General Question

Jonathan_hodgkins's avatar

Ideas for something fun to reverse engineer and take apart?

Asked by Jonathan_hodgkins (576points) November 6th, 2012

In my engineering design class we need to reverse engineer a product and document it for a presentation by taking a lot of photographs. Do you have any suggestions for interesting and fun things to take apart and display?

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10 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

While this might sound boring, ripping apart our front loading washing machine to clean the pump was interesting. It wasn’t really hard but it was interesting.

I just tried to replace the home button on a iPhone 4 and it was a fucking disaster. A washing machine is way easier to get back together.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

If you’ve got a bit of money to spare buying one, a Wankel rotary engine would be perfect. It is definitely an interesting concept in engineering (plus I personally love Mazda RXs).

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

How about an AK-47 or if you have access a Browning 50 caliber machine gun. Like a National Guard depot, where they might let you walk through the process. That’s a lot of engineering and physics.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

I STRONGLY suggest you do this with every Apple product you can.

Help dispel the fanboi, trendy, form over function MYTH.

The iPhones wall charger, for example, contains TWO microprocessors to produce the cleanest current possible to the device.

Google “Apple Teardown.”

LuckyGuy's avatar

An oral hygiene Water-Pik. I just took one apart and it was pure genius. It has many cleverly matched components and subsystems: pump, pressure control, water storage, leak prevention, sanitation, circuitry, electrical safety, display and controls, etc.
It is a fantastic piece of work in a small, manageable package. (And it won’t get you arrested like an AK-47)

Crashsequence2012's avatar


Swiss engineering perfection.

To bad their people have a scalding hatred of cars in their blood.

ETpro's avatar

Here are two oddball suggestions if you have access to the tools needed to work, measure and photograph at the microscopic level. Goretex or bones. The Eiffel Tower strikes many as an eyesore, but in its day it was an engineering marvel. It’s lattice-like structure mimics that of leg bones. Through evolution, Nature is quite an adept engineer.

RocketGuy's avatar

I would second the washing machine. You want something easy to take apart, with parts that you can figure out just by looking. In that vein, a dishwasher machine or refrigerator would be interesting too.

A rotary engine would be SWEET! A Honda engine would be nice too.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Oh, you meant semi-auto. That’s ok then. Make sure to leave the bump-fire trigger assembly off. That is an interesting mechanism too.

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