Posted by Casey Schulz on July 01, 2015 at 6:00 AM

Disassembling things is one of my favourite activities! I love to see how things work. I began tearing into various electronics at a young age. Now, that wasn't originally a pretty process! It always involved a hammer and lots of breaking the plastic enclosures and ripping electronic parts off of pcbs (printed circuit boards).

As a kid, I didn't know what any of the electronic parts were, but I knew some had great colors and shapes (especially from really old electronics) and the wire that was inside was always a great treat. I would take pieces of what I ripped out of the device and create craft projects with them. One year, I assembled a 4ft tall angel using components from devices I'd disassembled and entered it into the Kentucky State Fair....I got a blue ribbon--first place!

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As I've honed my engineering skills, I'm more careful and methodical at taking things apart now. I don't just smash it with a hammer and see what happens--although there is still something to be said for the entertainment value of that method. My goal when taking things apart now is to really understand how they work and to be able to put it all back together again (if necessary). This video shows the disassembly of a compact photo printer, and this is the 2nd one I had taken apart so I'd learned from lessons from the first one and didn't have to break any plastic pieces this time!

Taking apart various devices is a great way to get a glimpse into refined engineering and manufacturing techniques. Most products that you can get a hold of have years of engineering expertise baked in. It's a great way to learn new concepts and understand how others have solved a similar problem.


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