was created to index up to 200 billion pages with the least amount of hardware possible. It serves as a search engine and includes the ability to answer short questions and can send its results via RSS feed.
PIC Design manufactures standard catalog and build-to-print precision mechanical components in inch and metric sizes including gears, racks, and related industrial hardware. Among the features of its newly redesigned site is an online calculator section for parameters such as belt length, bearing life and PV rating, column load strength, critical screw speed, gear strength, shaft deflection, and numerous other factors.
Belt Technologies Inc. is the only stainless-steel belt maker in the U.S. Its newly designed site includes a design guide available for downloading in PDF format.
Festo Corp.’s new site gives users programs online for designing pneumatic drive units. With the help of the software, it’s possible to create a parts list in three steps — via system parameters, part selection, and simulation.
The technical reference section of instrumentation supplier Omega’s site includes tutorial information on numerous areas of temperature, pressure, flow, pH and conductivity, and data acquisition. Also useful is a section that lets users down load technical manuals for all Omega products. Finally, don’t forget to look at the archive of Dilbert cartoons.
Put up by one of the largest publishers of history magazines, this site is particularly good for reviewing older but not-well-known technology in the areas of flight and sea battles. Among the recent topics was one on the Fairey Rotodyne, the autogiro, and the Grumman J2F Duck.
Make Magazine’s site features a weekly DIY project. Past projects include building a rocketpowered potato launcher, programming an arduino, and making a foxhole radio. We like the motto of the blog here: Void your warranty, violate a user agreement, fry a circuit, blow a fuse, poke an eye out... Welcome to the Make Blog!
Timken is of course known for its bearing technology, and its site gives access to a range of reference catalogs, handbooks, and guides, as well as detailed product data for bearings, steel, and components. We’d also suggest checking out the section on motorsports technology.
Bison Gear & Engineering Corp. makes gearmotors. Notable on its site is a section that lets you download a gearmotor sizing guide and a page dubbed Torque Talk that covers topics that include how to balance shock load versus running load, gearmotor heat, motor brush selection, and how to spec a quiet-running motor.
Bimba Manufacturing makes pneumatic cylinders and related equipment. A Web-based sizing and selection module can be especially helpful, and the site also hosts 2D and 3D CAD models of products.
Here you will find classical physics experiments illustrated with animation. Also interesting is a page devoted to the results of a poll which asked physicists to nominate the most beautiful experiment of all time. The 10 winners of this polling are listed and accompanied with short explanations and computer animations.
Well-known CAD supplier PTC has a number of resources on its site devoted to product development topics. Among the most recent is a page containing white papers on trends in electromechanical product development. The demos, tools, and tutorial section is also updated frequently.
The Comsol Group provides software for multiphysics modeling. Its site has a section called the model gallery that shows where real physical phenomena has been animated using the tools in its Multiphysics software. The animated models are selected from a variety of application areas.
This maker of fastening components and assemblies has a site that sports an “Optimal Application Engineering” forms page that automatically helps in designing a fastening idea. It works in conjunction with a rapid search process for applicable products and can also work with an application engineering section of the site.
The igus Inc. site covers the firm’s lines of cable carriers, flexible cable, and plastic bearings. Each product category has a pull-down menu that gives access to, among other things, online tools such as conversion calculators, cross reference calculators, load calculators, system builders, and so forth.
Well-known CAD supplier SolidWorks can be counted on to include numerous tutorial videos on its site, plus a few educational and interesting online games. The games change periodically; at this writing, CosmoSudoku can be found on the home page.
Cognex Corp. is a well-known maker of industrial vision systems and vision sensors. Many of its products have downloadable videos of tutorial classes. The class videos tend to be specific to a given product but also cover a lot of basic information on how to set up a vision system.
Guden makes cabinet hardware that includes hinges, latches, gas springs, and similar components. One feature of its new site is a tabular listing of parts in which you can click on a column heading to get a list of parts sorted by that column property.

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