Your other hobbies: Engineering-like?

-March 17, 2017

I came across this breathtaking PAPER PIPE ORGAN build on YouTube recently, and had to share:

I don’t know if Aliaksei Zholner, the builder of this and other incredible paper contrivances, like “working” Wankel and piston engines, is an engineer. If not, I nominate him as an honorary one.

Seeing this got me thinking if engineers’ other hobbies would typically be tech-ish (of course, not all engineers also see their vocation as a hobby).

Speaking for myself:

  • Electronics is definitely a hobby.
  • The wine database got left by the wayside many years ago, but I like to believe I bring an analytical mind to the enjoyment of wine. At least until the third or fourth glass.
  • Music has a long connection to technical types. Decades ago, it seemed more common to find programmer-musicians. Nowadays, us hardware types seem to be more into making noise (my sample size on this one is small though).
  • Instrument tuning, maintenance, repair, and restoration are definitely activities that benefit from an engineering attitude.
  • I’ve got a ham license, but don’t use it.
  • Calculator collecting has a distinct engineering connection.

A CS acquaintance of mine (who left RIM/Blackberry before the worst happened) is a talented woodworker who has built a pretty successful YouTube presence with his Woodgears brand. Here I am playing a pipe organ he built in his younger days (out of boring old wood, not paper):

So, is your profession also your hobby? Are your other hobbies engineering-related? And for ones that aren’t, would you say you bring an engineering viewpoint to them?

Also see:


Michael Dunn is Editor in Chief at EDN with several decades of electronic design experience in various areas.

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