Monday, January 31, 2011

Need an Engineering Scholarship?

The deadline is coming up pretty quick for this, but if you are an engineering student then you might want to check this scholarship out. The Silicon Valley Engineering Council Engineering Education awards is looking to recognize young engineering and technology students for their dedication, focus, and commitment to engineering.What a great opportunity!

The Silicon Valley Engineering Council has TEN $1,000 scholarship awards that they’ll be awarding at their annual banquet on Feb. 24th - don't miss your chance!

Who is eligible? Engineering and Technology students graduating from high school, or presently enrolled in undergraduate community college and university programs may apply (fulltime and part-time students are also eligible).

Get all the great details here at the [ SVEC website ] Deadline is February 5, 2001

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Q&A with Product Manager Brian Burke

Get to know Bishop-Wisecarver's Product Manager, Brian Burke!

Brian joined our company in February 2003, and holds a BS in Manufacturing Technology from
California State University in Chico and an AA in Industrial Drawing from Bakersfield College.
Brian can be reached via e-mail at -- Connect with Brian on LinkedIn.

Question: Why did you want to be an engineer?
Answer: I have always been fascinated by the things that are designed and built by mankind to solve technical challenges.  Some examples would include Hoover Dam, the internal combustion engine, and the space shuttle program. My interest in engineering evolved from the question of “How did they make that?”

Question: Who was your biggest influence in becoming an engineer?
Answer: My scientific parents were my biggest influence as a child. Both of my parents were Microbiologists with in-depth technical understanding of the micro world around. They have always been a great resource in my quest for understanding “Why?”

Question: Where did you go for schooling?
Answer:    C.S.U. Chico, BS degree in Manufacturing Technology
                  Bakersfield College, AA degree in Industrial Drawing

Question: What kind of job experience did you have before joining the Bishop-Wisecarver team? Any internships?
Answer: I spent several years working as a CAD designer for residential architects as well as HVAC and plumbing engineers.  I also worked as a CAD modeler on electronic temperature control systems which were purchased by Intel for research testing on computer processors.

Question: What is your area of expertise?
Answer: My expertise has been focused on manufacturing processes and the work methods utilized in the creation of products.  At BWC this includes the layout of machinery, the design of the tools and fixtures used to produce, inspect and assemble products, and the CNC machining process. 

Question: What do you enjoy most about being an engineer?
Answer: I enjoy solving new challenges and improving upon established solutions.  I particularly enjoy taking rough design concepts and refining them down into simple and elegant solutions.

Question: What's the most rewarding thing about being an engineer?
Answer: The most rewarding thing about being an engineer is having the opportunity to implement new ideas, concepts, and designs.  New ideas must be tested and real world feedback helps to confirm whether or not your efforts directly contributed to success. A great sense of accomplishment can be felt after successfully implementing new ideas.

Question: What is the toughest project you have worked on?
Answer: The most challenging project I have worked on involved the design of production and assembly tools utilized to make a new generation of Lithium battery. The tools are required for mounting fragile, rigid components to flexible films.

Question: Any advice to aspiring engineers?
Answer: There can be many acceptable solutions to a given problem so keep an open mind to the possibility that other people can be a resource.  Solutions are often iterative so be prepared to improve as you go.  This means that you may have to abandon your initial ideas quickly.  Working together in a team can help to bring out the best in people.

Question: What do you like to do outside of work?
Answer:  I enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, kayaking, and camping.  At home I work on many home improvement projects.  Recently I helped a friend with a complete house remodel. In summer months my wife and I enjoy our vegetable garden.  I build my own computers and have been thinking about getting back into radio controlled airplanes which I did extensively in my teens.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Let's Test Your Word Search Skills!

Can you solve the Bishop-Wisecarver word search? Thought you might enjoy a mid-week brain teaser to keep your mind in motion -- without limits! Might even give out a couple WD40 pens to the first five people who leave a blog comment saying they finished (I've got the answer key).

[ click here ] to get your very own PDF copy

Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation is a woman owned manufacturer with a specialization in linear, rotary, and curved track guided motion technology, as well as, custom engineered solutions. Visit us online at and connect with us through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

FIRST Impressions: By Brian Burke, Project Engineer

I recently had the opportunity to observe and assist FIRST Robotics Competition team #3717 during a work session at Middle College High School.  Sure, I had some preconceived knowledge about what FIRST involved.  My employer Bishop-Wisecarver has been a sponsor of student teams for the past few years, and I even spent a few hours on the internet reading about the competitions and watching the videos.  Actually seeing the components and meeting student team members shed additional light on this amazing phenomenon.

The FIRST robots start out as a kit of parts.  These kits include a surprising array of components including electric motors, aluminum frames, electrical wires, batteries, fasteners, drive wheels, pneumatic system components, sophisticated electronics and computer software.  The kit includes just about everything you would need to get a basic robot moving.  The technology included in the robot kit was surprising.

I really did not expect to see the sophisticated control system in the robot kit.  Sure, I expected remote control electronics but I thought they would consist of typical radio control components.  Instead, the FIRST robots will be controlled using a Logitech joystick attached to a netbook.  Wireless control of the robot is handled thru netbook software using the integrated WiFi network to a D-Link wireless router on the robot itself.  The WiFi connections allow for the inclusion of a wireless webcam for live streaming video back to the netbook.  The robot can be driven beyond line of sight such as around walls and corners using the camera.  Additional electronic hardware included the compact RIO module, digital I/O module, digital sourcing module, relays, solenoid valve, speed controller, breakout boards, sensors, fuse panels, and circuit breakers.  All of the electronics are provided as components.  Complete wiring must be completed by the team from available wire diagram drawings. This isn’t the kind of remote control I’m used to seeing on model airplanes and cars.

Truly professional engineering level software is provided and utilized for the FIRST robots.  One student was working on full 3D models of the robot build using AutoCAD Inventor.  Another student was working on the control and feedback system in LabVIEW.  The introduction of theses tools and their real world applications is invaluable for students to experience.  

The real challenge for the student teams is to design and build the actuators and functional attachments to the robots. This task involves creative mechanisms and power transmission concepts.  I spent most of my time with team captain Brian Orr.  To effectively utilize their limited time, he had several small groups working on the various sections of their robot at the same time.  The goal for the day was to complete the design and fabrication of a pneumatic actuator which must extend then grab and release an inflated ring.  They had selected the pneumatic system with cylinder and solenoid control to act as their actuator.  The assembly would pull on a string to grab the inside diameter of the inflatable ring.  Testing of this system went very well during my visit.

It was clear that FIRST team #3717 is well on their way to creating a remarkable competition robot using industry quality components and software.  The experiences they gain during this process will apply directly to modern employment opportunities in many industries.  To everyone involved in the FIRST Robotics Competition, I salute you.

To watch the latest webisode from the Middle College High School about preparing for the FIRST competition, click here. To learn more about FIRST, click here to view their website.

Uses the arrows to click through our student video playlist.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"We Are Getting Better and Better" Meet FTC Team #3470

Team #3470 from Heritage High School in Brentwood, CA just competed in a regional competition early this month, and although the students won't be traveling to the national competition, they've made major triumphs since their first year participating. Get to know the students, hear about their experiences and meet their robot named Morty.

Student Micheal Kinstcher says, "Each year we go on, it seems like we are getting better and better. I mean, every year we work on different things, like last year, I think it was just getting the robot down, programmed out in the field. And this year, more of the focus was on actually being that competitive level, so that way we could go out there and score points and be a match for the other teams. I first saw the robotics competition, the nationals, aired on TV a few years back, and ever since, I have wanted to be on a team, and now that I am actually on a team, it's actually really cool. Kind of being out there and seeing something you built and created go out there come to life and move around and do what you want it to do."

Follow along with Michael and his fellow robotics club members led by robotics instructor Rob Pardi. To learn more about FIRST, click here.

Building the Robot: Meet Team #3717

Get to know the students of FIRST team #3717 from Middle College High School in San Pablo, California led by instructor Eric Reed. The students are busy building their robot and having fun.

Meet Maybeyli Pool, a senior who says, "I think it's pretty cool. You get to do stuff with your friends, and you get to make a robot, and you just experiment with stuff. I think that's cool. You get to make your own ideas. This is my first year, actually. In my last year, I am a senior, so I am pretty excited. You know, having an adventurous time before I graduate."

Follow along with Maybeyli and her fellow robotics club members during this year's FIRST robotics competition. To learn more about FIRST, click here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Can You Piece DualVee Back Together?

Thought you might like a little fun this Monday afternoon! Here's a puzzle from one of our latest shirt designs created in-house by our own marketing department.

INSTRUCTIONS: Click the icon to play (will open a new window) Good luck!

*If you are wondering where the live version went, I had to take the it down because the advertisements were too loud.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Beast that Grinds UtiliTrak® Linear Guide Rail

This Magerle Grinder is a beast! Just posted a YouTube video of it. You can watch it here, or check out the video posted below. The machine grinds both internal vee surfaces flat and parallel to each other within .0015 of an inch over 3.6 meters in length of linear guide rail -- that's a long piece of UtiliTrak! To learn more about our linear guide, click here >>

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Are You Going to West Pack? We Are!

Come visit the Bishop-Wisecarver booth #4711 at West Pack on February 8th to the 10th in Anaheim, CA. Our team will be available for questions and chitchat on everything linear and rotary motion related. We will have demos, videos and much more on display -- maybe even some cool giveaways ;)

Looking for free passes? Get your promo code! Here’s a link to the show’s resource hall: click here

What's Your Concern for Young People Today?

That's just one of a few questions co-founder Bud Wisecarver answers in his latest installment of "Life of an Inventor" posted in September of last year -- webisode #8 alone has more than 1,000 views YouTube alone. Back in December, a couple of bloggers featured this video on their blog with comments about Bud's passion for toolmaking (Tormach and The Hobbyist's Machine Shop Blog) -- do you think toolmaking it's a lost art?

If you haven't seen this webisode yet, definitely give it a look. Bud is very passionate about being a toolmaker, and with this in mind, we strive to support students and programs related to STEM initiatives (science, technology, engineering, math) and manufacturing. Vocational programs in public schools are rare, and without these programs, where will students be exposed to experiences that could possible lead them to rewarding and lucrative trade careers?

Here's a snippet of his comments from the webisode (video posted below) "...After dinner, I came up to him [Dean Kamen] and asked him, 'From the beginning of time, what is the most important job that indicates the level of the civilization -- it is the job that archeologists and other people studying history always gauge the level of the civilization by -- what is this job?' He thought for awhile and said, 'Teachers'. I said, 'No, not teachers'. He said, 'What is it?' And I said, 'Toolmakers. You don't have a toolmaker, you don't have anything.' It doesn't matter how many philosophers you have, how many great engineers you have -- if you don't have a toolmaker, you don't have anything. Even in the most primitive society, the people who could make arrowheads, the toolmakers, those were prized people. The higher the society was governed by the skill of the toolmakers. The better the skill of the toolmakers, the more the society flourished..."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Custom Pipe Cutting Machine Gets Intricate

Challenge: A manufacturer known for building and utilizing the most up-to-date motion-control systems for pipe cutting needed linear guide wheels, straight track and curved segments for their custom computer operated machinery. The company required linear bearing and track components to move an air cylinder up and down, as well as side to side motion to keep large pipe of various lengths in line for cutting. A ring segment and journal component were needed to move the cutting head in a variety of positions as it cuts different beveled angles into the pipe.

Application Description:
Using an innovative floating headstock and cutting head design, the machines use a two or four axis control to create fast, intricate curved, straight and custom cuts in extreme temperatures, humidity and vibration – a process that normally take hours to layout by hand. Since time is of the essence in this fast paced environment, it was important that the components were long-lasting and maintenance free.

Solution: DualVee Motion Technology® from Bishop-Wisecarver provides long-lasting, durable motion with very little maintenance required. The linear guide wheels and track allow for high repeatability and are capable of withstanding high speeds under extreme environment conditions. The HepcoMotion PRT2 ring segments exclusively from Bishop-Wisecarver allow for the cutting heads to rotate in an arc like fashion, creating difficult custom pipe cuts without worry of inaccuracy.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Retro "DUA-L-VEE" Linear Guide Wheel Demo

A little New Year cleaning in storage uncovered a vintage DualVee® guide wheel and track demo! Did it work when we plugged it in? You bet! Our look may have changed, but not our standard of quality.

Enjoy this retro find!

We're Growing this Year!

We are hiring! Check out are job page at to learn more.

Are you the Manufacturing Engineer we are looking to hire? Or maybe you are the Vice President of Marketing with the right qualifications to join our team!