All posts by Mr Hall

‘Girls can’t what?’ Bid to boost women in engineering

Girl welding

“Girls can’t what?” is the question posed on the UK’s first National Women in Engineering Day. You can be sure the answer from the organisers is not going to be “weld”.

Samantha Thompson is 24. Two years ago she bought a house. She’s about to take delivery of a brand new car. Not bad for a former part-time hairdresser who describes herself as “a nightmare child”.

“I was very clever but wouldn’t apply myself. I was quite disruptive, quite mature for my age and hated being treated like a child. One teacher told me I would never amount to anything,” says Samantha of her schooldays.

Samantha is now a project engineer, working to extend the life of the Heysham nuclear power station in Lancashire. She has a University of Hull foundation degree in mechanical engineering and is training to be a project manager. read more…

Getting it wrong on a large scale!!

French red faces over trains that are ‘too wide’

Bombardier Transportation in France head Jean Berge stands in front of a giant model of the "Regio 2N" regional double-deck train developed for the French SNCF railway network The platform edges are too close to the tracks in some stations which means the trains cannot get in

The French train operator SNCF has discovered that 2,000 new trains it ordered at a cost of 15bn euros ($20.5bn; £12.1bn) are too wide for many regional platforms.

The BBC’s Christian Fraser in Paris says that it is an embarrassing blunder that has so far cost the rail operator over 50m euros ($68.4m; £40.6m).

Our correspondent says that the cost is likely to rise even further.

Construction work has already started to reconfigure station platforms.

The work will allow new trains room to pass through. But officials say that there are still 1,000 platforms to be adjusted.

The new SNCF Regiolis Regional Express Train (TER) during its presentation at the Vaugirard railway station in Paris (April 2014) The blunder has cost the rail operator a substantial sum of money

The error seems to have happened because the national rail operator RFF gave the wrong dimensions to train company SNCF.

Our correspondent says that they measured platforms built less than 30 years ago, overlooking the fact that many of France’s regional platforms were built more than 50 years ago when trains were a little slimmer.

The platform edges are too close to the tracks in some stations which means the trains cannot get in, officials say.

A spokesman for the RFF confirmed they had “discovered the problem a bit late”.

Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier blamed an “absurd rail system” for the problems.

“When you separate the rail operator from the train company,” he said, “this is what happens.”

‘Invisible’ Bike Helmets Are A Real Thing Now

Are you a cyclist who is also concerned about how you look while cycling around town?

If so, then two Swedish industrial design students have solved your problem and have created an “invisible helmet” for cyclists.


Bike helmets are a very important safety feature, especially for those who cycle around a busy city where both drivers and pedestrians can be a problem. But there is no denying that it can be difficult to find a stylish bike helmet and then there is the issue of the helmet hair.

The idea for the invisible helmet came to life in 2005 as part of a Masters’ thesis, when Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin were studying industrial design at the University of Lund.The Hövding (invisible helmet) is actually an air bag, which uses a helium gas cylinder to inflate when its sensors detect a sudden jolt.

The helmets are also CE labelled, which means they comply with EU safety standards and have undergone a variety of safety tests.

Here is how it works:


Mobile charging stand

This term the Higher Product Design classes have designed and manufactured Mobile Phone Charging stands. They were asked to produce a holder which could support their phone when it is plugged in and charging. We used the laser cutter to cut out the designs which were created in Autodesk Inventor. Here are a couple of examples.