Checking Off the Boxes

Checklists are a great way to make sure you are not forgetting something. I learned this as a Tenderfoot Boy Scout on my first campout. Dad was going along so he made sure I looked at the list in my Scout Manual and had everything needed to enjoy the experience. Other parents were not as diligent and a fellow Scout had neglected to pack his eating utensils. Dad did not yell at him but instead gave the kid his own to use. Then he selected a piece of kindling and began whittling a “spork” for his own use. This activity taught many lessons to us boys: the importance of checklists, generosity, resourcefulness, and first aid. Dad was a skilled whittler but tended to bleed on his work.

            You may be lucky enough to work somewhere with a well-tested “checklist” for product specification. If not, you would be wise to start developing your own. As with all checklists, many “boxes” are there because of an issue on a previous project. Over time the reasons why some things are on the list may be obscured but, believe me, there is a reason we asked about the material for lubrication plumbing or the grade of fastener to be used.

            Our list grew during my tenure. One memorable fiasco concerned the differences between “drawing conventions” and the job title of the customer “official” signing off on the certified drawing. Having to dis-assemble, re-machine, and re-assemble forty-four pinch roll gearboxes because the clerk who approved the certified did not understand “third angle” versus “reverse angle” projection will make management a little nasty.

            Technology can obsolete some of the items on your list so a periodic review is advisable. Modern CAD packages can render a nice isometric view of the assembly that does not vary with “drafting convention.” For my part, I will always require a “top view” on approval drawings and want an actual “official” to sign off. [For you non-drafters out there, the “top view” does not change between third angle and reverse angle conventions.]

About Charles D. Schultz 678 Articles
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.