E4 Hammered: Part 1

Thursday, November 29, 2012 by Travis

Howdy y’all,

It’s that wonderful time of year once again. A time of year where many a Mudd student can be seen carrying around off-gray toolboxes. A time of year where calipers are picked up more often than calculators. Yes, it is crunch time for those building an E4 hammer.

What is an E4 hammer, you might ask? The E4 hammer is the defining individual project undergone by every student who takes ENGR004 (E4), Introduction to Design and Manufacturing, a popular, entry-level engineering class. It consists of 4 main parts: the head, the hard face, the soft face, and the handle.

Here is the E4 Hammer, incomplete and disassembled. The soft face is sitting next to the already connected head and hard face, while the roughly complete handle lies underneath both. Almost done!

Here is a video of some students heat-treating the hard faces of their hammers. This is done to make the hard faces sturdy enough to withstand the constant pressures and stresses their position entails, much like Mudders with their work! (Please excuse the minor usage of foul language)

Each of the pieces themselves takes hours to make, with the aggregate work times ranging greatly depending on a number of things from proficiency with certain machines to clumsy mistakes that lead to redoes. On average, it is advertised that the hammer takes around 25 hours to complete. Naturally, this is an alarming number that leads to a multitude of emotions, including stress. On top of this, Mudders are engaged in a number of other assignments in E4 as well as their other classes. However, this is not to say that the hammer makes Mudders who are in E4 more stressed than those who are not in the class. Each and every Mudder faces tasks and stresses that often seem daunting and even impossibly at times.

Despite this fact, there are two reasons that Mudders continue to carry on and do so with determination seeping from our grimacing smiles.

The first is, well, we are absolutely crazy.

The second is that we are all masters at dealing with stress and challenges, and that we are like this because of the nature of Mudd and its difficulties. In this blog, I’d like to talk about some of the best ways Mudders deal with stress.

Music is a huge way that many Mudders relieve stress. Platt Campus Center, the student center on campus, allows for twenty-four hour access to music practice rooms in which Mudders can play a number of instruments and sing to their hearts’ content without disturbing others (or without others disturbing them!). Furthermore, most dorms have their own dorm speakers that are constantly playing music for the entire dorm to enjoy. My dorm, Linde, even has a Spotify account that allows dorm members to share playlists to that then can be played for everyone’s enjoyment. Personally, I can often be seen with both headphones of my iPod ran underneath my jacket, stuck in my ears as I try to get in the zone and focus on the task ahead.

My happy place.

Another way that many Mudders deal with stress is gaming. Countless Mudders gather in specified suites, rooms, and even computer labs to test their mettle, and their button-mashing skills, against fellow Mudders. Popular games range from strategic, long-winded games such as Starcraft to shoot-’em-up, best-selling titles such as Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Surprisingly, many Mudders favor older games, such as ones they grew up playing as a kid. The games of choice last year in my suite were Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64. Many a friendly game turned into a heated battle over these games, but hey, we take our gaming as serious as we take our school work (just kidding…I hope).

This screen means a lot of fun, and sometimes a lot of frustration, for many Mudders.

As a tour guide, I always see that people are astounded to see the sheer variety and multitude of wheeled transport devices that Mudders employ to go to and fro. Mudders LOVE everything and anything on wheels. From skateboards to Freelines, Mudders love achieving land speed greater than their feet could ever carry them, and our campus as well as the campuses of the other Claremont Colleges lend themselves to helping achieve this goal, as we have plenty of large hills around. I personally own two longboards, a pair of Freelines, a Wave Board, roller skates, and a beach cruiser bike. I am also looking into getting a trike that can perform drifts and 360′s (ok, it’s for an engineering design project, but I’ll definitely be having some fun with it).

A friend of mine had surgery last year and had to use this motorized wheelchair around campus for awhile. We wasted no time in using it’s power to our advantages!
This is my latest edition to my quiver of wheeled transportation devices. I got this board through a deal from our skate club, the HMC Skate Society!

All in all, Mudders are great at dealing with stress creatively, safely, and in fun ways. It allows us to keep our level of focus high for each and every assignment and project we tackle, and is integral to our success as students as we learn to cope with struggles not only as individuals, but as a community. For now, I will leave you all with this blog’s featured Mudder, David Spierings, as well as Brian Cheney’s Pun of the Week!

Mudders at a Glance: David Spierings

David is a junior physics major from Newton, Massachusetts who enjoys playing basketball and brainstorming ideas to save the World. His claim to fame is that he will one day beat Rajon Rondo (0f the NBA’s Boston Celtics) in a game of one-on-one.

What is the weirdest thing you have noticed going to school on the West Coast when you are from the East?

“I have noticed that people here walk much slower than people from Boston; every time I walk anywhere I always end up ahead of my friends from California no matter how short a walk. Also, people here rarely cut across the grass to get anywhere, even if it’s a shorter distance!”

What is the best part of living in dorms that are not restricted by graduating class (meaning all freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors all live in every dorm)?

“I like it because it allows kids to make new friends and expand into different friend groups that they would not normally make through classes or other extra-curricular activities.”

Who is your favorite physics professor and why?

“My favorite physics professor is Professor Sahakian because of his famous, and infamous, catch phrases, like, ‘My grandmother could do this calculation…but my grandmother was a very smart woman…yes…’ and, ‘…and now I start to get excited!’”

“A lot of people asked why I didn’t post a pun yesterday. I just wanted to prove a point that 7 days without a pun makes one weak.” – Brian Cheney

Thanks for reading; I’ll check in next after the hammer is complete!

Travis