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Old 12-31-2016, 12:40 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 13,430
Originally Posted by Major Matt Mason View Post
Back when I was working at Drexel U. in Philly, I had a carburetor on my desk. A Penn professor walked in to see my boss. "Hi, Mitch! What's that?"

"Hi, Alan. Mercedes carburetor. I just overhauled it!"

"Oh, nifty! Never could do that, myself."

With that, Dr. Alan MacDiarmid, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, gave me a cheerful wave and went in to see my boss.

My dad, besides being brilliant in his field, also used to maintain his own British motorcycle in university. He would rebuild throwaway parts like a mechanical voltage regulator. He an incredibly practical. I once watched him make a new blade for his coffee grinder from an old piece of metal bedspring slat, including sharpening and tempering. He was in demand as both a theorist and designed of experiments and went all over the world. He once made a timer device with pulley out of a cheap meccano set gears and clock drive when the equivalent from a scientific supply house was close to a thousand dollars. (He was a serious cheapskate too) Yet others in his department were not so good - one prof almost cut his thumb completely off using the bandsaw...

Partly talent, partly deep interest, partly practice. I rebuilt a carburetor once - for a VW Beetle - by following a book. It worked. (Did you know if you reverse the spark plug cables on a Beetle, it will actually run OK until you approach 25mph? )