Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Now for Something Completely Different

I've always wanted to use that line. Love it.


I used to work at Texas Instruments. I was a "Tech". I was just out of high school, and had no engineering degree. I had good mechanical skills and common sense, which in fact put me above many engineers that had degrees, but I digress. I was a worker. I turned the screws. I was the one who actually built stuff (or fixed stuff) rather than draw impossible to build machines on paper.

I was one of several "techs" in the section I worked in. We were attached to a machine shop, and did the full build thing; design it, machine it, adapt it, make it work. We had tons of screws/bolts/nuts/ everything you could think of. We also had a shop full of electrical/electronic parts and cables/wires etc. We did it all.

One day, an engineer was standing at the screw cabinet, a 6 foot tall, 3 foot wide set of drawers with all kinds of screws and fasteners in it. He held a screw in his hand and turned to me and asked:
"Mr. Fixit, what does 10-32 on these screws mean?" An honest question, not everyone knows. so I told him "Mark, 10 is the size of the screw stud, and it has 32 threads per inch."
He turned to another tech in the room who had been there the whole time and asked "Darin, what does 10-32 on these screws mean?"
Darin looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said "Well mark, it's a number 10 stud and has 32 threads per inch."

"Uh Huh."

He then turned to the machinist, who had also been there for the entire exchange. He asked "Don, what does 10-32 on these screws mean?"

Don said "Damn it Mark! they done told you, 10 is the stud size, and it has 32 threads per inch!"

And Mark kept staring at the screw in his hand and said (I swear he said this, and that he had an engineering degree)

"But what if it's not an inch long?"

We all left the room laughing.

Mr Fixit

1 comment:

Larry said...

That reminds me of an engineer I worked with at NAS Pax River. He wanted to wire an armament switch so that the missile seeker heads were active in training mode. His solution was to jumper the "training" switch position to the "arm" switch position, and couldn't understand it when I told him that would energize the rocket motors as well.