Machine Design

Free smartphone apps for engineers

Android app is a scientific calculator
The RealCalc Scientific Calculator for Android phones is a free, fully featured scientific calculator that looks and operates like the real thing. It includes a Result History that lists the answers to the last 10 problems you have calculated. A Convert section performs unit conversions between such things as distance, speed, pressure, and area. The calculator performs trig functions in degrees, radians, or grads. It features scientific, engineering, and fixed-point display modes. Also included is a Physical Constants table. Built-in Help answers questions like, “Why doesn’t the decimal point work?” (Answer: You are in binary, octal, or hexadecimal mode. Press DEC to return to decimal operation.)

Tutorials for 3D design
The Blender 3D Design app for the iPhone introduces users to 3D CAD modeling and animation. The app covers basic mesh modeling, applying textures and materials to 3D objects, lighting, and rendering. You need Blender 2.5X software installed on Windows, Mac, Linux, FreeBSD, Irix, or Solaris to follow this course. Blender is fully functional, open-source 3D software and is available as a free download from The app includes video tutorials on everything from how to use features to split and join windows to how to use tools to scale, rotate, and move objects. More-advanced tutorials cover how to extrude or loft Bezier curves to create new objects and how to use one of the Modifiers to dynamically assign Boolean properties to mesh objects.

Weld design for novice fabricators
The Weld Design app for Android phones lets users calculate whether a weld is strong enough. The app lists welding symbols as well as includes information on stick, tungsten inert gas (TIG), and flux-cored arc (FCAW) welding. Fabricators can calculate metal inert gas (MIG) wire speed by typing-in the plate thicknesses and burn rate.

© 2011 Penton Media, Inc.

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