How Internal Combustion Engines Work

car-engine-machineHave you ever been cruising down the road wondering how the engine in your car works? How the car can take a liquid such as gasoline and convert it into movement, propelling you down the road at speeds triple of what a horse could gallop at. Well, there is a detailed process of moving components that allow that to happen. If you look under the hood of your car you’re likely to have a piston driven internal combustion engine, although there are other engines such as rotary engines, hydrogen fuel cell engines, and electric engines. These piston engines are made up of anywhere from 1 to 16 cylinders although your car most likely has 4, 6, or 8 cylinders, in a straight, flat, or V shaped configuration. These cylinders are drilled into a steel engine block to make way for a plunger like device called a piston. This piston is designed to tightly fit in the cylinder to maximize power. The piston is driven up and down with the help of the rotation of the crankshaft. The four strokes of the piston are as follows

  1. Intake- This is where the piston starts at the top of its stroke and goes down, with the intake valve letting in the fuel air mixture into the cylinder to start this process
  2. Compression- The piston starts here at the bottom of its stroke and heads up pushing the molecules of oxygen and octane closer together optimizing the mixture for combustion. As the piston almost reaches the top of its stroke the spark plug sends out a little bolt of electricity that will ignite the fuel once the piston reaches the top of its stroke
  3. Power- BOOM! This is where the fuel air mixture is ignited and creates the power machines-pistonsnecessary to drive the piston back down and rotate the camshaft for the other pistons to continue their role in the power making process
  4. Exhaust- Finally, after the oxygen and octane is converted into carbon dioxide and water vapor, the exhaust valve is opened where the gas in the cylinder rushes out to be propelled out of the exhaust. The cylinder during all of this rises to the top ready to start the process all over again

automobile-machinesAll of this power from combustion is sent to the cars transmission which controls how much power is sent to the drive wheels through the use of gears controlled either manually with a clutch or automatically with a torque converter and the cars on board computer. The correct amount of power is sent to spin the drive shaft which then spins the differential to allow the drive wheels to be turned at different speeds. For example, when you go around a corner the outside wheels must turn faster than the inside wheels because they have a greater distance to travel. As you can see the process to combust liquid gasoline and transfer that to the drive wheels is quite complex and is truly a feat of engineering that makes you admire the fact that some of these engines are reliably making 600+ hp. And to think all of this is possible because of the power of machines!

The Importance of Machines to Auto Mechanics

auto-mechanic-machinesAs we have established throughout many of our posts, machines whether they are big, small or simple are used daily to help make our lives and jobs a lot easier.  In every profession machines are used to aid in work and to get big, small and huge jobs done. Whether you are a plumber, printing newspapers, hauling big equipment, harvesting crops or simply opening your garage door, machines are utilized in almost every aspect of every day life.  Coupled with technological advances and the refinement of the 6 simple machines that were first invented and introduced machines just keep getting better and better as time goes on. Our post today is focused on the importance of machines in auto mechainc shops. Why? Because in order to keep our vehicles in tip top shape and perfroming optimally, mechanics require the use of certain machines in the scope of their work as well.  We thought it would be interesting to go over some of the most important machines found in  an auto mechanic shop and what their particular uses actually are. I spoke with a freind of mine who is an auto mechanic and asked what he considered the top 5 machines in his shop to be and what he sees as being most valuable to his business.



  • Engine Hoist- This machine helps repair, rebuild and replace engines and is a must have should you be doing engine work that requires the emoval of the engine.  You will want to make sure that you have the right size hoist for the types of engines you plan on servicing.
  • Brake Lathe- This machine makes any brake service you do faster, more efficeint and profitable.  You can alsways send out rotors and drums to be resurfaced, however for quicker turn around time and to save money on having to pay a thrid party this machine is a great investment
  • Strut Compressor- This machine is a must have for working on struts or suspension systems.  Having one in your shop can add to the spectrum of your service capabilities
  • Transmission Jack- Definitely a must have for transmission jobs and will help to make the procss so much easier. Yiu need to make sure you have one for all sizes and weights of transmissions to ensure proper saftey.
  • Vehicle Lifts- Needed to raise vehicles to the proper height so that the mechanic is able to work on the vehicle correctly.  Don’t forget to check out saftey features, requirments and accessories when looking to purchase a vehicle lift.  Remember it’s baring the weight of the entire vehicle so you want to make sure to utilize this machine properly.

All in all there are many machines that make mechanic jobs easier and a lot safer forvehicle-lift-machine the auto mechanic.  Without machines to utilize many would not be able to perform services without the help of another person or in a decent amount of time.  This just goes to show the importance of machines and how they make so many different professions and jobs easier to perfrom and safely at that. Never under estimate the value of machines! As always, before operating ANY type of machine make sure that you are not only experienced but know the different saftey measures nd precautions.

Top Household Appliances-Thanks to Machines

If you are a regular visitor to our site you know we love all types of machines and appreciate the ease and reliability they bring into our lives. From drain snakes, to big machines, simple machines, all the way to the mechanisms that open your garage door, machines are constant in our everyday lives and often don’t get the recognition they deserve. In the era of technology that we live in these days most of us don’t even realize how much we utilize machines on a regular basis. Especially those machines that make up our household appliances. Check out our list of the top appliances that life would be so much harder without and that we have thanks to the invention of the machine!

Top Home Appliances Thanks To Machines

  • clock-simple-machineClocks- Yep that’s right the clock is perhaps one of the most simple machines out there but one we definitely couldn’t do without.  What once started out as a sundial with pretty much a stick in the sand/dirt transformed into one of the most utilized simple machines in the world that we ALL use every single day!
  • Refrigerator- Honestly could you imagine life without one? It’s true that manysimple-machine-appliance people in developing countries still do not have refrigerators and make do, however for those of us that are fortunate to have them it sure does make life and keeping or food from spoiling so much easier!
  • Washing Machine- Again while people in other countries do not have a washing machine for those of us that washing-machinedo, can you imagine how much harder everyday life would be if we didn’t.  We simply throw a load in and it does the hard work for us and in a decent amount of time. Once again thanks to the invention of simple machines.
  • Air Conditioning- For those of us that live in hot places our air conditioning systems are a must have during the summer months.  We simply hit a button on our thermostat and are rewarded with cool air flowing through and cooling off our homes. While the cost of fixing the unit isn’t always the greatest, the comfort they allow us to live in definitely is incredible.
  • Microwaves- Again a luxury that not all of us may own but it is still safe to say that having one does make things so much easier.  Whether you are on the run due to your busy lifestyle or you forgot to defrost the chicken for tonight’s dinner having a microwave speeds things up and can make life so much easier!

While there are a number of other appliances found in our homes and at our jobs that we could mention, these 5 are some of our top picks.  With the development of the 6 simple machines these appliances were able to be brought to life. As technology advances we can only imagine the advances in a lot of machines as well. If you weren’t a lover of machines before reading this post, you just might be now!

Drain Snake Machines & How They Have Evoloved

drain-snake-machineAs you fellow readers may know we love machines!  Whether it’s simple machines or more complex bigger machines we do not discriminate against any type of machine.  In previous posts we talked about technological advances and how they are changing both the machine world as well as our world as people.  Some machines may be taking over some of our jobs with technological advances and some may simply be making our jobs easier. What we can say as far as technological advances of machines, is that a lot of times they tend to not only make our jobs easier but also a lot safer!  In fact the drain snake machine is one of the greater examples, and I’m sure all you plumbers out there can appreciate this article! The drain snake or drain cleaning machine is also referred to as a “cable machine” or a “drain auger” and is used to clean and unclog drains in both residential and commercial properties.  When the drain snake was first invented it consisted of metal tape the was flat. In an effort to make it more useful and efficient in clearing bends and turns in the pipe, coil springs were added. However, although it made unclogging and cleaning drains easier the “machine” was man powered and often took a lot of a plumbers energy and physical strength. But then technological advances came into play and professional plumbers now use drain machines that have motors attached, cable and cutting blade attachments and machines that are generally lighter and a lot more powerful taking away a lot of the physical labor needed to operate them.  In turn these advancements also proved to be a lot safer and less injuries were seen. Now a days there are two types of drain machines that can be used to help drain obstruction and clogs!

Types Of Drain Snake Machines

  • Continuous Cable Machines- These drain snake machines are often the mostplumber-drain-snake used by professional plumbers because it tends to get the job done a lot faster and with less leakage or splatter from sewer water & debris.  It is often heavier than a sectional cable machine that can be used to clean and unclog sewers and drains as well. Continuous cable machines are made up of a cable, drum and power auger unit/motor. All encompassed in one housing unit.
  • Sectional Cable Machine- These types of drain cleaning machines are lighter and easier to travel with than that of continuous cable machines and thus are often used by everyday people looking to take care of the drain cleaning job themselves. They are made up of a power auger unit and cables that are separate from each other.  While these machines may be lighter and easier to transport they often take longer to get the sewer obstruction or drain clog cleaned and cleared.

sewer-clog-machineWhile many of us like to try and take care of jobs around our homes ourselves to save money and the use of professionals, when it comes to handling machines we suggest leaving it to the professionals.  Especially with plumbing issues if you are not quite sure on how to operate a machine correctly it is best to seek the aid of a professional plumber. Plumbing pipes and systems are often intricate and one wrong move or misshapen can often cause a lot more damage then there originally was to begin with.  Plumbing repairs especially big ones can become expensive and require a professional in the end anyway. Machines in all aspects of work and life are great devices and can offer a lot of support and ease when completing a job. But it is VERY important that you understand the machine that is at use, its safety rules and how to properly use it!  

Big Machines That Do Big Things!

greatest-big-machinesOur blog is dedicated to machines and their different uses, how they make life easier and what technology has in store for them in the near & far future.  We have discussed the 6 simple machines that are used virtually everyday and help to make life’s task a lot easier. But what about the big machines out there that revolutionized life?  I can think of 30 big machines that have changed the way we live and have helped us evolve over the years, dating back to when our transportation was covered wagons and their were no cell phones or big machines to aid in farming etc.   Check out our list of big machines that should not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

Big Machines That Have Made A Big Difference

  • hubble-telescopeThe Hubble Telescope- the Hubble Telescope has been deemed the most powerful telescope in all of history and is named after astronomer Edwin Hubble.  Edwin invented the very first telescope that helped to discover that our universe is continually expanding. Decades later with the invention of the powerful Hubble Telescope, that is constantly orbiting Earth, it is the most important advancement in astronomy and allows astronomers and scientists to gain better understanding and knowledge of our Earth and universe.
  • CT Scan-  the invention of this machine revolutionized x-rays and helped doctors see into a patient to find issues without actually having to cut them open.  Sir Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield created the CT Scanner in 1971 which allowed for multiple x-rays of the patient to be done from different angles and then put into a three dimensional image for doctors and others in the medical field to have a better understanding of the patients ailments and issues.  He won a Nobel Prize in medicine for his invention of this machine.
  • The Printing Press- probably one of if not the most important machine ever printing-press-machineinvented.  Johannes Gutenberg invented the machine and it’s first production began in Germany in 1450.  Before the Printing Press books had to be re-written by hand which was a long and tedious process.  With the invention of the Press the cost of books was reduced and education was now available to millions rather than just a select number of people.  It helped to introduce newspapers and journals and drastically changed the way the world was able to read, view news etc.
  • Model T- Henry Ford may not have produced and invented the first automobile, but he definitely revolutionized the automobile industry with his Model T invention in 1908. After seeing what an assembly line production could do for different industries he decided to being assembly line production to the automobile industry!  He first started the assembly line in this Detroit factories and cut the time and cost of making a car in half. This enabled him to offer his automobiles at a lower price and thus making them available to not only the rich but all middle class Americans as well! Thank you Henry Ford!

These 4 BIG machines alone have done wonders for health, transportation, and human life in general. To think these are only 4 of the big machines that have contributed to making the quality of life better for all in the world.  Machines are very important and constantly are improved upon or new models are built that have better features and can be utilized more. Although we don’t want machines completely taking over our world we should appreciate what they do bring and the way they help to improve the quality of life on an everyday basis.

Will Some Jobs Be Taken Over By Machines???

Many if not all of us utilize machines everyday.  After being introduced to the 6 simple machines and their uses you can pretty much see how they help us in many tasks and aspects of everyday life.  While we appreciate them and they definitely help make things easier and more convenient, what if machines started to slowly take over jobs in the workforce?  Sounds a bit crazy right? With the advance of technology that is forever ongoing it may not seem as far fetched as one might think. In fact in recent studies done it is been found that many everyday jobs will be replaced by machines in the following years to come.  Jobs that require a more creative and social aspect may be safe for the time being but what about the jobs listed below?

Jobs Being Replaced By Machines

  • Cashiers- Most of us have seen an example of a machine taking over for a humanself-checkout-cashier cashier with self checkouts at the grocery store.  While there still is a person in place overseeing any issues, troubleshooting, and offering support one person can be in charge of at least 4-6 self checkouts.  While some chain stores have removed their self checkouts due to customer complaints, many still have them in place. Something to think about right?
  • machine-telephone-operatorTelephone Operators/Customer Service Reps-  I’m sure many if not all of us have dealt with the automated systems that many companies now use.  In fact many customer service or call centers start the telephone call with an automated service instead of a live person.  While you can still eventually) be connected to a love being to help you, it’s not that easy as just a simple phone call. With technological advances on the rise when will live people be vetoed entirely?
  • Bank Tellers- While there are still live bank tellers many people often complete their banking transactions through the ATM machines. Especially with the ease of having a code text to  your phone should you forget your bank card, mobile deposits and such it’s so much easier for people and a lot faster it seems in busy day to day life to pull up and use the ATM machine.atm-machine
  • Travel Agents- Travel agents used to be a hot commodity and many people used them to book cruises, vacations and getaways.  But travel agents and travel agencies are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Why? Think sites like Orbitz, Expedia,etc.  Bow an individual can surf the web on their own time comparing different site prices and rates available all from the comfort of your home, office even your mobile phone on the go.  It’s pretty simple to book a trip with flights, hotel and rental car all included all on just one site and many times getting package deal incentives.

These are just a few of the many jobs that are threatened or already have become taken over by machines.  While we appreciate the aid of machines what about our economy and the jobs that these machines are slowly taking over?  Many people that are employed in these job positions make their living and support their families with this income. Not to mention while technology and its advancements are quite incredible, what about human contact and communication?  These are all things to think about before we become a world completely taken over by both machines and technology.

Garage Door Openings Systems- The Machines Behind Them

garage-door-springsYou may have read one of our previous articles on the 6 different types of simple machines that we use at least one of EVERY day. If so, you would have found that a pulley and pulley system are one of those machines and probably one of the most useful.  We open our blinds/curtains with pulley systems, and even utilize them when we open our garage doors. Most of us probably don’t really stop and think about them because we are so used to pushing a button and our garage door opens and closes for us. But this simple machine is definitely there and carrying a lot of weight, literally.  Your garage door is in fact very heavy and for the safety of you, your family and your automobile this pulley system must work with no hiccups or problems, However, with technology becoming further and further advanced, there are now two different types of machine like systems to choose from when looking at garage door openers. Both systems are utilized to carry the weight and guide your garage door up & down.  The difference is the types of springs they use in their system. One being torsion springs and thus make up a spring system, the other being extension springs, and thus being part of a pulley system. So which one is better & what exactly makes each system different? Parker Garage Doors, a Phoenix based garage door company, cleared up any questions we may have had regarding the two spring systems and their differences.  After all, we know A LOT about machines and their intricate parts, but aren’t really too savvy when it comes to garage doors!

Torsion Spring Opening Systems-   Torsion spring opening systems consist of the torsion springs themselves, drums, and cables.  The torsion springs pretty much provide all of the strength to lift the door, while the drums and the cables actually do all of the heavy lifting.  The cables run up and down the length of the garage door and move around the drums when the door is opened and closed to carry the weight of the door.  Meanwhile the torsion springs are installed parallel to the garage door at the very front and act as the force to lift the door. New garage door opening system utilize the torsion spring systems more so than extension spring pulley systemsextension-torsion-spring because of the life span associated with the spring system.  The life span of your garage door opening system is measured in the amount of opening and closing cycle it can maintain before it generally wears out. The lifespan of a torsion spring system is 10,000-20,000 open/close cycles vs an extension spring system which averages about 5,000-10,000 open/close cycles.


Extension Spring Opening Systems- Extension springs or pulley systems aren’t as commonly used in garage door opening systems anymore because of the danger they present when having repair issues or when being changed by anyone other than a professional.  Extensions springs work with a pulley system attached to either side of your garage door thus working with each other to open and shut your garage door. Extensions springs often wear out faster than torsion springs and the springs must also stay balanced to properly and evenly open your garage door system.  If one extension spring is to go out it is generally advised by garage door experts that you replace both springs as to prevent any danger or damage from the older one going out shortly after. Because extension springs are dangerous to fix they can severely hurt individuals who try to change them without proper knowledge.  In some cases the amatuer reapairs have even caused death! While extension spring systems are still used and don’t have to be dangerous, it is best should you have and extension spring opening system to leave all maintenance and repair to the garage door professionals.

Interesting how simple machines can play a big part in the mechanisms of household items and conveniences.  Understanding how various machines operate not only gives you better knowledge when it comes to issues that may arise, it also helps to keep both you and your family safe!

Awesome Machines

Check out these 8 awesome machines that really help get the job done.  It’s crazy to see what type of machines can be brought to life by an idea and the right parts!