Let’s face it, the world of plastic engineering can often be challenging.  With so many different plastics and grades available, sometimes our projects don’t quite work out the way we want them to.  Too much choice isn’t always a good thing!

Yet, when I look back at the history of tooling and engineering, I am truly inspired by all the work that has been accomplished.  Looking forward, I’m also excited about all the new technologies coming into play today.  20 years ago, we were highlighting fluoropolymers as the next big thing.  Now we have 3D printing creating prosthetic body parts and bacteria that decomposes plastic.

In order to keep you going on the days that, let’s face it, things don’t go as planned, here’s a list of the 30 most inspirational quotes about plastic engineering.

1)      “All things are difficult before they are easy.”-Thomas Fuller

2)      “One man’s ‘magic’ is another man’s engineering.  ‘Supernatural’ is a null word.”-Robert A. Heinlein

3)      “A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”-Douglas Adams

4)      “[John] Kobak explained, ‘The way you learn anything is that something fails, and you figure out how not to have it fail again.”-Robert S. Arrighi

5)      “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”-Theodore Roosevelt

6)      “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”-Thomas A. Edison

7)      “A person filled with gumption doesn’t sit about stewing about things.  He’s at the front of the train of his own awareness, watching to see what’s up the track and meeting it when it comes.  That’s gumption.  If you’re going to repair a motorcycle, an adequate supply of gumption is the first and most important tool.  If you haven’t got that you might as well gather up all the other tools and put them away, because they won’t do you any good.”-Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

8)      “To the optimist, the glass is half full.  To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.  To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.”-Unknown

9)       “The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art.”-Leonardo da Vinci

10)   “When faced with a problem you do not understand, do any part of it you do understand and then look at it again.”-Robert Heinlein

11)   “The engineer has been, and is, a maker of history.”-James Kip Finch

12)   “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”-Martin Luther King, Jr.

13)   “A good scientist is a person with original ideas.  A good engineer is a person who makes a design that works with as few original ideas as possible.  There are no prima donnas in engineering.”-Freeman Dyson

14)   “By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.”-Robert Frost

15)   “Strive for perfection in everything you do.  Take the best that exists and make it better.  When it does not exist, design it.”-Sir Henry Royce

16)   “Engineering is a great profession.  There is the satisfaction of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper.  Then it moves to realization in stone or metal or energy.  Then it brings homes to men or women.  Then it elevates the standard of living and adds to the comforts of life.  This is the engineer’s high privilege.”-Herbert Hoover

17)    “Scientists dream about doing great things.  Engineers do them.”-James A. Michener

18)   “Engineering, medicine, business, architecture and painting are concerned not with the necessary but with the contingent-not with how things are but with how they might be-in short, with design.”-Herbert Simon

19)   “Manufacturing is more than just putting parts together.  It’s coming up with ideas, testing principles and perfecting the engineering, as well as final assembly.”-James Dyson

20)   “Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.”-Albert Einstein

21)   “I’m quite into the idea of engineering being beautiful.”-Sean Booth

22)   “What made Manhattan Manhattan was the underground infrastructure, that engineering marvel.”-Governor Andrew Cuomo

23)   “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”-Confucius

24)   “The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities.  We need men who can dream of things that never were.”-John F. Kennedy

25)   “No one wants to learn by mistakes, but we cannot learn enough from successes to go beyond the state of the art.”-Henry Petroski

26)    “Don’t ask me to put up a shelf, but I love engineering.”-Bruce Dickinson

27)   “What we usually consider as impossible are simply engineering problems…there’s no law of physics preventing them.”-Michio Kaku

28)   “If a major project is truly innovative, you cannot possibly know its exact cost and its exact schedule at the beginning.  And if in fact you do know the exact cost and the exact schedule, chances are that the technology is obsolete.”-Joseph G Gavin, Jr.

29)   “The story of civilization is, in a sense, the story of engineering-that long and arduous struggle to make the forces of nature work for man’s good.”-L. Sprague de Camp

30)   “The occasional visit of success provides just the excitement an engineer needs to face work the following day.”-Koichi Tanaka

Are there any quotes that I missed?  Please post your favorite engineering or manufacturing quotes below.

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4 responses to “30 Inspirational Quotes About Plastic Engineering

  1. Hello, I am a graduate student studying biomedical engineering, and I was looking for cool inspirations for a poster to hang up at my desk at work. I came across the word collage image on this page during my google search, and I just want you to know how offensive it is that the word “man” appears in the collage of words that are associated with “engineering”. I am a 23 years old, a woman, and an engineer. I would highly recommend altering that image so as to not ostracize certain viewers of this website.

    1. Elizabeth,
      Thank you for caring enough to forward your comments. We’ve recently received a similar one. Your input will be forwarded directly to our President, Barbara Gerard, for appropriate action on our part. The inference was not intentional I can assure you. Thanks again.

  2. To the admins of this website,

    I believe it in your best interest, both to maximize your revenue and to facilitate equality within our professional community, to communicate more effectively. Your two graphics on this website exclude women, a growing community within the engineering field. While you may not notice with the graphic of two men fixing a solution, I’m sure every woman engineer does and subsequently holds your company in far less esteem. The first graphic, however, clearly stating the word “man” to describe an engineer is just downright offensive and it’s alarming you cannot recognize that and advertise your business with it. While women in engineering are the minority, it may not always be that way, and it is in your best interest to appeal to all customers

    1. Alex,
      Thank you for your comments. We are a small company, with only one Engineer on staff, so our picture options are limited. I will relay your input on the word “man” to our owner, Barbara Gerard, and we will address our posting accordingly. Thanks again.

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