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kottke.org posts about Bill Hammack

The beauty of constraints in engineering

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 26, 2018

The design of the automatic-drip coffee maker is super simple and clever. By using a one-way value to pump the water to the top of the maker to drip through the grounds, you can get away with using only one heating element at the bottom that both heats the water and keeps the brewed coffee hot.

To engineer an object means to make choices; I’ll show you with this coffeemaker. The key choice: to use a single heating element to keep the cost low — 9 bucks in the case of this coffeemaker. Now the heater must be below the carafe to keep the coffee warm yet it also needs to heat the water for brewing. And since the grounds are at the top, that presents a problem. How do you get the water from down here to up here?

Bill Hammack shows how this works in just over 2 minutes:

Hammack’s videos are great. He also did this 11-minute video about how aluminum cans are designed & engineered and it’s not boring even for a second. (via @macgbrown)

Plastic injection molding is fascinating?

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 02, 2015

Yes, yes, it is fascinating. At least when Bill Hammack, aka Engineer Guy, explains how it all works. Don’t miss the bit at the end for how quietly ingenious Lego’s injection molding process is. (via digg)

The ingenious design of the aluminum beverage can

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 14, 2015

The aluminum soda can is a humble testament to the power and scope of human ingenuity. If that sounds like hyperbole, you should watch this video, which features eleven solid minutes of engineering explanation and is not boring for even a second.

More science/engineering programming like this please…I feel like if this would have been on PBS or Discovery, it would have lasted twice as long and communicated half the information. For a chaser, you can watch a detailed making-of from an aluminum can manufacturing company: