Overall thoughts on making things.

Today I don’t have an interesting picture to share.  I just want to put down a few thoughts on making things.  Back when I was in junior high school I took every shop class they had and one of the things that stuck with me amongst the seemingly endless lists of transparencies we had to copy was the concept of the 6 simple machines.  I looked it up more recently and found that this idea had been around since the renissance, so up to mabey 600 years ago.  I think much of this info went in one ear and out the other but some of it stuck.  The basic idea is this you can take a machine and describe it in terms of 6 simple machines.  The lever, wheel and axle, pully, inclined plane, wedge and the screw.  Now there is math that can go with these things to figure out the particulars of what length of a lever will be required for a 200 lb. man to lift a 3000 lb. car, but leaving that aside for a moment if you are in a situation where you need to lift a car right now with no jack or anything but some boards you just need to know how to stack up wood so it won’t fall and it won’t lift, adjust your lever or get a bigger one.  There seems to be two paths and both must be traversed at times. The analytical side where you have measurements and statistics and the creative where you adjust as you go and improvise, dream up a solution that can then be checked with the math.  I have not seen another subject that has been simplified enough to make it as easy to think with as this one.  It probably has been done I just don’t know it off hand.  It seems that usually people complicate things too much and make things that don’t work.  Most of the time simplicity is difficult to achive. 

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