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Ask HN: Best resources to learn mechanical engineering?
8 points by jypepin 5 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 6 comments
Hey HN!

As a long time motorcyclist I've always wanted to learn more about how engines work, at least to allow me to dabble a bit into my own engines (long time dream has always been to rebuild something for fun).

Aside from going back to college and get a degree in mechanical engineering, what are the best resources to learn about (motorcycle) engines?






It depends what you want to do, I'm guessing you do not care too much about fuel and combustion research, and more on practical aspects.

Here's some overview references: https://auto.howstuffworks.com/engine.htm https://www.howacarworks.com/basics/the-engine https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/255807.Internal_Combusti...

Perhaps the most interesting thing with motorcycle engines is the variation of stroke and bore and number of cylinders since it's an exercise in packaging and weight reduction to fit on the smaller frame.

In terms of engine technologies different fuel injection strategies and cylinder geometries are areas of active research, along with things like lubricants and bearing surfaces etc.

The 'computational' pieces are really edging towards applied chemistry in figuring out how to optimize the combustion chamber.

For practical tasks without a machine shop you are fairly limited - I would caution against mucking about with an actual engine you later want to ride, beyond hobbyist level until you have some experience.

At hobbyist level it's really about engine mapping and upgrading the air intake. Those things are the easiest 'mods' but I'm sure specific forums for your motorcycle will be able to point you towards common upgrades etc. and why they work.


If you can cheaply find a copy of this book(I doubt anyone can, but it's worth a try), it's probably worth it, if not you can still google the subject: https://hackaday.com/2019/09/11/books-you-should-read-exact-...

I've never touched an engine before so I'm not sure if this is relevant(I don't really know what skills go into an engine rebuild beyond basic repair methods) but it's great for general mechanical design as a hobbyist.


Shigley's Mechanical Engineering Design and Machinery's Handbook are two classic texts on the design of various mechanical components.

For ICEs we used Ferguson and Kirkpatrick when I took a graduate level ICE class. It's concise but good. I'm not sure it's exactly what you're looking for as a hobbyist though, it's a lot of thermodynamics and associated math, not a lot on practical implementation of engines.

If you're looking to rebuild engines and such "mechanical engineering" is probably the wrong road to go down. I don't have specific recommendations, but maintenance manuals or trainings for mechanics, millwrights a d metal workers might be closer to what you want.


You can't mention ICE without mentioning Heywood! https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/255807.Internal_Combusti...

Yes, our lecturer referred to it ass the bible, as he had actually taken Heywood's clas on ICEs MIT!

It's definitely a huge brick though, can be intimidating. I think he picked the Ferguson book because it's more approachable, cheaper and covers the essentials for the class (and not too much else).


As a non-engineer, I find Jeremy Fielding to be very relatable and easy to follow.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/c/JeremyFieldingSr/videos




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