RealCalc Scientific Calculator

RealCalc Scientific Calculator for Android is made by Quartic Software.  This is a great standard scientific calculator which only shows one entry at a time.  There is also a setting for RPN functionality.  This is a great substitute if you want to leave your scientific calculator behind and need to do some light calculations using your Android phone.  This app is not very processor intensive.  Two screenshots from the developer’s website are below:

For more details visit their web link:

GraphCalc The Ultimate Windows 2D/3D Graphing Calculator Software

This week, The Engineering Zone will feature calculator applications.

One of my Favorite PC calculators is GraphCalc (also available for Linux).  It is fast, easy, and you can use your number pad for input.  Even though it was last updated in 2003, it still works great on newer computers with Win7.

GraphCalc is ready to use out of the box. Don’t bother reading the documentation. Just start the program and you’ll see how easy it is to use.

Have a look at some screen shots of GraphCalc

This software is free and open source, so you can use it everywhere.  You can even export the 3d plots to DXF files.  These files can be imported into other programs.  This is convenient for surfaces that can be defined by a mathematical equation.

GraphCalc The Ultimate Windows 2D/3D Graphing Calculator Software.

Wolfram|Alpha – Intro

Wolfram|Alpha computational knowledge engine

Wolfram|Alpha is becoming a more valuable tool for engineers practically every day.  If you haven’t used it before, you should definitely check it out.  Their goals are summarized on their info page:


Wolfram|Alpha’s long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone.

We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.

Wolfram|Alpha aims to bring expert-level knowledge and capabilities to the broadest possible range of people—spanning all professions and education levels.

Our goal is to accept completely free-form input, and to serve as a knowledge engine that generates powerful results and presents them with maximum clarity.

Wolfram|Alpha is an ambitious, long-term intellectual endeavor that we intend will deliver increasing capabilities over the years and decades to come.

With a world-class team and participation from top outside experts in countless fields, our goal is to create something that will stand as a major milestone of 21st century intellectual achievement.

You can do a lot with it.  It can definitely serve as a quick replacement when you need to consult an infrequently-used table for some data.  What is the bulk density of sand?  Need to know the coefficient of thermal expansion for Copper?  What about the general properties of elemental Silicon?  Need to solve some engineering problems?  These examples only scratch the surface of the large number of topics that Wolfram|Alpha covers.

First Public Review of the 2011 AISC Nuclear Specification

from American Institute of Steel Construction:

The AISC 2011 Specification for Safety-Related Steel Structures for Nuclear Facilities AISC N690 is now available for public review. The entire draft specification is available for your review by downloading the attached document. This is an update of the 2006 version of this document ANSI/AISC N690-06. This version of the AISC Nuclear Specification uses the 2010 AISC Specification for Structural Steel Buildings as a baseline document and modifies specific portions of the Specification to make it applicable to the design, fabrication, and erection of safety-related steel structures for nuclear facilities.Comments are welcome on any portion of the draft in this first public review.

Their website also gives information for obtaining a hardcopy.

via First Public Review of the 2011 AISC Nuclear Specification.

Custom Graph Paper

Green Engineer's PadMost of us professionals have pre-printed graph paper with the company logo and other things.  Students usually have to buy their graph paper in bulk from their bookstore,, or somewhere else (probably online).  When I was in school, we used a green engineering pad similar to this.

What happens when you’re in the middle of a homework assignment, and you just run out of graph paper only to realize you forgot to go to the bookstore before they closed, and your assignment is due tomorrow?  (If you are running low, you may want to order a pad or two now while you are thinking about it.)  What if you just need a few sheets to get you by, or if you need some grid pattern that you don’t usually use?  One option is to print some yourself.  It is quite easy–you don’t even have to draw it in AutoCAD or make it in Excel!  All you have to do is go to incompetech’s website and print any custom grid pattern, type, and size for free as an instantly downloadable PDF.

Blender 3D 2.57 Relased

image credit: Blender Foundation

Blender 2.57 has been released!  This is one of my favorite free open source 3d programs.  It is very robust, and is great for visualizations and concept art.  This is the first stable release of the 2.5 series.  The 2.5 series features a massive code rewrite and upgrades in every area including the GUI, physics, rendering, animation, modeling, and internal architecture:

The Blender Foundation and online developer community is proud to present Blender 2.57. This is the first stable release of the Blender 2.5 series, representing the culmination of many years of redesign and development work.

We name this version “Stable” not only because it’s mostly feature complete, but especially thanks to the 1000s of fixes and feature updates we did since the 2.5 beta versions were published.

The next 2 months we will keep working on finishing a couple of left-over 2.5 targets and we expect to get feedback and bug reports from users to handle as well. If all goes well, the 2.58 version then can be the final release of the 2.5 series, with a massive amount of new projects to be added for an exciting cycle of 2.6x versions. Target is to release updates every 2 months this year.

via Blender Release Log

get Blender 2.57

Seismic Calculator

The USGS Seismic Design Maps and Tools for Engineers is a great resource for quickly finding seismic design coefficients for different design codes.

Here we present maps, data, and tools for engineers interested in seismic design of buildings and bridges. Currently we have two separate tools for buildings in the U.S. and its Territories, for (generally speaking) present and imminent model building codes, respectively:

This is a valuable tool for structural engineers who have to calculate seismic loading.  You’ll want to add that one to your bookmarks.

Welcome to The Engineering Zone

Welcome to The Engineering Zone.  This is our first official post.  If you have any information or articles to share, you can post it in the comments.  Comments also support \LaTeX markup for equations for those technical topics.  For example if you substitute a space for the astersik in the following line:

$latex*c= \sqrt{a^2+b^2}$

you get

c= \sqrt{a^2+b^2}

For more information, see the information from WordPress.  Wikipedia also has a list of the syntax available.